Network Your Online Business

 

As we have been discussing in these lessons, networking is an important part of any business. You need to network if you want to grow. Just because you run your business strictly online doesn’t mean you have to miss out on local networking events because they can be very beneficial.

Many online business owners avoid local networking because they feel like it won’t work for them or they’re unsure how to get started. When in fact it can help you make more strategic connections in your community. It can also be a very enriching experience because it puts you in touch with people who understand what it’s like to run a business.

The best way to start is to go out into your community and meet people and other business owners, whether they are like yours or not. Contact your local chamber of commerce, often they’ll have a calendar of local events you can check into.

– Go to fundraisers

Remember, this isn’t the place to be selling your business, but you can definitely meet potential connections this way. Even just going out to the golf course or taking a crafting class is a great way to network and meet people with similar interests to you. It doesn’t have to be a business relationship when you network with people. Anyone who is going to spread the word about your business is part of your network.

– Check out your current contacts

You might already have people you can network with locally that will help you grow your business. They might already have a network that could be beneficial to growing your business too.

Here are a few more benefits for you to consider:

When you network locally, you’ll have more opportunities to explain what your business does, and you can specifically tailor your message to the people you’re speaking to. You’ll also enjoy immediate feedback on your ideas.

– It’s more personal

Face-to-face meetings are always going to be more personal and give you a better opportunity to show who you really are. It’s hard to see someone’s personality when you can’t actually see them or hear them. If you want your personality to shine, then you need to network locally.

You can learn so much about a person just by seeing their mannerisms. In person you can read body language, hear tone of voice, see facial expressions and pick up on feelings.

If all your meetings are done online through email or on social media, then you won’t get that direct feedback that you do when you’re face to face. Yes, Skype and video chats are effective but it’s still difficult to read the other person’s body language when you aren’t in the same room. This makes it very easy to misinterpret their intent.

– Stronger relationships

It’s always much harder to build a strong relationship with someone you’ve never met in person. There needs to be a human connection. It just builds a stronger bond. You can think a person is great when you meet them online, but to actually see them in action and be a part of their energy is a whole other story.

– Maintain relationships

Once you have taken the time to add a great contact to your network don’t lose track of them. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 5 to10 strategic relationships that you’re always nurturing. Make sure you interact with them regularly and that you’re bringing value to the relationship. A beneficial connection is one that serves both parties involved, so you’ll want to take time every so often to re-evaluate your network, your needs, and perhaps even the needs of the people you’ve formed a connection with.

If you find that someone isn’t bringing value or just isn’t a good fit for your business, then it might be time to shift your focus more towards contacts that will help your network grow. You don’t want to burn bridges in the process, but always be mindful of your objectives. Remember the goal is to build strategic relationships that will help your business grow.

 

Networking Your Online Business

 

If you are running your business online, then it only makes sense to build your network through social media. These days it’s a must, if you hope to get noticed by your peers and customers. However, to achieve the best results it’s important to approach it properly. Take time to understand all the benefits of each different social network and focus on the ones that are the best match for your business.

– Who’s Your Audience?

The first place to start is by finding out which network your audience uses the most. Do they like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn? Maybe they are more into YouTube, Pinterest or Snapchat. Think about the leaders in your industry. Check out their social profiles. Once you know where they are you can begin connecting with them.

Start by getting involved in groups that include people you’d like to build relationships with. For professional networking, the best places to participate in groups are on LinkedIn and Facebook.

If they like Twitter, then join some Twitter chats. These are generally at a set time and during the chat, you’ll use a hashtag that identifies the chat and shows your participating in the conversation.

There are several ways you can find twitter chats. Using sites like TweetReports or Twubs can make the job a little easier. You can also host a twitter chat, where you set up the time and hashtag, and invite others to join in.

Tip: you can register your hashtag on Twubs to get more participants.

If you’d like to know more about Twitter chats here is a post from Hootsuite that can help: https://blog.hootsuite.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-twitter-chats

As you participate in groups and chats keep note of the people you might like to connect with one-on-one. then follow or friend them, so you can connect with them and begin developing a working relationship.

– Participate frequently

You’ll want to post and comment on a regular basis. It’s a good idea to include a set time in your schedule for social networking. For example, you may want to spend an hour in the morning posting or commenting or maybe split that up into shorter blocks of time throughout the day. It may take some time to find the perfect schedule for your business, but once you do it will become a part of your daily routine.

– Offer value

To get the best results always offer something of value to your network as opposed to always asking for something. Don’t join in just to sell. Always keep in mind that the whole point of networking on social media is to be social. This means you must interact and engage with your connections. Don’t start by asking them to do or buy something, instead see what you can do for them, be helpful and informative.

– Track your progress

Know what kind of posts are getting the most interaction and what time you’re posting them. This will help you connect better with your audience by knowing what they like to see and when they’re most likely to see it.

Social networking can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It offers fast and affordable ways to build relationships with people in your industry, just remember it’s a two-way street. The goal is to create a highly interactive community that can help you grow your business, so be sure to give if you hope to receive.

 

 

Networking Your Online Business

 

As a business owner, you probably feel like there’s always more you could be doing to grow your business. One of the best ways to do that is by networking. Unfortunately, many people think that it’s out dated and only works for those that run a more traditional brick and mortar business. They are under the impression that it won’t work as well for a virtual business owner, when in fact it can be extremely effective.

The good news is the Internet has changed the rules in terms of networking because it opens new opportunities much faster than the more traditional methods that we’re familiar with.

Networking is a very powerful tool that can help you become more knowledgeable, find new clients, and spread the word about your business. It’s all about forming relationships where you can share ideas and build beneficial business connections. The good news is that now going from one local event to another isn’t the only way to make new contacts. It’s easier than ever before to connect with people in your industry locally and even globally.

Not sure if networking is right for your business here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t ignore it even if you hate the idea of it.

– More business opportunities

This is the most obvious reason why people network in their business. When you get other business leads through networking, you can be fairly confident that they’re going to be high quality and can quickly turned into clients. It can open all kinds if new opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Like, partnerships, joint ventures, speaking engagements, increased sales, and more.

– More contacts

As I’m sure you’ve heard before “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” especially when it comes to business. When you connect with other people, you open yourself and your business up to so many beneficial resources. Not only do you get the person or company you network with, but you also get access to all of the people that they have in their network.

Having multiple groups of people, you can call on if needed, is important when it comes to building a strong business.

– Mentoring

This is a great chance for you to get to know people who have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they’re more than willing to share with you. You can learn so much from your network if you take advantage of it.

Positive effect

When you’re growing your business it’s important to surround yourself with positive people and having a network of like-minded, supportive, and positive people in your corner is an invaluable resource.

Networking isn’t always easy for everyone. There are people who naturally good at talking with others and find it quite easy to talk about what they have to offer. Then there are those that are terrified of the idea and would prefer to avoid it altogether.

If you happen to be in the latter keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a horrible experience. When you prepare for it and go into it with a purpose, you’ll find that it will make an enormous difference in the success of your business.