The Networker #53: How Doing This Online Expands & Deepens Connections

7 Feb, 2024
Read time: 3 minutes & 09 seconds

Showing your human side online is an easy (and free) way to improve your networking experience.

Whilst also creating opportunities and connections from where you least expected.

Regularly in The Networker I’ve spoken about how being authentic is pivotal when networking.

Being human with vulnerability, openness, and a willingness to share.

This isn’t exclusive to when you’re physically at networking events.

This can take place online too.

Specifically at the biggest online networking event everyone is invited to – LinkedIn.

Unfortunately, many see online as a place to talk strictly business.

And be super serious and professional.

The problem is, you become just like everyone else.

Everyone is unique. Everyone has a life outside of work.

Here’s how becoming more human online helps you expand your connections, deepen relationships, and become a well rounded networker.

It’s time to stand out.

I’ve often heard many say “LinkedIn is becoming like Facebook”.

With more personal stories and insights into personal lives.

I welcome this. And embrace it myself.

Firstly, because if it didn’t, LinkedIn would be a vacuum of self promotion and boring business jargon.

Secondly, people connect and buy from people.

To demonstrate this, here’s a real example from the last 1-2 weeks of my own content.

Where before and during my recent holiday, I’ve shared a few personal posts including:

  1. Going on holiday
  2. Announcing my engagement
  3. Me playing golf
  4. Returning from holiday

Let’s look at the data.

These 4 posts combined generated over 24,500 impressions and 800+ engagements (at the time of writing).

I compared this to 3x the amount of ‘work’ related and promotional posts in the last 1-2 months

These 12 posts combined generated 12,000 impressions and 300+ engagements.

Supporting the theory that more personal and human content generates more interest.

Getting engaged no doubt helps – but I have many other examples of similar style posts!

What was the impact from these posts (apart from reach and engagement)?

  • Congratulations from long term and new contacts

  • Invitations to play golf

  • New found common interest with existing connections who have visited Barbados

  • Messages of recommendations

  • Outreach from prospects who had been meaning to get back to me

  • Personalised sales messages from potential suppliers referencing posts and shared interests

This is without even going to an event yet since being back, and seeing the ways people engage with me there.

How can this help your networking?

1. People you connect with at events have a conversation starter.

Something that is more than; “how’s business?” Yawn.

You will find insights you share are brought up in conversation at networking events, helping you start conversations at a more personal level.

Like when I went to America. This was (and still is) a popular conversation starter for existing connections of mine when meeting them at events or 1-1s.

2. It opens doors online as well as in-person.

This could come from one comment, message or interaction that leads to a connection with a new opportunity.

Your exposure and reach means you can be seen by hundreds or thousands of others.

That’s like being at multiple events at once.

3. You give others chance to use ‘The 3 C’s’ on you.

Just like we explored in the recent edition #51 – others could either congratulate, console, or compliment.

Already people are congratulating me in emails and messages since returning from holiday.

Personal insights, stories and opinions makes it easy for people to connect with you.

4. You become more human and relatable.

And not just another person that does what you do.

People buy from people.

And sharing your human side is a way to turn conversation into true connection.

How can you apply it?

Easy – sharing more personal behind the scenes insights.

I’m not talking about what you have for dinner.

Human brains are wired to like people that seem similar or approachable.

This could include posts about:

  • Who you are
  • How you got there
  • Holidays and experiences
  • Personal stories and opinions
  • Hobbies, passions and interests
  • Insights into your role or business
  • Achievements or accolades personally or professionally

The goal here is to connect with your audience, existing connections, and potential clients.

You’ll find you do so in ways you never expected.

Like these two examples, where:

  • Someone saw this post and connected with me at the event to share they too were a bit of a London history nerd (we’ve since passed referrals between each other).
  • I received three WW2 book recommendations following this post from an old connection I’ve reconnected closely with since.

By all means, combine these kind of posts with professional and work related updates or news.

It’s about finding the balance.

But show your personality. It’s a competitive advantage.

Because there’s only one of you.

The Wrap Up 

If you’re left thinking; who cares about this kind of stuff?!

I simply urge you to give it a go.

You might be pleasantly surprised.

There are many ‘lurkers’ on LinkedIn (those that see your content but don’t engage).

Just look at my impressions compared to the engagement count.

It only takes one spark of shared interest to ignite a conversation and connection.

And if you worry about annoying others – watch this Ricky Gervais clip to put your mind at ease (excuse the language).

LinkedIn and networking events were separated at birth.

Use both together to see your network expand and relationships thrive.

Make it human first, business second.

What Is The Networker?

The weekly newsletter to help business owners and sales leaders network smarter.

1 networking tip, trend or tidbit – every Wednesday morning.

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