As a modern business leader, you know how important it is to make connections. From the very beginning, you’ve always gone to networking events, collecting business cards from every single person you’ve met. Anytime you travel for work, you write emails at the end of the day telling people in your industry what a pleasure it was to meet with them. Whether you run your own business, blogging about products like Juul e-cigarettes, or you’re working in an office in a busy city, you know all about making business connections.

But lately you’ve been thinking of making business connections online, and you’re not entirely sure how. Which is why you’ll want to follow these tips:

1 Make it about them

If you’ve found someone on a website–let’s say LinkedIn, considering that they have more than 467 million users, and they’re a place for making professional connections, after all–then go ahead and reach out. But don’t make it about you. After all, as the Young Entrepreneur Council explains, “Your end game may be all about you, but that isn’t the message your potential contact needs (or wants) to hear. In fact, if it is all about you, you’ll send red flags…Reciprocity is essential to any successful relationship.”

So if you’re a company offering strategies for marketing on Instagram, research their Instagram, and explain how you can help them. Offer real solutions that are thought-out, and explain why they’d be an important client to you. After all, if you think they’re a great connection to make, it’s probably because you were both meant to connect and help each other.

2 Stand out

If you’re reaching out to people and making connections–or contacting other businesses in your industry generally–the first thing they’re going to do is Google your business. Which means that it’s essential to stand out from the rest, with a stunning website, a great LinkedIn profile, and a strong social media presence. 70 percent of people don’t trust poorly designed websites, according to realwire, so if your site doesn’t look great already, consider using a free website designing service like

If you aren’t sure how to make the greatest impression possible on LinkedIn, take a look at this guide–it’s all about optimizing your profile and getting into the right groups.

3 Get connected

Did you know that tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as tweets without? So whether you’re in the cannabis industry, reaching out to potential customers about the cannabis edibles you’re selling, or you’re selling accounting services in your local area, getting connected online is going to make a huge difference. For one thing, it’s going to make you look reputable to any connection you make through that social media platform, whether it’s Facebook or Twitter.

Additionally, it’s a natural way of making connections. By searching for hashtags on Twitter related to what your business does, you can find other like-minded people in the industry tweeting about those very same things. The same goes for Instagram and other social media platforms. And don’t forget to use the search function to find what you’re looking for.

4 Be wise about your words

According to TopMBA, “With online communications, email and especially on social media, it’s easy to forget the formality and care required when you’re making new contacts. Always work on improving your email etiquette and try to separate your personal feelings from professional communications.” Even though we live in a world where we spend 50 minutes a day on Facebook, chatting with friends and getting caught up in the comments section, never forget to be professional when connecting with people online.

Additionally, you’ll want to write your networking email in order to get attention–otherwise, your attempts will go straight into the spam folder. To learn more about writing that perfect email, check out this guide from HubSpot.

5 Use Clearbit Connect

Did you know there’s a way to get almost anyone’s email? It can make all the difference between contacting HR and getting nowhere and finding the exact person you need to talk to. It’s called Clearbit Connect–and, according to Shopify, they offer “a free Gmail extension that will help you search by organization to find the business emails of people you might want to reach out to. You can use it to help you reach writers at a specific publication, marketers who might be willing to partner with you, founders of some companies, and potential mentors you’d like to learn from.”

Most of us talk to strangers only 2 to 3 percent of the time, so it can be a scary move to blindly email a contact, so that means that once you’ve found their email, make sure you do your research. Remember, they’re human too, so write to them that way.

As you can see, making connections online is all about knowing where to find those contacts–and reaching out to them respectfully and knowing how both of you can help each other out.

Have you ever made any business connections online?