Let’s start networking and making connections

By using sites such as LinkedIn, you can network effectively and make use of other people’s connections that you may want to do business with.

Networking in your pyjamas

If I said to you that there was a networking event taking place nearby and some of the greatest businesspeople you would like to know will be attending, would you make the effort to get to the event? Of course you would, but that is going on all the time on social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Couple that with the ease of Twitter, and you have a recipe for nurturing relationships with people you may not ordinarily come into contact with.

There would not be many people who would read the Yellow Pages or another business directory with a view to calling and meeting new business connections, so apart from regular networking events and business appointments, how else can you grow your business network? Face-to-face networking options such as your local Chamber of Commerce and other business networks will never die – they are undoubtedly the best way to meet other business connections – but online networking can and will simply run alongside as an alternative and extra way to meet people, and it will give you the variety you may be lacking. You are not constrained by a venue or time; you can take part at any time of the day that suits you or your business.

Benefits of networking online

The benefits of networking online include the following:

  • You can do it 24/7, 365 days a year, at a time to suit you or your business needs.
  • It’s not location specific.
  • It’s a less pressured environment.
  • You can do it in your pyjamas.

Create a listening post

Social media can also be used as a simple listening post, enabling you to hear what is being said about a multitude of things, whether it is your brand, your own name or even your competitors. There are tools to enable this to happen easily, so you don’t need to regularly search through Google to hear what others may be saying about you.

Listening online gives you the following benefits:

  • You can respond to bloggers who have mentioned your brand of your name.
  • You can promote positive mentions.
  • You can deal with any negative mentions.
  • You can monitor your competition.

Tools for listening include:

  • Tweetdeck – a dashboard tool to make Twitter easier to use
  • Google alerts – set up an alter for a given keyword to your inbox
  • Twitter search – search Twitter for keywords; no account needed
  • Radion6 (not free) – a corporate tool for listening on the web.

Ref: Marketing with Social Media: 10 Easy Steps to Success for Business, Lina Coles (2015)

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