Holding hands

Social media and networking go hand-in-hand.  For a successful marketing plan both require consistency along with a friendly approach.  Some would say social media marketing is decidedly easier than networking, after all, you can hide behind your keyboard, tapping away without having to engage on a personal level.  Networking involves working out the image you want to portray (what should you wear), selling your business with an inspirational pitch and having to engage with a roomful of strangers.  More time consuming that grabbing a coffee and plonking yourself down in front of your computer for a bit of random posting.

Some folk love networking and take to it like a duck to water but, for others, it is an overwhelming journey but one that starts with the first step.  However much we love social media and the connections we make, ultimately, nothing beats meeting people face-to-face.


First Base

Choosing which networking event to attend is the first step to creating a variety of beneficial business contacts.  Business contacts lead to referrals and you never quite know who you’ll meet and it is often a surprise where your recommendations end up coming from.  Do you only want to meet local connections or does your business cater to a wider audience?  How is the networking event run?  Are you expected to do a short pitch to a roomful of people or will it be speed networking where you move on quickly from person to person.  Do you need help with Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter or any other social media outlet, if so, find an event where you can learn from the guest speaker and network simultaneously.  It may not just be you that benefits from the event, you may meet people that offer a service that can help your family or friends as everyone appreciates personal recommendations.


Second Base

Just like social gatherings you may attend, some people will attract you and some will be attracted by you.  You don’t have to give your business card to everyone ~ not everyone will be interested in your business so pick and choose who you hand your card out to.  Always best to be polite yet move on quickly from a business that you are not interested in but don’t be too hasty ~ it’s good to talk!  Consider taking a work colleague or friend with you, it’s easier for some when they know someone else in the room.  Contact the host of the event, a good leader will always look out for the newcomers and help get them started.  Once you’ve attended your first event, it will be so much easier second time around ~ there are always regular attendees.  Once you’ve made a few connections, you can make a beeline for them at the next event and so it goes on.

Remember, everyone is there for the same reason as you and, if you’re feeling a bit nervous, they probably are too so keep smiling and together you can start to build your dream.


Third Base

Your very first referral!


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