In the crowded sea of young professionals clamoring to stand out through online networking, distinguishing yourself can be a grossly underestimated challenge. With unprecedented rates of globalization and digitization, you don’t only have to worry about competition from the people in your own surroundings, but rather talented entrepreneurs the world over. Networking has been the name of the game for decades, and while traditional networking tips from the elevator pitch to cold calls are still just as quintessential, online networking has brought in a whole new range of rules and regulations that all entrepreneurs would do good to understand and implement.

In the spirit of augmenting the impact your digital presence has on your career, find below our 3 underrated secrets for navigating online networking.

1) Find the Gatekeeper

Young entrepreneur networking with PR manager of company
Young entrepreneur networking with PR manager of company

If you’ve ever tried to connect directly with an influencer or the CEO of a large company, you’ll have quickly seen how monumentally that strategy fails. They don’t have the time to entertain every random email or direct message they get, and you’re most likely to end up in their spam folder. So as Aaron Orendorff at the Business Insider puts it, you must: “Find the person behind that person.” You must try to form a steady connection with their administrative assistant, department heads, or even associates in their marketing team. Employees without lofty titles are the ones who usually regulate which messages reach the boss and which don’t, which are prioritized and which aren’t. So if you’re consistent and relevant enough, these undervalued connections are sure to help you reach the inbox of the right person at some point.

2) Wait for the Perfect Moment

Young entrepreneur networking online and sending email on smartphone
Young entrepreneur networking online and sending email on smartphone

Conventional networking tips would recommend that you build a connection with someone over a long and consistent period of time, and this is important in digital networking too. You should keep adding value to their work online by engaging with the content they create on websites like Linkedin or send in emails giving positive feedback on their most recent products etc. Establishing yourself in the background of their social media presence is important, but timing the big ask for the perfect moment is even more important. Suppose you’re looking to collaborate with them on a project or want to feature or interview them in a piece you write, you must wait until they have a big new release coming up. They’re most likely to be receptive to working with you when they expect to get something significant in return such as free publicity for their newest product line etc.

3) Keep it Clear and Concise

Young entrepreneur networking online while sending email on laptop
Young entrepreneur networking online while sending email on laptop

In the absence of in-person conversations, you might have the urge to make up for it by being verbose and chatty. But, digital networking necessitates conciseness and clarity. There is way too much content out there on every social media platform inundating executives in addition to their own business-related correspondence. So, if you opt to beat around the bush and wait until the end of an email or message to come to the point, you are most definitely going to end up in the spam folder. Make sure your messages are always short and relevant; digital communication is not meant to completely replace meaningful in-person exchanges, rather just initiate or supplement them.

Building a prominent professional profile online, posting diverse content and regular updates, and engaging with the posts of those in your network and those who you wish to be in your network are all but given. These first few incremental steps are what will ensure that you get your foot in the door, but after that, using our tips will help you reach the right contacts and the right job. Like everything else in your life, online networking requires decisive practice, consistency, and just a little bit of luck. With sufficient effort, even you can master it.

Have any more online networking tips for young entrepreneurs? Let us know down in the comments.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.