Many of us have heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. While some may argue the validity of that statement, it’s no secret that networking plays a large role in various industries. You’ve learned networking as an individual, but how do you transfer that to your business?
A major component of growing your business is social media. Make your presence known! Effectively use Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to promote your business to audience members. But don’t just stop at posting. Take it another step further and engage with your followers. Respond to comments, throw some likes here and there, and repost relatable content. Make your audience members feel seen. A little engagement can go a long way.
Stay in the game by attending conferences and industry events. Although at this very moment in quarantine, it may not be possible to attend in-person events, there are plenty of opportunities to meet people virtually! Come with questions and have an idea of who you would like to speak with once you’re there. That means, do your research! Growing your business through networking will pay off if you put in the work. Not only will you meet other industry professionals at these events, you can also expand your knowledge and gain new skills. In addition to learning hard skills from experienced industry professionals, this is a chance for you to work on your public speaking and networking skills as well. Going up and striking conversation with strangers can seem intimidating, but just as anything else with practice you will improve. So, don’t be afraid to sign up for various events and get you and your company’s name out there!
Look for ways to give back locally. This could be hosting educational events on your industry, volunteering, hosting podcasts, sponsoring events, and more. Giving back is not only a way to get your company’s name out there on another level, but you can also create a sense of purpose beyond just making money for your business. By giving back, you are opening your pool of professionals to even greater margins. Use this as another opportunity to gain traction to your business, learn what customers want, and share your experiences and knowledge with others.
Overall, the most important thing about networking is to follow up! It’s great to meet new people with the purpose of expanding your business, but it means nothing if you don’t reach out. And reach out for purposes other than when you need something. Even if it’s just a quick line once a month on LinkedIn to say hello. Networking is all about building long term relationships and looking at the bigger picture. You never know where these relationships may go!