Nearly every day, on websites as varied as LinkedIn and Psychology Today, I see emphasis on the importance of building your networking strategies in order to further career and business opportunities. There is a significant level of truth in the old adage that: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. People I’ve known in my life have gotten opportunities based on pure nepotism, beating out other completely qualified individuals just because they had an “in” with the company.
But, is that necessarily a bad thing? Our Florida advertising agency doesn’t think so!
It’s true that some people are just better at networking than others. Smart, savvy, charismatic people will generally have more opportunities than intelligent introverts, primarily because of their inherent abilities to connect with others.
However, networking can be daunting, time consuming and difficult. It’s hard to know whether the person you shake hands with at a cocktail party could be the person to eventually contract your company for a multi-million dollar development project. While it may seem impossible, it’s exactly what happened to startups like Instagram and OMG Pop (creators of the mobile game Draw Something!).
So, maybe you’re trying everything – emails to school alumni, networking events and LinkedIn introductions – but nothing’s working. What are some new ways to network? Well, the following includes a list of a few nifty networking ideas, gathered from some of the savviest people I know:
Host an Influencer Party:
Influencers are hugely important to the marketing ecosystem. Influencers can act as advocates for your business or brand, and being associated with an influencer (or, even better, a group of influencers) can help build your business and connect you with the big leagues.
Many influencers do not know one another, and hosting a party to bring influencers together can be a great way to gain traction with people who matter most. Furthermore, if you run a medium or large business, you can use social media listening techniques to discover who the biggest advocates are for your brand, and you can invite them to exclusive events to help unveil new products and services.
Create (and Maintain) Dialogue Online:
One of the perils of living in a connected world is that sometimes, we can’t keep up with everything. Therefore, it can be tempting for a person to fail to respond to tweets and Facebook status updates on a personal account. But emphasizing this as part of your networking and growth strategy will ultimately help grow your business. Even though the person at the other side of the screen may be a person you’ve only met a few times, a semi-public exchange of ideas can help reinforce your public image in that person’s mind, as well as in the minds of common connections. The magic of these social networking sites is that anyone you choose can listen to your conversation and add input as they please. Responding to these people to keep the dialogue growing is an essential networking skill.
Focus on the Connections You Already Have:
Invest some time and energy into maintaining the connections you already have rather than seeking new ones. By remembering to follow up, scheduling coffee dates with interesting people, and showing interest in others’ projects, you are helping solidify your personal connections.
These connections can then help reinforce your network with several strong ties, instead of many weak ones. Then, when possible, try to bring these networks together, facilitating introductions and helping others in need. You’ll be surprised how quickly people will be willing to reciprocate your efforts.
At our Orlando marketing agency, we believe networking is one of the best ways to help grow your business. Building a strong network takes more than a few emails and business cards… it requires permanent commitment and dedication. Contact us to discuss additional opportunities to generate buzz for your brand via capitalizing on your trusted connections!