When it comes to business networking, it’s never too late to reconnect. Online social networking sites Linkedin or Facebook are fantastic tools for finding and reconnecting to people. They are also good for staying in touch and managing your network.
There is a good chance that a lot of people you have lost touch with or with whom you do not already have regular contact will be on either LinkedIn or Facebook. I recommend that you have a free account on both sites with an up-to-date profile. If this is all totally new to you then both sites provide plenty of help to get you started.
Facebook has historically been more friendship focused but is becoming an increasingly important tool for business. LinkedIn has historically been more focused on work-related connections and is becoming more social.
What you are looking to do is to find your contacts and send a connection request through the system. Both have a search facility and it’s as simple as typing in their name. Once you have your profile done then start working through your prioritised list and sending requests to connect.
Both Facebook and LinkedIn allow you to send personal messages to people you are connected to on their system without needing to know their email address. Send a message suggesting that you talk on the phone or arrange to meet to catch up. Your emphasis should be on catching up with what they are doing rather than what you are doing.
I recommend you send a personal message when you make a connection rather than using the defualt message. This is useful for people you do not know that well or it has been many years since you last spoke. Sending them a personal message will increase the chances of them being happy to reconnect.
You may need to remind them how you know them just in case they have forgotten about you. For family and people you consider as friends then search for them on Facebook and send them a friend request. Also search for them on LinkedIn too as there are some useful features there in terms of giving and receiving connections.
If you cannot find a contact on LinkedIn or Facebook then you can always try typing their name into the Google search engine. You may find a website for them or a profile on another social networking site like Ecademy.com.
The objective of reconnecting is to start an email conversation that should lead to you either meeting or speaking on the phone. If they have accepted your connection request then take that as a good sign that they are happy to talk.
Whilst you are at it, make sure you connect to all your existing contacts on Linkedin and Facebook. This will make it easier to stay in touch in the future.
Why not start reconnecting today?
In my book ‘The Accidental Salesman: Networking Survival Guide’ you will learn how to be more effective at winning new clients and gaining sales leads when you do reconnect. You can download a big chunk of it for free here.