How to Get Started with Online Business Networking?

February 12, 2009

in Internet,social networking

by Tina Gasperson

The people in your office have been talking about business networking online. It sounds intriguing and to hear them talk about it, it works great. It’s true that networking with colleagues and potential colleagues online can be a great way to meet new people, get your name “out there” and even find a new job or a new employee.

One of the most popular sites for business networking is LinkedIn. It’s free to join and easy to add your email contacts as LinkedIn contacts. LinkedIn will search through your email contacts and tell you which ones are already members of LinkedIn. You can send them connection requests, and if they agree, they will become part of your network and you’ll become part of theirs. LinkedIn lets you “get introduced” to other people who are in your connections’ networks, in hopes that these people will also become part of your network. In this way, much the same as face-to-face networking, you will expand your influence in your industry and others. It is true that people who are looking for someone to buy services or products from, whether it’s Web design or an auto mechanic, feel more comfortable with companies that have been recommended to them by someone they know. That’s the value of LinkedIn. If you’re looking for a job, and someone in your network works for a company that has an opening, you can get a recommendation from that person to the human resources department. Or if you have a job opening you need to fill, post the opening on LinkedIn and watch the responses flow in from your network.



Many people use Twitter to reach out to potential clients and customers, but be careful you don’t make the mistake of spamming people. Twitter is a community, and the quickest way to get blocked from people’s accounts is to join Twitter just so you can post advertisements or promote yourself, without participating in the community. The point of Twitter is to be a part of the conversations that happen there, and if someone asks about a service you can provide, take the opportunity to mention your offerings in an unobtrusive way. Find ways that you can help people without expecting anything in return, and Twitter can be a great networking tool for you. Abuse the community by spamming, and it could be disastrous.

These are just a couple of easy ways to get started with online business networking. Give them a try and watch your circle of influence grow.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.