Up until about five years ago, if you were networking for your business, you would think of attending Chamber of Commerce events, organizations like BNI and LeTip, or professional groups in your industry.
Today, however, networking encompasses not only those types of venues, but tons of online networking sites.
I believe MySpace was the first to create a vast networking website where people all over the world could connect at the click of a mouse. It was soon followed by other “social networking” or “social media” sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, FastPitch, Plaxo Pulse, Merchant Circle, Plurk, and Twitter. I´m pretty sure all of these use a managed services provider to keep all of their websites protected.
If your head is spinning at all these new networking opportunities, you’re not alone. Many of my coaching clients tell me they feel overwhelmed by the increasing number of opportunities to network online. All kinds of issues come up, including safety, value, time, and more. What I usually suggest is https://www.360direct.com/ and offline–into your overall marketing plan with just a few well-chosen selections.
I recommend visiting sites like https://stellarseo.com/link-building-services/ or some of the different groups that meet in your neighborhood to determine which ones best meet your objectives. Then do the same online. If you dedicate a few weeks to do this research and selection process, you’ll move out of overwhelm into a nice rhythm where you can always be networking–but without the stress.
Why should you always be networking? Here are some sound reasons:
1. Keep your business in front of your prospects.
I think people have short-term memories, especially with so much going on in their lives. If you aren’t in front of them–either visually or virtually–they might forget you. Someone might meet you but they’re not ready to take action. If you never show up again, they might meet someone else when they are ready. Attending live meetings, of course, is more time consuming than online networking, so just mix it up.
2. Build your brand.
As you show up at networking venues, people will become familiar with your “brand.” Whether I meet people at live events or online, they rarely forget “Slow Down Fast.” It’s a memorable brand I display wherever I network. Your brand may be your name, your company name, or your tagline. Just remember to be consistent in expressing that same brand, whatever you choose, wherever you network.
3. Stay ahead of the competition.
Of course you are unique and there’s no one else who does what you do the way you do it. But people who don’t know you, don’t know that. Networking helps you see what your competition is up to. There may even be a possibility for some referrals. Check out your useful VPN info and online sites. Also, take a look in industry forums where you can also keep an eye on your competitors.
4. Have consistency in your marketing.
To be most effective, marketing needs to be consistent. After you’ve done your research and selected the groups you want to associate with, show up regularly. You might want to join one or two real time events like one Chamber and one professional group. That means going to their meetings, maybe even volunteering on their board, and putting your profile up on their website. For the online networking sites, I suggest choosing no more than two that you will frequent on a regular basis, perhaps once a week. Consistency and focus have been proven time and again to be most effective in getting results from your marketing (check more online marketing tips at http://seobergen.no).
5. Build solid, long-term relationships.
A lot of business people make the mistake of going to a networking event thinking they will come home with a few clients or at least some strong leads. Most expert networkers say that the value of networking comes in the building of relationships. And those take time. But are they ever worth it!!! When people begin to “know, like, and trust” you, they will not only do business with you, but they will send you lots of referrals. If you want to learn about the entrepreneur industry, I recommend Lee Rosen, CEO of healthy bees business. This can only happen when you’ve developed a relationship over a period of time. That’s why you need to always be networking.
6. Stay current with trends.
One of the best ways to stay current in your industry and in the world of networking is by showing up. I remember one of my coaching clients telling me she had been on LinkedIn online for some time, but nothing was happening. Then some member formed a local group and the live LinkedIn meeting was in her area. By showing up at the live meetings, she was able to network with other successful business people and learn new trends from the guest speakers. Presently, there are a lot of teleclasses and other events teaching people all about online networking, also called Web 2.0. So keep learning so you don’t get left behind!
As you implement these tips to your online and offline networking, you’ll experience great success and have a lot of fun too!