Building meaningful relationships in any context takes time. Networking is the same as building a friendship, the only thing that differs are the boundaries set. People in your network can be your friends in real life, alongside people that you share a one off conversation with.
Humans are naturally selfish beings and networking in its original context feeds off this idea. It is sold as a relationship where you should be able to immediately gain something from the connection. It is hardly mentioned that your network may not always reap the direct benefits you expect.
In physical spaces, networking events involve a group of people put on a pedestal (panel) usually at a high point in their careers and people run to acquire knowledge from. While there is nothing wrong with this and panel discussions are incredibly useful. In the attendee circle, it becomes an accolade competition with people trying to gauge how important you are and how you can benefit them.
Even the popular platform LinkedIn thrives of people that have their life together, posting their failures and how they overcame them and have now secured that dream job or internship. Sometimes this involves selling their left kidney and realising they are now unstoppable.
I don’t write for people that seemingly have it all together, i write for those of us trying to figure out life one day at a time. Some days it’s hard to put your accomplishments across or seem important in a world where we are looking through the tinted glass of perfection.
In building your network, taking the approach of looking at your peers than people miles ahed can provide more comfort. This can be done by, supporting your friend that is consistent in what they do, asking them for tips. It is a relationship that already exists and can be built upon.
Building on that, social media has made people more accessible and you can extend the above to your following list.
Your network exceeds a physical space, it exceeds the number of followers you have. You have a solid network when your name is being mentioned in places you don’t even know. This can only happen when you build that genuine connection.
I asked people how they build genuine connections. The common thread that stuck was don’t force things, connect with people that share similar interests and watch that relationship grow. There is no magic formula but consistency and authenticity.
Read their answers below
How have you built genuine relationships on social media ?
Don’t force it, ask the person for a coffee and discuss things outside of work.
To add to this, asking for a zoom call/ any online platform has become more normalised.
I’ve met a good number of people on Twitter and kept in touch with them by simply having a genuine interest in what they do. Most of the time it’s because they seem to have an interest in what I’m doing as well. It doesn’t have to be that way always, there are people whose work I am interested in and will always reach out and send things their way which may help their career progress.
Other times it could be having similar interests in music, tv shows, movies, banter etc.
But one note, don’t hound anyone into connection or friendship. If it’s meant to be it will be. Trying to be friends with everyone like a beg isn’t the move.
For this find people in your niche, but they also have to be people on par with you or have achieved more than you in that niche, be willing to strike up a conversation and ask questions and bounce of ideas of each other.
Many times I’ve met people that are into forex trading or software engineering like me and I find out it works, people love talking about what they do if u approach them right.
Weird thing about socials is the more u follow a particular topic the more likely you are to be followed by people on that topic or see people related to that topic
Read Part 1 -> TCIM guide to social media networking