Okay. You’ve got your best suit or dress on, a handful of business cards in your pocket, and you’ve just flossed your teeth. You don’t feel good, but you’ve got the best perma-smile on that you can muster. You are going to go to the party, only have one glass of wine, and shake as many hands as you can. If people start asking questions, you’ll just tell them to send you a message, and you can meet up for lunch.
If this sounds familiar, then you’re probably an independent business person. There’s really nothing wrong with this scenario. You know the job: networking. You are going to some get-together, meeting as many people as you can, and trying to drum up as much business as possible. It’s part of the job and something you have to do to stay in the game, right? Right.
But let’s face it…this all sounds a bit contrived. You often don’t have the energy to do this, feel like a goofy hustler doing the job, and often these activities come to nothing. Networking is a type of job that is described as a necessary evil by some. But you do have to do it, and sometimes it can be fun.
In this day and age it can be both fun and easy. You don’t have to put on such a show to do serious networking if you are an online business pro. In fact, you can use some much easier methods—you can start using social media.
Social media, aside from its abilities to get in touch with old friends from the past, can work wonders for networking in online business. It has the ability to reach a lot of people, help you pick up new clients, and create a great buzz about your work all through computer-screen forums. You can often do this sort of networking yourself and not worry about your personal appearance one bit.
When trying to do networking on social media, you simply have to go about it like you would any other social media-related business operation. You should set up a page on popular social media sites, using them as a forum to promote your business. If you want to contribute your site to an online social media magazine, that’s good too. But once you’ve done all that, you have to do a bit more. You have to really push your social media pages out there. Have connections or know other businesses/partners on the same social media platform? Great; add them as friends. Have a social media marketing plan where you want to launch a new product or service? Excellent; get it out there and invite people to join up with it, perhaps even offering them a discount if they do. Have social media blog space? Even better; let your connections know about it along with your clients, and get them to contribute messages to it. It sounds simple enough, but it takes some elbow grease and prompt action.
The beauty of social media networking is that it’s free, it’s easy, and people usually love to participate. Participation means involvement from clients and partners. Involvement means potential business opportunities. It’s an interesting chain of success.
There might come a moment when you realize that you are actually a better person-to-person networker than you are a social media networker. This is a good realization, but it might put you in a bad position if you’ve already started using social media for networking purposes. If this happens, don’t worry. There are many social media experts out there that can help. Social media experts are bit like etiquette coaches and can work on your language or social media marketing plan for networking purposes. They can help represent you on social media sites for some serious networking success. You might have to dole out a bit of coin for them, but it can be worth it in the end.
Keep your suit, learn to talk, and attend the parties if you can. But in the meantime, check out the possibilities of social media networking. There are a lot of opportunities to build up new contacts and in turn, new opportunities—and you can leave the pretenses at home.
Numero Uno Web Solutions is a search engine optimization company in Toronto for startup and small companies from all industries and fields. To get more help on all your SEO, web site design, and web traffic needs, e-mail Numero Uno Web Solutions Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org.