Networking can seem like a necessary evil for some of us that hate getting out to meet complete strangers. And I’m sure it can even be even more terrifying for introverts who just don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone. But the truth is, networking is one of the major keys to having a successful career and business so we all have to put on our big girl/boy pants and head out the door….but WAIT. I’ve discovered a few ways to network without even leaving my house or office. These cool networking tools can be very helpful and powerful. Who knows, you may meet your next client, business partner, or even a cool friend if you take action and network with the following tools.
1) Utilize LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an online social network that is all about business. Whether you are looking for a job, wanting to connect with people in your industry, or if you are straight up looking for leads- LinkedIn can be your best friend. I have personally used this site for a few years now and have found it extremely beneficial for connecting with local business owners and other professionals who can directly use my services. The best thing I like about Linkedin is that is strictly business, none of the funny stuff. This is a great platform to tell the world about your work resume and it also allows you to have recommendations from clients listed on there as well. See my LinkedIN profile here and make sure to connect with me. Did I mention using the website is FREE? You can also learn more about how it works HERE.
2) Utilize Social Media -FB, Twitter
Since you already have a captive audience of friends who know you and like you, why not reach out to them and see if they are in need of your services? Better yet, ask them to LIKE your company page so they can keep up with the latest and greatest things you are offering on a regular basis. Funny thing, when I post things about work on my company page, I sometimes get minimal response, but when I post that same thing on my personal page, I get several likes and engaged comments. Just goes to show that people are ok with you posting whatever you want- they are rooting for you and love to see success stories. Also, don’t forget Facebook and Twitter are two-way streets, you have to reciprocate and stay engaged on other people’s pages as well. “LIKE” their company pages and always follow the top leaders in your industry. You must always know what’s happening in the game.
For Twitter, I recommend following as many people and companies as possible. Even better to follow people you can do actual business with. Watch what they are up to and consistently give your comments, retweets and hashtags to let them know you are there and a fan of their work. I have actually done business with people I have met over Facebook and Twitter and have found it to be a useful tool. Back in the day (a couple of years ago) it was improper to direct message people you didn’t know on Facebook or Twitter, now it’s a regular day to day thing and most people will respond to you via the chatting application they have. Just don’t be creepy for Pete’s sake! Check out the HeartFire Media Facebook and Twitter Pages. Just in case you aren’t familiar with social media, we at HeartFire Media can consult you on that and walk you through an effective strategy.
3) Pass out cards to people in your own office building
This will actually make you get out of your chair, but I think you can do that without harm. The office I work at is in a business building with several organizations within it. I grabbed a stack of cards and personally delivered them to each business office in my building. Sometimes I got lucky enough to personally introduce myself to the owners or managers, and often I simply left my card with a note with the receptionist. Simple and easy- just the way I like it. And yes, I got business from doing just that.
4) Send an introductory letter and marketing collateral to potential clients.
To me, this old school approach will never get die and it can give you a leg up against your competitors. Make sure you have nice marketing collateral that is creatively branded and simple for people to remember it. Don’t have any? We can help with that too.
5) Grab the old business cards you already have and (may have never touched).
Reach out to old friends, professors, colleagues and let them know what you are up to and ask how you can be of service. Offer incentives for referrals.
***Business Card Tip- write something you learned about them on the card immediately after you receive it, even something personal to remember the person and where you met them. You will be glad you did this when you find old business cards ( I just recently learned this by the way).
Let’s Get To Networking
As the owner of a media and marketing company in San Antonio, my livelyhood depends on networking. I must always be connecting with professionals from around the city. I personally enjoy connecting people that can do business together and am more than happy to help anyone who asks. I can testify to the wonderful things that can happen when you open yourself up to networking. Not only do business connections get made, you establish long lasting relationships, AND you get to help others grow their businesses as well. No single person can be successful on their own, we need each other, so let’s get to networking!
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Matthew 6:33-“But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”