Is Digital Networking Worth Your Time? Let’s Find Out

Maybe you’ve been digitally networking for months. Or maybe you’re finally ready to give it your all. Either way, knowing that success in digital networking is more than comments and likes is important. 

But how do you know if your digital networking efforts are paying off? Keep reading to learn how to measure digital networking results, along with a few bonus digital networking tips.

What Is Digital Networking?

Put simply, digital networking is building relationships through digital platforms. But what does this really mean? Here are some examples of digital networking professionals.

  • Ruby is a real estate agent looking to grow her professional network. She starts a Facebook group for her hometown that allows residents to discuss local events and come together as a community. Ruby also includes her business information and shares new listings and open house information when appropriate.
  • Gary is a financial advisor who’s shied away from digital networking in the past. But he’s ready to make the leap. He’s too nervous to consider hosting a webinar or a Facebook live session so he chooses to pitch a few topic ideas to blogs in his industry. A couple are accepted, and his guest blogs help him reach a new audience and engage with them at a pace he’s comfortable with.
  • Linda works as an insurance agent. She loves going to conferences and connecting with peers in a networking environment. But she knows she needs to start making digital networking part of her overall marketing plan. She gets her feet wet by starting to share content on LinkedIn, both her own original pieces and articles from colleagues and leaders in the industry.

Digital networking can be defined as anything social you do online in the name of your business. If you’re posting, commenting, or engaging in a digital space, you’re digitally networking. But like anything in business, it’s important to know if your efforts are gaining any traction.

How to Measure Digital Networking Results

The first step in knowing if your digital networking efforts are paying off is to establish your metrics. Without metrics, it’s impossible to interpret any of your data.

We’re going to keep this simple by only measuring certain engagements for now. You can get as deep as you want by measuring newsletter signups, memberships, sales, or lifelong customer revenue. But for now, we’ll only focus on the following:

  • Number of engagements per platform – Track how many times you posted on your Facebook page, how many articles you shared on LinkedIn, or how many online networking events you attended.
  • Amount of time spent on each platform – Track how long it takes you to schedule posts, write articles, or converse with peers. Break down your time with as much detail as possible.
  • Number of visits to your website – With most types of digital networking, your end goal should be to get readers or online peers to visit your website or landing page. Then it’s your website’s job to move them down the funnel. This data can be found through your hosting provider or Google Analytics, a free tool that helps measure different aspects of a website’s performance. 

To find where your website traffic is coming from, create a Google Analytics account, log in, and click on “Site Content” in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. You can then choose the type of page you want to see the sourced traffic for. 

In most cases, you’ll want to check your landing page sources. Click on “Landing Pages” and then navigate to “Secondary Dimension”. Click “Acquisition” and finally “Source/Medium” from the drop-down menu. You’ll then see a list of sources for each landing page on your site.

With your metrics decided and tracked, you can begin to analyze your digital networking results. How sophisticated of a system you want to come up with is up to you. You can put all your numbers into a spreadsheet or just write them down on a sheet of paper. Just make sure you can easily see the corresponding attempts and results for each category. 

One line might look as follows: 

Guest Blog Posts: 5

Amount of Time: 8 hours

Website Visits: 675 

Let’s say you posted 20 times within a month on Facebook, totaling an hour of time. You also shared 10 articles on LinkedIn, which took about 10 hours to write and source. Readers were directed to your website from Facebook links 300 times and your LinkedIn click-throughs brought 200 visitors. With these results, it’s easy to see that you gained more traction from an hour of Facebook work compared to 10 hours of LinkedIn.

But keep in mind that additional metrics will help you realize which platform resulted in more conversions, which is more important than visitors. For example, if LinkedIn proved to send more quality visitors to your website (i.e. more conversions), the additional time spent writing and sourcing articles could be well worth it. 

Digital Networking Tips

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your digital marketing efforts, take in the following tips.

Don’t limit yourself

There are countless opportunities to network online. Don’t limit yourself to just a few. Explore options and, based on your results, zone in on the most successful. But don’t assume what will work before you try it. 

Set weekly connection goals

You should be making progress every week. For some businesses, making a few new connections each week is enough to keep them busy. For some, the number will be much higher. Set an achievable yet challenging goal for new connections every week.

Remain consistent

Nothing will hurt your online reputation more than engaging with connections on a regular basis and then disappearing without warning. You’ll be labeled as unreliable, a trait that won’t help boost your business brand.

If something has come up that makes it difficult to be active on social media, you have options. Consider using a marketing automation platform like SharpSpring or SEMrush to plan and schedule your social media posts in advance. This will keep your audience engaged without tying you down to your social media account.   

Many professionals ignore digital networking because they don’t know how to measure results. Now that you know how to measure digital networking results, it’s time to develop a networking and marketing strategy that will help you reach new audiences and grow your business.

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