Networking is an interesting thing.
You’re not growing your network for the sake of a bigger network.
The reason for growing your network is to gain access to other people’s networks!
The very first non-fiction book that I read – that really stuck – was Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
The key concept in that book was to always be networking.
Always try to expand and find new connections – that will help you reach your goals.
I’ve always loved to be around people and do stuff, but it was not until after reading this book that I understand it would work on a professional level as well.
When I recently decided to start using Twitter more frequently, I also decided to make a conscious effort to take advantage of its main strength; networking.
One of my tools has been to create a Hit List (not as violent as it sounds), with influential people that I would like to create a strong, mutual personal connection with.
Among these are entrepreneurs, big-name marketers and other people I believe can help propel my business forward.
When I started this small experiment one month ago, there were 10 people on that list, and they were going to stay on that list until I’d gotten to know them.
To help you to boost your your networking game and connect with anyone – no matter how influential – I’ve created a template and database:
Why Twitter is so good for networking.
My presence on Twitter has been – at best – sporadic, since creating my account in 2008.
Even though I’ve sucked at keeping up a consistent Twitter game in the past, every time I’ve made an effort I’ve come to the same conclusion: Twitter is the best place to connect with influential people.
There’s something with the short form, in-the-open way of communicating on Twitter that makes it extremely easy to get even the most buys and powerful people to interact with you.
Yes, most of the time it is just a short reply or a like, but they have invested a little bit in you.
And if you decide to really make an effort, you can grow that first investment into something really valuable.
Here’s how to become friends with almost anyone on Twitter
One month ago, I decided to really focus on my Twitter presence.
If I got all that value from only logging in occasionally in the past, what would a serious attempt to take advantage of Twitter’s impact do to my business?
I decided to focus on two things; tweeting regularly and substantially grow my network.
To succeed with the first one, I signed up for a just-released service called HypeFury. It is a simple but powerful tool that’ll let you schedule tweets in advance.
I didn’t want to spend all day on Twitter so having a tool that would post for me, during the entire day was key.
(You can try HypeFury for free here.)
The other goal – growing my network – was going to be a bit more hands-on.
What I was looking for was people with networks that could help me to get the word out when releasing new projects and finding people that can help me solve the problems along the way.
For every person I am able to add to my network, I’ll get an entire new web of people.
This is how I’ve done it.
Decide why – what is your end goal for this?
The first thing you need to do – as with everything you want to accomplish – is to concretize why you are doing it.
Your list needs to be of a manageable size – you are the one “working” it, and you won’t have time if you cram it with as many people as possible.
You need to focus on adding the right people. To do that, you need to know why you are doing it.
What is the reason for wanting to grow your Twitter network?
- Make a name for yourself in a specific niche
- Get more users for your no-code tool
- Build your own microtribe for a future launch
- Sell more digital products
- Get your blog posts to reach more people
- Learn more about a specific topic
- Get more clients
- Find a new job
Take inspiration from one of these, or write your own.
Choose one goal, and make it as precise as you can.
Knowing where you want to go, is a must if you want to be able to choose the right path.
Create Your Hit List
Now, use Twitter’s list function to create a private list. Because it is private, no one will see it and the people you put on it won’t know.
But because I don’t trust Twitter to never change that, I make sure to name it something that I wouldn’t mind the people on it to know.
So instead of naming it “People I Want to Take Advantage Of”, consider something like “People I Want to Know”.
Just to be sure 😉
Add the right people – and not too many
Adding the people on your list shouldn’t be done in one take.
Because the list should be small (10 – 15 people at any given time) you need to make sure you add the right people.
If you spent some time understanding and concretizing your personal goal, it will be quite easy to know if someone should go on the list.
If someone strikes you as interesting, ask yourself; can this person (and their network) help me reach that goal?
Take a close look at their feed:
Are people listening to what they have to say?
Are people resonating with their message?
Do they have similar values as you?
Are they connected to the people you need to reach your goals?
Don’t get too hung up on the number of followers they have. The more followers someone has, the harder it will be to push through.
And more followers doesn’t mean they are better.
Understand THEIR goals
Now, here’s the most important part of this dance.
You are doing this to help you reach your goals, but you have to do that by helping your network reach theirs first!
No one wants to be taken advantage of.
No one wants to be used as a stepping-stone.
The best way for you to create a long-lasting connection with someone is to understand what they want and to help them achieve that.
Just as you have goals, they have goals.
By paying attention to what they share and tweet (as well as checking what they are linking to in their bio and feed) you’ll quickly understand what their goals are.
🏢 What projects and companies are they involved in?
🎓 What kind of topics are they currently exploring and learning about?
💃 Which are their main interests?
The best way to make them notice you is to add value to their lives.
Instead of writing everything down in some kind of shady surveillance report, focus on getting a feel for who the person is.
If you’ve kept your list short, that isn’t gonna be a problem.
Check in on them every day
Thanks to having a list with the people you want to connect with, you’re able to see everything they post in one place.
Check on your list at least once a day.
You want to get in front of their faces (repeatedly) to make them start noticing you and the best way to do that is to add value and to help them.
Here’s a few ways to do that.
💰Add valuable insights to their tweets.
It is not by saying “Cool!” or “Thanks!”.
You need to differentiate yourself from the rest – to grab a hold of them.
Don’t try to fake it.
Don’t reply to everything they write – only reply to the ones that you genuinely find interesting!
Add something to the conversation.
This can be something you’ve read that relates to the topic or something that completely contradicts it.
That is totally OK do disagree, as long as it is done with respect (and as long as it is constructive).
🐦 Retweet (with a comment)
A similar tactic is to retweet your favorite tweets.
But don’t just retweet it. Add your take to it!
Write a comment that will add even more value to their original tweet.
☝️Tag them in other peoples tweets
Because you know what their goals are, you can connect them with people that can help them reach those goals.
If they are running a startup, tag people that might need the service that startup provides!
If someone tweets about something that you think they might be able to use – tag them.
Move To Direct Messaging
I have a (kinda) precise way of knowing when I’ve actually “connected” with someone.
When we’ve had a valuable conversation via direct messaging.
This is like the Internet equivalent of having lunch with someone in the real world.
At some point, it will feel natural to transfer to a more private conversation.
There’re are no frameworks for this, you’ll have to play it by ear.
A few things that worked for me is to send a link to a yet-to-be-published blog post, a PDF or anything else that…. give them value.
Usually, it starts something like “Hey [Name]! I saw you were looking to [Solve A Problem]. I found this that might help you….”
It is a fine line between going complete fangirl and acting like you are busting down the door.
When I genuinely believe that I’ve created a mutual connection between the two of us I remove the person from my list.
Only to put them on another one!
Creating the connection is only the first step – unless you keep on nurturing those relationships it will all be in vain.
My second list (called “The Network”) is where someone gets added after we’ve gotten to know each other.
I make sure to go through this list at least once every week, to touch base with people I haven’t talked to for a while.
Twitter is without a doubt, the best place to extend your network online.
You’ll find all kinds of people there, and with almost no borders between you.
The only thing you need to do, to reach the most influential people in the world, is to help them out first.
Oh! – what about those 10 names on my first list? I’ve managed to move all of them to my Network List.