It’s a dusty collection of business cards you have over there, isn’t it? You met what’s-his-name at the who’s-he-what for that startup thingy you can’t remember… right?
LinkedIn exists to help people find jobs, but it also survives as a networking tool to help people meet and remain in contact with potential business associates. Your network is who you know, but those people might be connected to the businesses and business owners you WISH you knew. LinkedIn can help you reach out to the people who can truly make a difference.
For example, a designer friend of a friend at our Orlando marketing agency wanted to sell his products online at a particular website, which he thought was a good match. He reached out to a sales planner at said website through the mutual friend, and less than a month later, the site was carrying his products. If that designer were to successfully do this with ten retailers, his business could grow tenfold.
Many people think networking is about passing out business cards and being able to drop some fancy jargon and a bit of understanding about the state of the industry. If only it were that easy! Real business thrives on relationships and opportunities. And, friends-of-friends can be easy starting points to expand your inner circle.
Ask Yourself Some Bottom-Line Questions: Who are the people who you think may be able to help you? How do you think these contacts might be able to help you? What’s in it for them? Addressing these primary questions will help you formulate a pitch. If you’re blindly messaging your contacts and trying to get in touch with theirs, then it will come off as insincere, and may even hurt your chances of growing your business.
Create a Strategy: Once you’ve figured out the answers to the questions above, formulate a strategy for reaching out to the most valuable contacts with the least amount of time and effort. Remember, if you run a small social media start-up, the CEO of a major brand may not be the best person to help your business. Perhaps you have a connection in common with the company’s Director of Marketing, who holds the power to make decisions pertaining to new social media tools and applications.
Join a Group (or Ten): Joining a group will put you in contact with like-minded people in your line of business. But joining a group itself isn’t enough – it’s important to actively engage with other group members, who may provide valuable leads and information pertaining to your field. Try trade associations, alumni groups, and of course, groups containing current or potential customers.
Dedicate Time to Your Network: It’s easy to set up a LinkedIn profile, and then to let it get lost in the shuffle of all the other important things you need to do in order to maintain your business on a day-to-day basis. Instead, actively seek out people in your line of work and dedicate a few minutes each day to following up with them. Schedule time on your calendar each day to dedicate to this task, rather than waiting until you have a pocket of time to focus on your network (which may be never).
Follow these tips, and our Florida advertising agency assures that you’ll see results. While you’re at it – check us out on LinkedIn! LinkedIn may be the missing link your company needs to help grow to its fullest potential.Back to Thinking