If you are like me and love meeting people then you will love networking, right? Wrong, the amount of business owners I meet who say “I hate networking I never know what to say” or “how do you do it?” the answer is simple you have to meet new people and businesses if not yours will die, simple as that!
I suppose in a way Social Media has and will continue to fill that void for the people who can’t or don’t like to get out and meet people in person can now forge strong links online. We have all done it after joining #twitter, #facebook or #linkedin we have met new people or people we haven’t seen or heard of for a long time, I love Facebook and LinkedIn for this.
So think of social networking, marketing or whatever else its being called these days as ‘creating a buzz’ this buzz is about your business or more importantly YOU, at least to begin with. When you connect with someone you are effectively talking about you and your business and what’s happening in your life.
Now the great thing for me and where social media is king, is when someone connected to you talks to another business about a particular service or product that they are looking for that you supply, you have a really good chance of being mentioned in that conversation, or if you are marketing yourself right you should be, let’s face it they are not going to recommend someone they don’t know. It’s a bit like cold calling, essentially you are calling someone you don’t know in the hope that they will work with you…come on, think about how receptive you are too cold callers…yeah it doesn’t work does it?
Think about it this way, the more people you know the more chance you have of being recommended for that job right? Well I always preach quality not quantity for followers as I would much rather have a thousand followers that create a ‘buzz’ about me and my company than a million who just follow in the hope we will follow back.
So think about social networking as just that, creating a buzz about your business, but be warned, no hard sell or pitching or you won’t last long…but that’s for another post.
Let us know how you created a ‘buzz’ about your business?
I wrote a post a while ago asking if Cumbrian businesses were getting it right when using social networking / marketing tools? So I thought “let’s open it out to the wider world”. Has this process help you win any new business or anything you could say that all your efforts are worth it?
From my own point of view I love these new tools and will continue to use them at every opportunity but here’s a short list what I found works for me and my company:
I only use the tools when I have the time or something worthwhile to say.
I don’t let it interfere with the day to day running of the business like I did in the early days.
I listen a lot more, that might be because of the above?
I am careful who I connect with, I want quality not quantity.
I nurture all connections not just a few who I think will bring in work.
A short list I know but when you really think about who you connect with regularly and why then it all becomes clear why you are using these tools in the first place.
I have been spending a bit of time on Facebook recently to find out more about how it can impact not only on the business but on me personally, the results were interesting, but that’s for another post!
Anyway let me know what you think and how being part of the ‘community’ has changed you and your business?
How many of you our there keep any sort of record about the people you meet in a business situation and what do you do with that information?
If you do how do you do it, and if you don’t…why not?
Its the best way to make new contacts and keep in touch with what is going on. I personally use Salesforce, its the free personal version, yeah some of the bells and whistles aren’t there but hey its does for what I want it to do. The best thing it does is keep everything all in once place so I can change details at the drop of a hat. Now you would be forgiven for thinking “big deal” but look at it this way you attend networking events, you attend seminars you even meet people in the street and do you keep a record of who they are and what you might be able to help them with?
Business cards are a great source of information and most people don’t even look at them regularly never mind act on them. Categorise them into hot, warm and cold leads and work to make the warm ones hot and the cold ones warm, move them up the list. If you keep a contacts list make sure it’s up to date and being used.
Let me know what you use and how it works for you?