By now you have probably set up professional profiles on the major online social networks, to include LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These sites offer many features that allow you to network efficiently, but here are 5 unique networks that can help you master networking online.
1. The Topics Feature on Klout.com
Klout attempts to measure your online influence through your social networks. Klout's new “Topics” feature is a great place to find influential contacts in a niche important to you. Type a topic or specialty area in the search box and you will see the top ten online influencers in that category and the social networks on which you can connect with them.
2. Meet Local People on Meetup.com
Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups with over 9.5 million members, facilitating over 280,000 meetups per month. This site allows you to search by topic of interest, city, or zip code to meet new people and get involved in causes and activities important to you.
3. Hangouts on Google+
Google+ is one of the most exciting new social networks. Perhaps one of the more innovative features is the Google+ Hangout, which allows you to start or join a video chat with up to ten people. This is a powerful way to make more personal online connections.
A great site to see available Hangouts by topic is: gphangouts.
4. Meet the Mayor on Foursquare
Foursquare is a location-based social network that allows you to check-in to a local business or place as well as view others that have previously visited. If you check-in more than anyone else, you can become that location’s virtual mayor. The mayor is made public, allowing you to request a connection from your phone. This a great way to connect with new, influential people associated with a location of interest to you.
5. Participate in a Tweet Chat
A Tweet Chat uses Twitter’s hashtag (#) to organize a group discussion around a particular topic. Anyone can follow and participate in the discussion as long as the hashtag is included within their tweet. Many important Tweet Chats take place at the same time each week, allowing you to meet and interact with like-minded professionals.
A great place to search for chats by subject and time is: gnosisarts
Try some or all of these methods to network online with key influencers in your area of expertise. Interacting frequently will help you identify yourself as a thought leader as well.