Beyond social media: Leveraging industry knowledge and networking to advance professional goals

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | By Joe Scott

Beyond social media: Leveraging industry knowledge and networking to advance professional goals

We are all bombarded by social media in our personal and professional lives. Frequency and extent of its use varies, but it’s undeniable that it can help us advance our professional agendas. Many of us have amassed a large online professional network on LinkedIn or similar sites, but I wonder if we are using those connections in the right ways to build viable, fruitful relationships for professional and business development.

We should be using these types of platforms to promote not only our own capabilities but also those of our employer or business – and, online networking sites shouldn’t be the only channel we use to network and promote ourselves. Many conferences and professional organizations provide the same opportunities and should supplement an online presence.

Membership or conference attendance should prove to have some benefit. Of course, sometimes participation is required and counts toward maintaining a specific license. Other opportunities help us to stay abreast of industry developments or meet professional goals.

Below are three recent examples of how the Real Assets team leveraged various networking and promotion opportunities for personal and professional development.

The benefits of belonging to industry organizations change at different stages of our careers. Those providing contacts for job networking are most attractive when establishing a career; however, for more tenured professionals, industry organizations can provide opportunities to further business objectives. Organizations like IMN and NCREIF have provided the Real Assets team opportunities to network with those that help advance our business. 

For example, during a NCREIF conference in 2017, Real Assets Director Donnett Campbell met the portfolio manager of an investment firm focusing on the agriculture sector. They were launching their first open-ended fund, and while they had extensive sector expertise, their experience with administering open-ended funds was limited. After connecting with the Real Assets open-ended fund administration team and going through the sales process, we supported them through the successful launch of their first fund and continue as their outsourced partner as they grow their business.

Once you’ve established your network, maintaining it is important. Those we meet at a conference or social event can influence a current business decision we face, a service offering we’ve considered, offer a perspective never before considered or provide sales leads for new business.

To maintain your network, follow up on a recent conversations, or send contacts an article or whitepaper that they may find of interest or you may have mentioned when you last spoke. Make that introduction to a colleague that they may find beneficial to their network. Like their LinkedIn posts or share something that may be of interest based on their recent activity. It will be much easier to call on those connections when they’re needed if you’ve maintained a presence in their network.

Brand recognition
Promoting your professional capabilities and those of your employer or business are an important part of building brand recognition.

You can promote yourself and your business through event sponsorship, serving on the board of an organization or actively participating at industry conferences, whether simply by attending or through engagement at breakout sessions, hosting a table/booth, moderating a panel or serving as a panelist.

Consider, for example, this video featuring Bhagesh Malde, head of Global Real Assets. In addition to promoting the SS&C Deliver conference, it increases visibility for Bhagesh and SS&C. Later, Bhagesh moderated a panel at the IMN COO CFO conference in New York and blogged about it here further promoting the SS&C GlobeOp Real Assets management team and their capabilities.

Even if you’re not on stage, a presence at events or within industry organizations is an opportunity to promote your personal and professional brand.

Demonstrate thought leadership
One significant way to advance professional goals is to demonstrate thought leadership. The most straightforward way to demonstrate thought leadership is to solve a challenge for a client, developing your client’s trust and confidence in the process.

However, that doesn’t promote the genius solution you may have implemented, beyond the internal team and respective client. You can also share thought leadership via blogs, whitepapers, commenting on LinkedIn, speaking on a conference panel, or even within a case study for sales pitches. 

Throughout this year, the Real Assets management team published blogs and whitepapers on the changing face of real estate investments and  other real assets, the increased interest in open-ended real asset funds and our proof of concept solution to demonstrate our capabilities and understanding the challenges asset managers face in the dynamic real asset sector.

Finally, you shouldn’t discount the power of sharing your knowledge directly with one person, especially one who has maintained a current network of industry connections. This is where thought leadership and self-promotion meet!

There are myriad other ways to benefit from industry engagement – these are just three examples from our own experience. The important thing is that you determine what you need as part of your professional and business development and work towards maintaining a presence in the industry through active networking, memberships and conferences to fulfill those needs. If you are a manager or mentor, encourage others to do the same and show by example the best ways to network, build brand recognition and demonstrate thought leadership.

To learn more about the real asset services, please visit SS&C Real Asset Services.

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