Building Success and Social Capital Using Influence Networks
Both students and professionals as well as organizations can leverage their available influence networks to build success and see positive returns. Networks can help create relationships that lead to communication, negotiation, and collaboration. Such connections include networking opportunities, informational interviews, career change advice, mentorship, and promotions.
Alumni typically have a strong sense of loyalty to their alma mater or previous employers, which 98% of Fortune 500 companies have acknowledged with their own alumni programs. These relationships can be helpful to invest in as they can result in increased revenue, employee attractiveness, and product creativity. College influence networks usually help with fundraising while corporate alumni networks lead to greater labor pools, referrals, business, and mentorship opportunities. In fact, businesses that are able to have actively engaged alumni see a rise in business as well as brand sentiment.
Strong influence networks can benefit those who want to create their own businesses as well. Founders of startups who went to the same alma mater as the investors they approach have a higher chance of getting funding. Founders are also able to get more capital if they went to schools with large influence networks.
Nonetheless, influence networks are meaningless if you are unable to leverage them well. In order to use them properly, you should keep your network updated with life events and give back by sharing your expertise at events. When contacting an alum, it’s important to explain who you are, how you came to know the person’s contact details, and why you would like to meet (such as for an informational interview). Institutions of higher education can better maintain engaged influence networks by highlighting benefits, creating appealing content, and providing opportunities and ways for alumni to stay in touch.
You can build needed social capital and gain professional success if you’re able to use your influence networks wisely while also remembering to be involved and give back
Infographic provided by: AcademicInfluence.com