3 Powerful Networking Strategies that Never Fail
Build relationships, seek the unknown and help people.
As an entrepreneur, you already know where your bread is buttered. It's the customer, the follower and the community. Without these people, your business cannot thrive, much less survive, in the online jungle of success.
In order to communicate your expertise effectively to the people who will become your potential audience, you must fertilize the field by allowing them to get to know you. This is done through a series of networking strategies, which can benefit your business and allow it to reach its full potential.
Networking is something every entrepreneur should practice. It should come second nature to you daily and, in order to make a habit out of something, studies have shown you must do something for 66 days before it takes hold. Let's take a look at the top three networking strategies you should add to your wheelhouse.
1. Focus on relationship building.
There are people with whom you will want to connect your business with, and you can only do this by establishing relationships with them. As the digital age progresses, we preach relationship-building techniques more and more, however, we tend to have micro-conversations within our social media communities only to walk away without benefiting from them.
I'm sure you have heard of creating social media personas for your business. These are the people you will target with your message and your strategy. However, have you heard of relationship-marketing personas? It's basically the same thing, but these are people you feel have the most connection and promise with your brand.
Create your list, and begin searching for personas who fit the bill to begin your relationship-building process. It's not the small conversations that will make a friend and colleague for life. It's a mixture of many things which will connect you to these people.
Relationship-building should be the most natural thing you do as an entrepreneur. Be yourself and the right people will be attracted to your personality and the message of your business. One entrepreneur asked me if she should only focus on building relationships with people in her niche. Honestly, I think that idea is ridiculous. Be friendly and helpful to everyone and anyone who crosses your path.
2. Branch into the unknown.
While most social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook only encourage you to network with people with whom you have already met, John White disagrees. White is the social media director at beBee, a trending platform based on affinity networking which has more than 10 million users. beBee is a personal branding platform designed to find content based on the relevancy to the user -- not just what their friends are posting.
"If you network with the same people over and over again, you can expect to get the same results in your career," White said. "Affinity networking helps you make the connections to take new steps in your career by networking with those that share your professional and personal interests."
This is why branching your business into an unknown pool of people is never a bad bet. While your recent social networks are only connecting you with "safe" places and people you already have a connection with, it's important to know there are others out there who can use your point of view and expertise.
Try visiting pages in your social network you haven't been to in a while. For some, LinkedIn Groups is an unknown area. For others, it may be a Google+ community. Either way, the idea is the same. When you lodge yourself into these places, you are pushing a new opportunity for connection and networking for your business. Your perfect customer or audience member could be residing in a place very close to where you network anyway. You just have to find them.
3. Ask "How can I help?"
All of the best networkers are social butterflies. People love them, not because of their expertise, but because of the way they make their approach. Just like the butterfly, they land softly on their destination -- not like the elephant, who stomps mud holes wherever he goes.
A soft touch is needed to connect to new people around you. One of the ways to create a soft landing is to offer your services as a solution to a problem they might have. You can learn what their problems are by using social listening tools and tweaking it to your expertise. Either way, when the notification is given and you have donned your superhero outfit, take flight to their problem and offer them a solution.
Softly is the key here. If you barge in with the answer, like the elephant, you may cause more harm to your brand than good. Begin the conversation by understanding why they have the problem in the first place, and work your way to the solution. People will organically gravitate towards someone who is always willing to be open and help with their problems, and it will always make a great ice breaker with someone you're trying to connect with.
Should you be up to habitualize the lost art of networking for your business, you must understand these three networking strategies to always be effective. The most important thing while performing all of these strategies is to remember these are real people you are involving yourself with.
However, if you can adopt these strategies, you will find more people will gravitate toward your message and the positive way you engage with them.
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