Hey my #LatinaGeeks!
Ever hear the phrase your network is your networth? In addition to being a great read by former Virgin Airlines VP of Marketing, Porter Gale, it’s absolutely true that your network can be your path to riches.
As a Latina in technology and solopreneur, I am always looking to source new potential business leads, I find networking to be a key source of business, opportunity and inspiration. In addition to trying to connect IRL (in real life) with as many people as possible through various networking events and conferences, I also use a variety of platforms to keep me connected with my networks.
Networking comes in many forms and while making the ask is important, contributing and adding value to the communities you participate in, is even more important, because when it does come time to make the ask, you’ll be a familiar voice that others will be more inclined to help. So create and/or share great content that adds value to the networks you are part of.
Other tips I came across while researching this article include the following practices:
- Listen to conversations first. This will help you understand the nuances of the network before you chime in.
- Help others before asking, which can come in the form of a like, upvote, share or comment.
- Share relevant content, this goes back to knowing your networks and making sure you are posting appropriate content those members will find interesting (h/t to Assaf Luxembourg for these tips from Silo)
Many of us are already familiar with the power of networking on Facebook, one pro-tip I like to use is to participate in groups. I am an active member of many groups, like Women in Tech, of course our very own #LatinaGeeks Community group, as well as other tech focused groups like Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. Whenever I write or stumble across a relevant article, I try to share that content in the appropriate communities. Another tip I like to use for Facebook, is to add #hashtags to all my posts, that way when someone is searching for the topic, my article or content will show up in results.
Linkedin is of course the ultimate business networking tool. While not on a premium account, I often like to take a look at who’s looking at my profile. If the person looks like a potential business contact or if we have many connections in common, I will often ask to connect with a note related to why I thought it would make sense. Linkedin is also a primary source of posting content which I do through both short status updates as well as longer form articles.
Hey if you’re reading this, let’s connect on LinkedIn! Just be sure to add a note referencing this article.
Now… on to some other networking tools I love.
I love BeVisible because it was built by and is for our very own Latinx community. The interface is Pinterest meets Linkedin meets Facebook, taking the best features of all three platforms. It’s very visual, easy to share and your content stays posted to your profile, not easily getting lost or buried below in a constant stream of noise. Of course much of the content is relevant to our communities and you’ll even see members posting en Español!
On BeVisible you can search content by a variety of categories such as Career, Startups or Events and see what others are posting to potentially connect with or comment on their content.
You can search “Visibles” by zip code to find people in your area that you could potentially meet up with in real life. This is great for people new to a city or in the midst of a career transition.
Never underestimate the power of a face to face connection, even a quick coffee meeting can result in countless new ideas on how your new connection can help you and vice versa.
Another nice touch is that when you do ask to connect with another visible, you can include an ice breaker question as a conversation starter.
A closed mouth never gets fed.
~ wise person
Silo was built on the premise that “real connections are made when you help someone.” Helping someone creates an intrinsic feeling of reward and helping others will lead to them being more inclined to help you at some point in the future. Silo enables people to help others professionally and to do so in a quick and painless way. Helping someone is as easy as an upvote on their ask, which exposes the ask to more people in the community as well as contributes to their “reputation score”. Silo is all about putting out there what you need, in fact, the question for your status update begins with “Sandra, What do you need?”.
With Silo you get reputation points by helping others fulfill their requests and answers. Every time, someone upvotes your ask or comment, you get reputation points. You can upvote people’s responses that are particularly helpful and also comment in threads to gain more reputation creds. Silo is powerful also because of the various vertically focused networks within it that narrow the focus and conversation, you can join groups like Marketing professionals or my newly formed community for LatinaGeeks, join by clicking here and downloading the free app!
Lastly, I tried Shapr, which is Tinder for business networking and to be honest, it just felt strange. You get 10-15 new contacts with similar interests to yours delivered to you each day, of which you can choose to “Meet” by swiping Right or “Pass” by swiping Left. Then, the app encourages you to connect with those matches that have also chosen to “Meet” you or swiped right. The app is targeted at millennials who want to maximize their networking and to their credit, Shapr seems to have facilitated many conversations, enabled new founders to build their business connections, and has even led to a new companies forming. While I have communicated with a few of my “matches” on Shapr, I have yet to find a meaningful connection that will result in a face to face or potential of new business. Only a few days into the Shapr experience, I am still optimistic, although some technical difficulties have hindered my usage.
Another interesting network to consider is Quora, its a question and answer network where anyone can answer questions related to their domain expertise. It is a great way to establish yourself as an expert, and by submitting great answers you are giving back to the community in a meaningful way that will encourage others to seek out your expertise.
Did I miss any online or mobile networks you use to up your networking game? How do you effectively use your networks to get what you need in terms of business leads, introductions or connection with the community? Please share!