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10 Ways To Start Online Networking

Meeting potential clients doesn't have to be done at a stuffy mixer anymore. These days you can reach out to tons of people through the power of your fingertips. And it's not too late to jump on the online-networking bandwagon -- here are 10 tips to get you going.
Meeting potential clients doesn't have to be done at a stuffy mixer anymore. These days you can reach out to tons of people through the power of your fingertips. And it's not too late to jump on the online-networking bandwagon -- here are 10 tips to get you going.Online networking can be an easy -- and inexpensive -- way to attract business. And it puts smaller businesses in the position to reach out to previously unattainable customers. If you haven't explored the world of online networking just yet, fear not, because Yahoo Hotjobs has 10 easy ways to help you get started.

  1. Get a new "one." As in, start a new Online Networking E-mail account. Otherwise, you might find yourself inundated with spam and bacn.
  2. Find your group.
  3. Check out Yahoo Groups to find topics you enjoy and then mingle in cyberspace with people who have the same interests.

  4. Stake your claim. If you feel the need to choose just one social-networking site, go with LinkedIn. It's free, and it's all about business.
  5. Find your inner Twitter. Twitter is all about shorter, to-the-point posts. It holds the possibility of keeping smaller businesses up to date with what's going on as well as letting customers know what you're up to.
  6. Reach out with tact. Practice good etiquette when writing to people you meet online.
  7. Don't poach contacts. And yes, while it's fine to talk to people you meet online, it's not OK to use sales pitches on those people, add them to your subscriber lists, or harvest their e-mail addresses.
  8. Be grateful. When a person you connect with online writes to you, always be polite and thank him or her when you respond.
  9. Remember the basics. Even though you're in an online environment, always practice niceties such as, "Please," "thank you," and so on.
  10. Play with Ning. Haven't found a social network you're comfortable with? Check out Ning, where users can create their own network for any topic -- or you can just search for one.
  11. Watch your signature. Delete your long signature for use in online networks and discussion communities.