Effective business networking is a must for any professional. If you do not network successfully, you are going to miss out on many opportunities. Nowadays, most networking takes place over the Internet, which means we have to adapt our approach to suit this platform. Do you have your networking technique perfected? Don’t worry if not; networking is not rocket science – it is something you can easily improve and get better at. Below, we are going to take a look at three of the best practices for effective business networking.
Never miss an opportunity
Every time you communicate with someone, no matter whether it is via email or social media, you need to see it as an opportunity. Of course, there are times when your efforts will not result in any business. But, there are also going to be moments when you secure new clients, or you make an important business connection. You never know where a new online lead could take you.
Nurture five to ten strategic relationships
Next, you should focus on five to ten relationships to cultivate. This can be done with a mix of both offline and online marketing. It may seem counter-productive to focus on a mere ten relationships when there are another 500+ you could make. But, no one has the time to nurture hundreds of connections, and so it is better to focus on the relationships that matter most at first. When building relationships, the length of time spent is not the most important factor; rather, it is the quality and frequency of the interaction. Make sure you keep in touch with the connection regularly by giving quick updates and forwarding relevant articles and information. If you are concerned about spamming them, all you need to do is ask whether they found the content useful. When it comes to quality, make sure you are clear and concise with your approach. The people you interact with are likely to be busy, so they will appreciate anything that saves them time.
Commit a few hours per week to social networking
Last but not least, you need to make sure you spend a few hours per week, at a minimum, to social networking. This includes responding to invitations to connect, scanning business news, and looking contacts up on social media. You can also contribute actively to your business community with social networking activities, such as sharing relevant industry articles each day. Why not post your own industry blogs and opinion pieces? The potential to create business partnerships and boost your own brand recognition is enormous.
If you follow the three practices mentioned above, you will be well on your way to effective online networking. Remember, it is all about nurturing relationships in the right way, by communicating frequently with quality information. Also, make sure you are active on social media and that you see every piece of communication as an opportunity for your business.