Does the success of your business rely on your own personal brand and the exposure you have in the professional community? Imagine if you could double your online networks in just 3 months – how would this affect your client pulling power?
It sounds simple, but growing your network does take a little time and effort. Here are some things you might wish to invest a little time into:
Get the Year Book out
If you’re not already an active player on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a wealth of opportunity. LinkedIn is the professional playground for those who want to become a key influencer in their field. Because LinkedIn only really took off a couple of years ago, there’s probably many people you’ve met in a professional or social capacity, whom you’ve not yet connected with.
Set aside a whole day to rummage around your mental rolodex of colleagues, friends, university classmates, acquaintances, suppliers, clients and even your extended circle of family and friends. Think even outside the box – people who you’ve spoken with but not done business with. Don’t be afraid to connect with high profile people too, if you’ve dealt with them in some shape or form. You’ll very quickly discover that LinkedIn is a gold mine.
Select three LinkedIn Groups and get active
When you find out where your customers hang out, it’s time to start building a relationship with them. This doesn’t involve direct selling – what I mean, is engaging in topical conversations related to your field, displaying your expertise in a way that adds value to your customers. If your customers aren’t hanging out on LinkedIn, you may want to consider Facebook groups.
Whatever groups are appropriate to your customer base, you’ll be able to understand whether they’re the right groups for you just by listening to the conversations. Observe the conversations that unfold. If you’re not able to engage in the group conversation topics at least once every few days, you’ve joined the wrong group.
Choose two social media channels and do them well
Decide on two social media channels that you enjoy using and that are relevant to your customers. Do these well and forget the rest. Your profile will benefit much more from being highly visible and consistent in two channels, than doing bits and pieces in four. That way, when you connect with new people, they can see you’re active and (hopefully) interesting!
Put on your power suit and say ‘yes’
Your ‘power suit’ doesn’t necessarily have to be the traditional one. By power suit, I’m referring to the ideal version of you, you wish to present to the outside world. Don’t turn up to networking events with lack-lustre attire or personality. Turn up with purpose, with business cards in hand and with reams of enthusiasm. Be that person in the room who people want to talk to.
If you’re serious about expanding your networks, physical events are a great way to develop relationships that go beyond likes and tweets.
Research the events in your area that are relevant and go to as many as you can. Some you’ll perhaps only go to once and some will become your regular platform for meeting new people. As you start out, try and say ‘yes’ to as many as you can. One useful contact could open up a whole world of opportunity
Create the Habit
Each time you meet someone new –it doesn’t have to be a potential client, connect with them on all your social media outlets the day you meet them. Don’t leave it pass a few days and eventually get around to it. By that time, you may well be a distant memory of theirs. Your new contact might only be a new colleague, your new hairdresser, a friend of a friend you met briefly, but there are two important things to remember here. Firstly, they know a lot of people you don’t know. Secondly, this habit is a good one to have, because you will grow your network with what seems like minimal effort.