Are you networking? If not, you’re missing out on one of the best marketing strategies happening RIGHT NOW. Selling is out. Relationships are in. Networking isn’t easy, mainly because it’s time-consuming, but it’s one of the most valuable things you can do for your business. Building relationships with other entrepreneurs, within your industry and without, creates a wide network of people whom you can learn from and who will keep you in mind when your ideal client comes along.
There are ENDLESS ways to network, especially since it’s so easy to connect on the internet. Here are a few ideas for how to network like a BOSS LADY and start building relationships that will benefit your business.
Good ol’ fashioned in-person networking. For me, this is my mastermind group and getting to know people through their web of contacts. Joining local networking organizations and attending their events are also great ways of meeting other business connections. Unfortunately, most of the groups in my area function like the catty, grown-up version of high school, but I’ve heard good things from other people who love their networking groups. They’re worth investigating.
On Social Media
Social media is one of those places where the importance of relationships is more prominent. It’s called SOCIAL media – so get social! No one likes being sold to on social media, and it isn’t the place for cold pitches.
Join Facebook groups, Twitter chats, and follow relevant hashtags. Reach out to people and get to know them and what they do. Find people with a similar vibe who can become your business besties. This post is one of the best I’ve read on building relationships using social media, and it gives you 21 actionable steps to make it happen.
My formula for connecting with individuals on social media (I could write a whole post on this, but here’s the short version) is this:
- Connect organically – through a comment on a post, a shared tweet, or a liked Instagram photo.
- Send them a direct message. In your message, introduce yourself, tell them you want to network and get to know other entrepreneurs, and that you’d like to learn more about what they do.
- Carry on the conversation from there! If you can, try to connect over Skype and get to know each other face-to-face.
- Stay in touch. Don’t message and run. Follow-up. Ask how their business is going. Find out if they’re achieving their goals and what you can do to help. Like any relationship, a business connection requires work from both participants.
If you’re a blogger or your business has a blog, use it as a way to connect with people. At the end of your posts, encourage people to reach out to you. Ask questions. Offer help.
Take the time to comment on other blogs in your niche and also on your ideal clients’ blogs. Be sincere and leave meaningful comments that will get responses and, hopefully, inspire them to visit your blog or website as well.
Don’t be afraid to collaborate with bloggers! Guest post for each other or host an event together, like a challenge or webinar, and promote through your blogs. Even sharing each others posts can help build a strong relationship that is mutually beneficial. Always find ways for both of you to get something out of teaming up for a project.
Virtual Coffee (or Tea)
Meeting up over Skype or Zoom for virtual coffee or tea is my new favorite way to connect with other entrepreneurs. It allows you to meet face-to-face and get to know a person’s character and personality through their voice, facial expressions, and body language. It can take many emails or messages for me to get a feel for someone, but I know almost immediately if we’re going to click or not when we meet for virtual coffee.
What should you talk about during virtual coffee? I like to get to know about a person’s business, but also what they do in their freetime, what their life is like, and what goals they are working toward. The most important thing is: NO SELLING DURING VIRTUAL COFFEE! It’s an instant turn-off. If they want what you’re selling, they’ll ask.
If you love the idea, don’t hesitate to connect with me over coffee!
Finally, a few DOs and DON’Ts.
Do be yourself.
Do ask what projects they’re working on.
Do ask about their ideal client or niche.
Do ask how you can help with their goals.
Do share your website and ask to see theirs.
Do follow them on social media.
Do stay in touch.
Don’t shamelessly promote yourself.
Don’t make it all about you or talk only about your projects.
Don’t forget to follow-up.
How are you networking like a boss lady? Share an experience you’ve had connecting with someone recently! I’d love to hear from you.