Networking not working for you?
Effective networking is a dynamic process of building wealth by developing social capital via relevant and responsive networks. Simply put: it’s not what you know, but who you know.
Just imagine building a network that enables you to fill any gap along your journey to success – personally and professionally.
People do business with people they know and trust. Relationships are the core of effective business networking – both online and offline. This means it is critical that you learn how to make meaningful connections with the right people.
Social Media Networking:
In the last few years, we saw everyone jumping aimlessly onto the social media bandwagon. The emerging trend is for savvy business professionals to look more closely at their return on investment (ROI) and how to best maximize social media to promote, support and grow their business – and live their life.
There’s no question that social media networking has enormous potential from global information sharing, and visibility perspective. Those who leverage social media in the right way can make valuable strategic connections, boost visibility and showcase their works to a global audience.
It gives you easier access to experts, new ways of connecting with and building relationships with new and existing clients and colleagues as well as a new channel to creatively market and publicize your company and products.
Social media can quickly become a time drain with little to no results if you aren’t careful. Trying to grow a network through social media, without knowing how or why, isn’t an effective marketing strategy.
Further trend will be towards integrated social networking with an emphasis on relationship building strategies that exemplify critical elements of mutually beneficial business relationship, such as visibility, transparency and credibility.
The Tribal Effect:
Small and big business alike will continue to explore how to leverage belonging to and creating groups, associations, networks (both online and offline) for a number of reasons.
The business community is beginning to recognize the logic behind a one to many approach to marketing versus the tedious one to one methods. A group of like-minded individuals gives you an instant ice-breaker.
You can connect with new people immediately and feel comfortable doing so knowing that you already share a specific interest or focus. And, if you are the creator/influencer, you can leverage the power of word of mouth quickly and easily.
If you are on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, one of the quickest ways to build your connections is by joining or starting groups. Finding the common ground, creating or belonging to a “community” enhances networking by building a bridge between stranger and colleague or friend.
The tribal effect allows you to establish more meaningful connections and build profitable, win-win relationships. Often, connections go beyond the original purpose and the group becomes a platform to reach out to others and increase interaction.
The connections bridge gaps and establish a bond of cooperation and reciprocity. An individual who has been helped by another is more likely to help someone else and the benefit of “belonging” is multiplied over time.
Forming or belonging to groups and networks increases social capital, builds confidence and leads to increased awareness, knowledge and trust. It enables people to connect more deeply, to commit themselves to each other, to feel a greater sense of belonging, and to become partners in mutual success.
For a lot of entrepreneurs, attending traditional networking events is an environment they choose NOT to endure. Visions of the proverbial salesy networker pitching their wares and fear of strangers keep a lot of new entrepreneurs hidden away in the comfort of their home or office.
Face to face networking shouldn’t be ruled out so quickly. Being able to connect in person often trumps online networking and enhances ones ability to make truly meaningful connections. The solution is to be willing to take a fresh new look at face to face opportunities by learning how to leverage social events from a business growth and networking perspective.
People are and will continue to be busy. Non traditional networking events, such as speed networking, continue to increase in popularity because they are an efficient and effective way to increase your database for minimal investment of time and money. The key though is to plan in advance and know what to do in terms of follow up and relationship building strategies or it’s time and money wasted.
Now, think about the visibility and networking potential of attending charity galas, fund-raising dinners, and believe it or not, even regular gatherings at the neighbourhood pub. Coined “The Cheers Effect” because repeat visibility leads to the “everybody knows your name” local celebrity status.
The reality is that when you know how to network effectively you can network anytime, any place. The goal is to be smart about the avenues you select, create a plan and evaluate your results. Networking is one low-cost high return strategy you need to include in your marketing matrix.