Not everyone is an extrovert. Not everyone is a networker. But time and again we see that networking is an extremely valuable to grow your business, particularly if you ARE your business. So where do the introverts go to network that doesn’t cause them to curl up in a ball and want to cry?
LinkedIn. It’s a great option for reaching out to others without feeling like you’re getting all up in their face. That’s because you don’t have to request connection with someone to be able to see what they’re doing or interact with their content. You can simply follow them. Instead of clicking straight on the “connect” button, try pulling down the more options icon where you’ll see more ways to act on their profile. The best one is “follow.” Follow will let them know that you’re following them, which is ok, because it’s not sending a big honking notification that this strange person is wanting to connect with them randomly – which gets read by some of us as “oh no, the minute I accept this, they’re going to want to send me a message to sell me something I don’t want.” And we’re right. Because that’s usually what happens. But if someone simply wants to follow you on LinkedIn, then it feels kinda nice. It shows that you’re doing something that they like. Something interesting. Something that they feel is worth following you for.
And then once you are following that person, then you can interact with their posts. You can like them, leave comments, react to what they’ve written, add their conversation. All without intruding in to their inbox and getting all up in their face. And once you’ve been participarting in what they’re posting, commenting in a relevant way (and no, “great post mate” is not a relevant comment) and participating in the conversations that ensue as a reaction to of their posts, then they may reach out to you and ask to connect. Because they now know you. In fact, they may wonder with all the interaction you’ve had with each other, how they never noticed that you weren’t connected in the first place.
But this can take a while. Maybe even months. Which is really how great friendships and relationships are formed. Not by sudden connections.