3 Simple Networking Tips To Position Yourself as a Leader - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Nowadays, being recognized as a leader in your field takes more than social media followers, titles, and credentials after your name. It takes strategy as a well as a commitment to build mutually beneficial relationships not only for you but for others as well. Here are three simple networking tips to position you as a leader.

Become a Resource Online

Regardless of your industry, a resourceful person will always be needed. One of the fastest ways to grow your network online and become recognized as an authority in your field is to share industry related news, trends, and hot topics across your social channels.

Most importantly, add your insights or unique perspectives about the content to your caption area. Not only does this prompt like-minded people to engage with your content, it attracts new followers to your platform and expands your professional network. For instance, let’s take a look at recent news and trending topics across two industries:

  • Sen. Kamala Harris introduces a bill to fight black maternal health – In this case, a doctor could share his/her advice for decreasing the risk of death during labor. On the other hand, a founder of a moms group for black women can share a quick story about her personal struggles with childbirth and emphasize the need for support and community for women.

  • “Kylie Jenner’s Company: Kylie Cosmetics, Reportedly Worth 1 Billion Dollars.” If you work in finance, you could challenge Forbes’ valuation and share your perspectives on what it takes to determine what a company is worth. However, if you’re a branding expert, you could talk about how to brand your small business like Kylie’s billion-dollar company.

Both of these examples can help you amplify your voice as a leader, grow your network and turn followers into clients, or opportunities for a job interview, media coverage, or speaking engagements.

Become the Connect, and Stop Looking For One

Many people approach networking thinking 1) What can I get from this person? But if you’re ready to stand out as a leader, set a goal to become a super connector.

Ask yourself – “How often am I creating opportunities for other people in my network?” When is the last time I created an opportunity for someone? Consistency breeds trusting relationships so be intentional about connecting with people you’ve met at events, followers you often chat with on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, colleagues, mentees, and potential clients.

Designate a follow-up day – For several years, I’ve lived by a Follow-up Friday theme. This means on Friday, I may write a follow-up email, make a virtual introduction, check-in with my mentee or mentor, or ask a social media friend if they finally want to meet in person for a lunch or happy hour meetup.

Network With the People Around You

Some people can set their networking sights too high by spending their days tweeting Oprah or spamming the Instagram influencer with 500,000 followers. They think to themselves: Who is the person who can help “put me on” so that I can fast-track my success. But Issa Rae said it best, start with the people around you: “Who’s next to you? Who’s struggling? Who’s in the trenches with you? Who’s just as hungry as you are? And those are the people that you need to build with.”

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