What is networking?
Networking can be a mixture of different ways to increase your contacts, from using social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, or face to face networking at business events or breakfasts. By connecting to other people, and building on the relationship, you are gaining a contact who will represent you and your business to their own colleagues, friends and contacts.
By building on your networking relationship you gradually gain trust with other business owners, and also increase their awareness of your products and services. As the trust increases they will be comfortable in recommending your product and services not only to their friends and family, but also their own clients. This will eventually increase your customers and income.
How do I find a networking event?
Keep an eye in your local paper for local events, plus also on twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Events are often published online, and by searching on Google for “network events” and your local area you should find many events covering most times of the day. Usually events are:
- Breakfast Networking Events
- Networking Lunches
- Networking Dinner and Seminars
Many networking events may have a speaker, where you will have a great chance to learn and understand extra business tips and ideas.
How to increase your network with social media?
As you meet people at events you will often exchange business cards. When you return to your office get into the habit of adding their details to your list of contacts, then invite them to connect on LinkedIn. If they have Twitter, then follow them, and with time they should follow you back.
Networking doesn’t work!
I have heard this many times from people who have attended one or two events. Networking has to be viewed as a long term marketing method. It may take a few months for the relationship to build, and a few more for the opportunities to present themselves. Keep attending events, and the referrals will soon start flowing. Stop attending and you will quickly be forgotten, and someone else will be receiving the referral.
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