The nature of the digital industry means that much of your time is spent on computers and online, rather than in face-to-face interactions, so you might think that the art of networking doesn’t matter that much. However, it does still play a key part, and maintaining a strong network of connections is an essential part of any successful career in the digital industry.
Think about the number of people you solely interact with online. Can you name them or recognise their faces? Now think about people you have met in person and have spoken to, and do the same.
Consider how many emails and social interactions we all get bombarded with on a daily basis. It can be difficult to remember everyone. It's much easier to remember a person from x event than someone who sent you an email about y. The initial human interaction translates to a better relationship overall.
Building a strong network is essential for several reasons, and can offer both personal and business-wide opportunities for growth and improvement.
Networking offers the best opportunities to get some face-time with other business owners and build relationships for future opportunities. Even if you don’t make a direct business connection at an event, you’re likely to meet someone who can be the bridge to a new business opportunity or contact. In the long run, you never know who in your network will need someone with your specific skillset, so by maintaining good relationships with as many people as you can, you’ll increase the chances of them thinking of you when those opportunities arise.
It is, of course, a two-way street – do some business match-making of your own wherever you see potential connections between two (or more) people in your network.
No matter what stage you’re at in your career, having a strong network you can rely on for support and guidance is always beneficial. Building and maintaining a strong network of industry experts ensures that you will never be short of advice when you need it. If you’re just starting to grow your network, looking for a mentor can offer great links to further contacts and can help you cultivate a diverse network.
It can also afford you the opportunity to offer guidance to others, therefore enhancing your reputation within the digital industry, and portraying you as a thought-leader or expert in your field.
Knowledge is power. Especially in an industry that changes at such a rapid pace. A strong network allows for an exchange of information, where you can learn about how your peers are tackling current business challenges, discuss the possible impacts of new developments in the industry, and share best-practice knowledge.
Learning opportunities are often shared on Twitter and LinkedIn, so being connected with the right people can flag useful events and opportunities that you may have otherwise missed.
Reading up on industry news is the most common way to continue learning, but having discussions with your peers will allow you to see things from new perspectives and gain fresh ideas.
Like most industries, in the digital industry it can often be about who you know as well as what you know. Maintaining strong business connections can cultivate a good reputation in industry circles, and a strong network of contacts will also strengthen your personal brand.
Regularly attending networking events will make you a familiar face to others in the industry, and this can help build your reputation as a knowledgeable and proactive individual.
The more you network and make yourself known, the more people will think of you when they need the skills you possess.
Studying for an MBA is a great way to start building a strong and influential network, which you can grow throughout the course by interacting with industry speakers and attending relevant events. Take a look at our Resource Hub and read about the many benefits of studying an MBA.
Meanwhile if you work in the digital industry, our Digital Management MBA is tailor-made to develop skills you need for your career.
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