Networking Tips for Beginners in the Digital Age


Networking is and will always be essential to businesses, professionals, and the world in general. Networking can help individuals and businesses grow in several different ways. Of all the things that you can do to build your reputation and professional success, successful networking is probably one of the most essential elements. Like anything, of course, you’ve got to make sure that you’re doing it correctly. 

Everyone talks about the “Digital Age” like it’s some big, scary concept—it’s not. It’s simply the transition to the world we live in where instead of the Internet being a supplement, it has become the main event for most consumers and businesses. Therefore, your networking skills will need to change and adapt to be able to work within this new space. It’s not difficult to do, but it definitely helps if you have a plan.

Where should I be networking?

Many SMBs and entrepreneurs struggle to get started with networking because they aren’t sure where to go. There are tons of different apps, tools, and social networks out there today and each has its perks to consider. Where you network will also depend on the goals that you have. Don’t have any networking goals yet? Your first step will be to create those. Then, you’ll be able to craft a strategy that will tell you where to go and how to network successfully. 

Some of the popular tools and platforms for professional networking include:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Meetup
  • Facebook 

You can also use internal networking and communication platforms like Slack if you’ve got a larger company and want to keep your employees engaged and connected. 

Know what you need 

Some people dive into networking and try to connect with as many people as possible. While that’s a noble effort, it’s nearly impossible and quite unnecessary. You want to make sure that you are making quality connections, not just stacking up followers on social media. When the Internet overwhelms you with the constant options for connecting, remember that these five groups are all you really need:

  1. Your close network: Three to five people that you have available for advice and to use as a sounding board. These are the ones you turn to when you’re vulnerable or need support. 
  2. Your help network: Five to 15 people to whom you can ask specific questions. These people will provide solutions and support for various needs. 
  3. Your acquaintance network: 15 to 200 people that you connect with occasionally that you consider acquaintances. 
  4. Your distant network: 200 to 1,500 people that have more limited relationships, but still have a connection to you or your business. 
  5. Your follower network: Aim to get 1,500 or more people who follow you on various social media platforms, but may not engage directly. These connections are still valuable even though they don’t have direct contact in most cases. 

You should also build your networks in this order. The closest connections come first, as they can often help you build the larger, more distant connections that follow. And as you continue to grow, you’ll probably expand your networks, too. 

Be careful with automation 

Many sites will tell you that networking is a great place to automate outreach, and it can be. However, you do need to use automated tools and communications carefully. If you’re using an email autoresponder, for example, save that for the bigger three networks in the list above. If you try to send a generic form email to your close network or help network, not only will they notice, but they’ll probably take offense. 

Automate outreach with followers and distant connections. It’s a great way to cultivate even more relationships and streamline staying in touch with the ones you already have. Choose tools that help you achieve your networking goals by working smarter, not harder. 

Be sincere 

The biggest disconnect in the digital age is the lack of emotion and empathy that can be conveyed in electronic communications. Fortunately, we’ve now got video chats, emojis, and other tools you can use to ensure that your sincerity comes across fully and wholeheartedly. Whether you’re collecting followers or creating a new close contact, always be sincere and authentic.

People will be able to tell whether you’re genuinely interested in making a connection or if you’re just trying to collect a network to say that you have one. And quite frankly, if you’re doing the latter, you’re doing it wrong. 

Stop thinking of them as “online” connections 

The biggest disconnect for those trying to harness the power of digital networking is that they still see this online space as an entirely separate entity. It’s not. It’s an integrated part of the world and it should be an integrated part of your daily business and communications. Sure, it’s harder to build meaningful relationships online, but it can be done. The people who are most successful with digital networking are those who don’t discern “online” contacts as something entirely separate. 

Quickfire tips for success 

We’ve covered a lot in a short time, but we’re not done yet. To make sure that your transition from beginner to expert in the digital age of networking is smooth and speedy, here are a few more tips for you to take on your journey. 

  • Ask questions, then listen to the answers. 
  • Learn active listening and practice it regularly. 
  • Be aware of your online presence, including in your personal life. 
  • Research and see how others are succeeding with networking. 
  • Always be ready to present your best self. 

There are differences with digital networking, but it’s certainly not an entirely foreign world. With these tips, you should be ready to build your own network. 

While you’re networking, who’s managing the leads?

SMBs and solo businesses have a lot to do in a day. Adding networking to your list probably takes away more time from other efforts, but that’s okay. Your business doesn’t have to suffer, because you can partner with the virtual receptionists at to handle what you can’t. We’ll provide a 24/7 answering service, along with support for outreach campaigns, lead intake, appointment scheduling, and more.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to

Business Education
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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