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Guide

Vital Networking Strategies for Small Business Owners

Learn about Vital Networking Strategies for Small Business Owners. Review the Fresh Insights article for tips.

Making the right connections at the right time is crucial for professional success across the board, but in few areas does it carry the same "make or break" weight that it has for small business owners. Working out strong networking strategies really can mean the difference in the success of your venture.
 

 

 

Take a balanced approach.

As social networking sites become increasingly more popular, many business owners are shifting their focus to online networking. It's important to build a strategy for networking that's well balanced, though. Don't forgo in-person meetings in favor of networking exclusively online, but also make sure that you're not underestimating the power of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Use profiles and postings on those sites to increase your reach online, and encourage people you meet face-to-face to follow you. This expands the scope of your online presence and is an effective way to keep track of your contacts.
 

 

 

 

Understand the power of social media.

Social media networking is easy and low cost, but its value is limited to your understanding of how to utilize it effectively. Well-written profiles that provide consistent branding are the first step, but don't stop there. While there are now many social media platforms, here are three sites to consider:
 
  • LinkedIn. Make connections with your personal network through LinkedIn, then expand your reach by joining groups that are related to your industry. Give out LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements; you'll find the favor returned and your profile growing stronger. Drive thought leadership by sharing content that's important to your followers.
  • Twitter. Follow, retweet and be sure to be tweeting intriguing posts that draw your followers to click on your links and share your tweets with others. Show yourself as the go-to person in your domain. And be sure to listen to your consumers and respond quickly for greatest effectiveness.
  • Facebook. The combination of image-based and written communication have made Facebook the networking king for personal but also commercial interests. Share your blog posts on Facebook to give them a broader reach.

 

 

 

Increase personal contact with your target audience.

One of the things that will set your small business apart is personal service and a sense of familiarity. Rather than striving to collect as many names and numbers as you can manage, look for ways to build those relationships into valuable ones that will continue to generate sales and traffic.
 
  • Community Involvement. Join community groups and serve on the boards of philanthropic organizations. Not only will you be rubbing shoulders with other leaders in the community, but you may find your name listed alongside theirs in news articles that identify community-minded business leaders.
  • Referral Sharing. The personal referral still is one of the strongest leads available. If you want other businesses to refer clients to you, start the process by making referrals to them. You'll find your efforts appreciated and reciprocated.
  • Business Card Basics. The sharing of business cards with new contacts (and even old ones) is such a simple strategy that its significance often is overlooked. With your business card, they have all the information they need to contact you after you part ways. Give out extra cards to your strongest contacts for them to hand out to their clients when making a referral.
  • Become a 'Contact.' Communications today operate off our 'contact' list, one that is usually synced between our smartphone and our computer. Once you have the email or cellphone number of a lead, make sure and send them an email to remind them of your connection and to make it easy for them to add you to their electronic list of contacts.
The final key to turning these networking strategies into business growth is developing a detailed database of your contacts. The more information you record in your contact records, the better you will be at strengthening those relationships. Mentioning details about the interests and connections of individuals when you're reconnecting helps engender a level of trust that goes beyond that of a mere business contact.
 
Reach out in multiple directions and keep those connections fresh by repeated contact.

This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.


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