3 Tips to Network Your Way to More Business
Effective networking can make or break any business. In today’s highly competitive, digitalized marketplace, “networking with purpose” has become more important than ever before. From traditional approaches to networking online, these three tips will help your organization build strategic relationships that can lead to business success and keep you one step ahead of the competition.
1) Join your local chamber of commerce or business association – While it may seem a bit old school, joining your local chamber of commerce or business association still has tremendous value. Doing so can improve your credibility as a business, enhance customer perception and awareness, and create extensive networking opportunities for your organization.
With a goal to stimulate business throughout the community, chambers aim to connect local organizations through hosting events and offering professional leadership development. These opportunities will allow your business to build relationships with reputable organizations and expand your list of business contacts. Beyond this, chamber events and programs will directly help you to expand your prospect base and ultimately, acquire new customers.
2) Utilize social media – In today’s digital world, traditional networking is no longer enough to sustain your visibility in the market. Therefore, you have no excuse not to exploit all of the free media options that you have at your fingertips.
With proper management, social media can be a cost effective way to generate leads and grow your suspect and/or prospect base. Make sure that your business takes the actions necessary to design and implement an effective social media strategy. Set up profiles on popular social media sites such as, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook in order to connect with business partners, organizations within your industry, existing customers and potential prospects. Make sure you connect online to all the people you meet through your chamber of commerce to build your online network quickly.
Bonus Tip: With approximately 240 million users, LinkedIn provides businesses with the capability to build and maintain a strong professional network. If you haven’t already, take the time to create a company page on LinkedIn. Maximize your profile by adding a header image, a detailed description of your business and sections that describe your products and/or services. Frequently post and share relevant company and industry information, and effectively utilize the site’s built-in tools to ask your connections to recommend your company’s products and services.
3) Get involved – Outside joining your local chamber, don’t be afraid to get involved in your community. Participate in and sponsor community events, serve on boards and committees of associations that you are a member of and form partnerships with local organizations. Actively seek out businesses that share a similar mission and beliefs and connect with them via LinkedIn. Your community involvement will increase brand awareness, cultivate a positive perception for your brand and encourage members of the community to associate themselves with your organization.
Networking is an important tool for building your business, but remember that it does take work. You need to implement a strategy that encompasses a variety of communication methods. Be open to networking with businesses that come from a variety of industries and take the time to build and foster strong relationships. By utilizing traditional networking methods, implementing and managing a social media strategy, and getting involved in your local community, you will be on the fast track to networking your way to more business.
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About DJ Muller
DJ is President of WebLink International, a position he has held since the company's incorporation in 1996. DJ also served as CEO from 1996 to 2011. DJ conceived and developed the company's first product, Chamber WebLink, which was the first web based product designed specifically for chambers of commerce and associations. Under DJ's direction and…