How to Build Your Network

For our first topic of our series, we will be discussing building your own professional network. This article is written by one of our own staff members, Brehany Brown, after having an interview with McKinnon Maddox, a entrepreneur out of Birmingham, Alabama. Be on a lookout for our Wednesday post full of external sources centered around professional networking. Get involved by with your own suggestions or strategies below.

 

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Review: How to Build Your Professional Network 

 

In today’s industry, networking is no longer only a tactic necessary for first time job-seekers. Networking is essential to building and maintaining a business. However, there is more to networking than simply establishing that initial connection and shaking hands. There are several steps involved in creating a network that can help propel you and your business to the next level, as well as establish your footing in the market. We spoke with McKinnon Maddox, owner of the digital marketing company MacMedia, about the importance of networking. He provided us with three quintessential tips to help effectively build a successful network.

 

  1. Get involved in your community

 

Seeking out other professionals in your own community is the first step in creating your network. Once you can find a niche of like minded people that can help you get involved and get connected, the rest comes naturally. At 12-years old, Maddox was apart of the professional gaming community, becoming the youngest professional Call of Duty player in the league. The connections he made within the gaming community became some of the cornerstone relationships in creating MacMedia. “The gaming industry is much like a start-up business,” Maddox said. “It’s just a community of people that grew together.”

 

  1. Be everywhere (digitally)

 

In a world where social media is now arguably the dominating way people consume media, take full advantage of it. Social/online networking is just as effective as speaking to someone face-to-face. The majority of businesses and business professionals have profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. With the abundance of different social platforms, there are boundless opportunities to build your awareness up and create professional relationships among business leaders through different shared media. Interact with other businesses and professionals on social platforms in a way that will be mutually beneficial. For example, if a company in your market shares an interesting article on Facebook, re-share it or comment on it from your personal or business profile. According to Maddox, the sharing option on sites like Facebook is transforming into the new form of blogging. This will only help you in broadening your name recognition, and can even lead to more opportunities for other people to reach out to you.

 

  1. Step out of your comfort zone

 

Never be afraid to reach out. While it can be intimidating, the power of a cold call (or cold email) is often extremely overlooked. Even if your call does not have some sort of sales-intention behind it, people love to talk about themselves, their businesses, and their work. A simple greeting or question about something can spark a long-lasting professional relationship. Also, remember to be innovative. Think outside of the box when searching for clients, potential employees, and partners. Maddox found his first client off of Craigslist when he was 15-years old. When you think big and think differently than others, the possibilities for growth and expansion for your network are endless.

 

-Brehany Brown

Michael DiLucchio

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