By Bob Speyer, Web Success Team
Networking is the lifeblood of new business. Where to go and how to go about it is a question everybody asks and wants the panacea. So we decided to do ask our Linkedin readers to find out what our business readership has experienced as the most effective ways they network. Here are some of those findings:
Social Media Sharing
Social media sites were some of the most popular responses with LinkedIn being the number one business networking sites, followed by Facebook, StumbleUpon, Twitter, SlideShare (where professionals and business upload their PowerPoint presentations and is one of the 1,000 most visited sites on the Internet) and Business Exchange (similar to LinkedIn, where you can share information with other business professionals in a variety of categories and industries and reach decision makers).
Blogging also ranked high in terms of distributing your message and targeting your audience. Writing articles, posting them on your blog and/or submitting them to popular industry blogs, or submitting them through article marketing distribution engines are equally effective online networking strategies.
Close Encounters of the Networking Kind
Pressing hands, while an endangered species in our world of digital relationships, is still one of the best ways to network. Eyeball to eyeball, the old fashioned way. Recently, I met a potential customer on the weekend as he was in Los Angeles for only a few days. It was truly like meeting an old friend. We chatted about business, our lives and what was important to us that day. I left feeling invigorated that I made a real connection and a new client.
As for networking venues, we got a potpourri of answers and tips that included: local Chamber of Commerce breakfasts and events, BNI – Business Network International, PDMA – Product Development and Management Association, The Churchill Club, industry conferences and trade shows, business clubs, local Meet-ups and alumni associations.
Seizing the Initiative
Other Linkedin readers took the initiative to start their own industry business networking groups, either through meet-ups or online Linkedin groups. One reader, for example started a home improvement industry group to get commercial contacts. After a couple of meetings, they had 30+ attendees. Their target by year’s end was 100 members. They also attracted attention from industry associations and larger companies for potential sponsorship.
Perseverance is the key. As they say in show business, “you need to work the room.” You never know where business or a lead may come from. The more you are out and about, actively engaging online and offline, the more you will make networking pay off for you. Networking is about building relationships and trust.
About the Author: Bob Speyer is an online marketer, social media strategist and co-founder of the Web Success Team. Bob develops effective marketing strategies to help companies increase brand awareness and target more customers for their products and services. His articles are intended to educate as well as inform readers of the latest tools and techniques of online marketing. You can follow Bob on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.