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Online Networking for Banking Professionals

As a banking professional, if somebody 'googled' you, what would they find? Do you have an online presence, and indeed, do you want one? How open are you to the power of the internet to build your connections, your profile and your business?

Whether you call it virtual networking, online networking, social networking or e-networking, this relatively new phenomenon is here to stay!

Everyday, thousands of people join hundreds of online networking forums, communities, sites, clubs and virtual worlds. Many of those are in banking roles. And here's why...

All kinds of people from inside and outside the world of business are creating relationships and spending significant time online. As a banking professional, you may already be active in the face to face networking world. But how connected are you in the virtual one?

Online networking gives you a medium for spreading your words of wisdom, advertising your wares and marketing your personal brand. The  structure and behind the scenes wizardry allow you to communicate quicker, easier and more frequently than face to face networking.

Some carefully-invested time in your online networking will reap dividends for your reputation, your relationships and your business!

There are two kinds of online networking - business and social. The overlap is blurred. Social networks give you an online presence and access to contacts, ideas and markets. However, usually they are for keeping and making friends, sharing thoughts, interests, commentary and updates, and the ever-present dating scene (currently used by millions daily!)

The business networking sites have a more commercial focus with an emphasis on alliances, profile-raising, referrals, marketing and prospecting.

Whether you're looking for social company, clients, partners, jobs, work or insight, you can find it online.  It should become an integral part of your reputation building, relationship nurturing and business development.

With a massive potential global market, the scope to build powerful business relationships and be seen by almost anyone is a distinct possibility. It's no good being the best kept secret in the world.

The strategy for survival is visibility. As Ivan Misner, founder of global networking outfit BNI, states, visibility leads to credibility, which leads to profitability. You've got to be out there because your competitors, your clients, your customers and your prospects are there already.

In your banking situation, you have internal competition for jobs and promotions. You also have allies, advocates, promoters and influencers inernally.

If you haven't already started, pick out one social network. Twitter is a good international one with a strong reputation. it's easy to get signed up and easy to contribute. You can make it as 'businessy as you like. Check out our bankerofchoice twitter account. Nothing about what we had for breakfast this morning. All relevant stuff about bankers, networking, professional development and banking issues.

Also set up your profile on a business network such as LinkedIn. They're all free for basic services and it doesn't take much to set up your personal profile so that people can see you, connect with you and even do business with you.

From a reputational standpoint alone, being anonymous online is no longer an option. Unless you're already a celebrity or the banker of choice you want to be, being online is an absolute necessity!

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