Why you should join an online community (and how to make the most of it)
Whether you’re building your business or your career, having the right people on your side counts for a lot. A great online community can help you in all kinds of ways. In this article, we outline the value of joining an online community - and how to maximise every opportunity it offers.
Build your status
Joining an online community geared towards helping you connect with relevant people can accelerate your professional status and credibility. That’s because it allows you to go much further than just building contacts through your employer or business. A truly effective online community should prove to be an ally in enhancing your professional status and provide you with plenty of fresh networking opportunities.
Boost career resilience
No-one knows exactly what’s around the corner. Even with all the planning in the world, we can’t always control how our professional situations may change. This is where a good online community can help. Someone who has already built up a network of contacts outside of their main role or business is in a much stronger position to find a new opportunity - even in the event of a sudden change of circumstances.
Stay in touch with what’s new
Being busy with your core role can make it tough to keep up with what’s new. A powerful online community can put you in touch with changes afoot in your industry. You could also learn about exciting new career or business possibilities along the way! It may also open up other options for getting noticed in your sector, such as speaking engagements, mentoring or offering pro bono work for a good cause.
Let’s not forget one of the core aims of networking: to grow your business through mutual support. An effective network with a highly relevant membership should put you in a good position to build bonds with future potential clients and collaborators. Even if they aren’t possible prospects right now, they might know someone who is! A thriving community should give you the chance to meet new people on a frequent basis, but also enable you to nurture long-term connections.
Networking can bring value at every stage of growing a business or a career. And it certainly doesn’t have to be face to face to have an impact. Let’s not forget the story of Ryan Graves. Now the former CEO of Uber, Graves changed his life thanks to a tweet he sent to Travis Kalanick, Uber’s co-founder. That one tweet would end up making him a billionaire.
Even for those already established in their careers, networking is particularly important for people who take their professional progress seriously. Being part of a good online community demonstrates your readiness to take your place on a bigger stage. You never know, that brand new contact you’re speaking to today could be your future business partner or employer!
But joining is only half the journey…
Maximising your membership in an online community means being active and here’s how to achieve it:
Introduce yourself: Make the most of your network to share your knowledge, skills, and experience. Be sure that your fellow members understand how you can help them. Give them a sense of your personality and interests to ensure that you become much more than just a name and a role to them.
Seek out new connections: Be proactive. Take every opportunity your network offers to meet members. Get to know people by attending events, participating in networking sessions, generating new opportunities and business deals, and forming friendships around the issues that are important to you.
Engage beyond the obvious: Go even further than the structured opportunities for networking offered by your community. Build on the initial relationships you have formed by responding to requests and asking for help! This could involve answering a call-out for a specific skill or letting someone know about a particular resource which could benefit them.
Be consistent: Everyone loves novelty. It can be tempting to get into a pattern of investing a lot of time and attention into a community when you first join, only to drift away after the initial buzz has worn off. Aim to be consistent in the time you put into it. Keep to your commitments. Little and often is a good way to approach your contribution to a community.
Take the lead: So you’ve raised your professional profile by joining your network. Now raise it even more by taking on a leadership role! This could include hosting community-led events or helping to recruit and onboard new members.
Offer feedback: Community Managers are there to help you and ensure that you get the most out of your membership. Take some time to pass on your feedback, but also don’t be afraid to ask questions about how to use the community platform. Plus, if you think you have an innovative idea for the community, share it. You never know, your great idea could help to put you in the spotlight!
Superlinked takes the effort out of finding the right people to connect within your community. All you need to do is confirm your weekly participation on Monday and arrange to meet your new potential employer, business partner or friend.
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