I love networking, it provides me with the perfect opportunity to meet potential clients. It allows me to add value and to promote what I do in a really personal and friendly way. But there’s a way to boost the effectiveness of my networking – and that’s to complement it with social media.
To hear the best networking tips, grab a cuppa and take 5 minutes out of your day to read this blog. You’ll be glad you did!
Tricia Peters from Cheshire Business Events joined me on my Monday lunchtime livestream and here’s what she had to say.
A little bit about Tricia
Tricia has been running her own event and networking business for 10 years and is passionate about bringing people together from a range of sectors including charities. And it’s not just about linking people up, it’s about business owners helping and supporting other business owners.
In a nutshell, ‘Meeting the right people, grows your business.’ What a great way to sum up networking! Tricia also says that she feels tremendous satisfaction when she sees people from her events do business with each other – she clearly loves what she does and is amazing at it too.
How to network better: Staying in contact with your new connections
It’s vital that you don’t lose the momentum after you’ve attended a network event. Social media is a wonderful tool that enables business owners to do that and to strengthen the relationship.
New to networking?
The key to successful networking is to find the right ones for you. To do this, it’s best to take a look at what networking groups are out there and give them a go. And different networking groups have different pay structures; for some you pay to become a member, for others, you pay as you go.
Tricia does not ask the people who network at her events to pay a membership. Instead, she attracts sponsors – this is such as huge benefit to the people who attend as it keeps the costs down and they only pay for the events they want to attend. Tricia invites speakers along to provide insightful advice and to add a spot of entertainment too – some of the speakers I’ve heard at Tricia’s events are really very amusing and a joy to listen to.
New to networking?
Tricia says to head to social media and take a look to see where your potential customers are hanging out. Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to find out this type of useful information.
Another one of Tricia top social media networking tips is to post a question on your social media pages. Simply ask the question, “what networking groups do you recommend near me?” People love to offer their opinion and give their contacts a shout-out.
I love seeing questions on social media posts – it’s such a clever and easy way to engage and give those Algorithm Robots what they love. Your posts which attract a lot of attention will be rewarded with a great reach, so you’ll be raising awareness of your profile too.
Once you’ve attended a networking event, make sure to be proactive and connect with them on social media.
And when you’re in a room with others, use the handy app on LinkedIn to Identify those who you want to build a relationship with and send them a quick connection request.
But don’t just leave it there. Interact with their posts, send them a message saying how good it was to meet them, or even ask if they fancy meeting up for a coffee to chat more. The actual networking event isn’t about getting immediate business or sales, it’s the first step to nurture a mutually beneficial working relationship. It’s never just about the people in the room either – when you make a good impression your new connections are likely to recommend you to their wider network.
“People buy from people they know and trust.”
It’s good practice to do the following so you don’t forget who is who:
- Use the delegate list and send them a LinkedIn request.
- Or, if the network is online, take a screen shot so you capture all the names. Then, do the same as above and connect with them.
- Watch out for their posts and when relevant add value in the comments to showcase your expertise. Or, you can simply say that you like the post to keep on their radar.
- Remember to consistently check in with them, even if this is just with a blue thumbs up
What platforms are the best when you’re new to networking and running a business?
Let’s face it, there’s a lot to think about when you start your business. Social media is a must – but which ones should you head to first?
First of all, don’t think for one moment that you need to be on them all. Start with just a couple and make sure these are the ones where your potential customers are likely to be.
Tricia is a big fan of LinkedIn and wholeheartedly recommends this platform for business owners. But, you’ll also find Facebook and Twitter to be popular too as your customers will be wanting to showcase their products and services to their ideal customers.
Think about using your experience of networking in a social media post.
Whether you are an attendee or running your own networking event, it’s a great idea to write a post about it. What tips did you learn from the guest speaker? Who did you enjoy meeting? What was your take-away piece of advice? Would you recommend it to others? The amount of content you can create just from one event is huge – plus tagging people in will help with your post’s reach and keep you in the forefront of people’s minds.
If someone tags you into a post like this, make the most of it. Don’t just like it. Comment on it and share it.
A great way to share your success and to give a shout out is to post about work you have done with another business owner and tell the story of how you met at a networking event to encourage others to do the same.
Tricia even played matchmaker and has brought two people together who got married! Just from placing them on the same table – what a great story.
Tricia’s case study: Networking and social media is the winning combination.
“Seven years ago, I didn’t arrange a networking event for the month of January – I felt it was just too close to Christmas, plus it’s a busy month for my sponsors.
“Instead, I headed to LinkedIn that January and checked out my connections who were local to me in Warrington but hadn’t necessarily been to any of my events. I contacted them and asked if they’d like to meet up for a coffee. I loved hearing about what they do, and I told them of my other connections who they should definitely look at. This investment paid off and the people I met that month have remained loyal to my networking events and come regularly. Without LinkedIn I would not have been able to identify them as being local.
“Putting time aside to work on these relationships is so worth it – it builds trust and it’s fun! Just be careful not to max out on the caffeine!”
Top 4 tips for using social media to boost the effectiveness of networking.
- Connect on LinkedIn with the people you meet at networking events, even if you’ve spoken to them or not.
- Follow up on Facebook and Twitter and check out future network events.
- Head to the website ‘Find Networking Events’ to see what’s coming up.
- Interact on social media with those who you have met to stay in touch! The more they see you, the more trust you will build.
Connect with Tricia
We’ve explored ways that you can translate the information in your blogs into social media posts, but this works both ways. Have a look at the comments you are receiving from your social media posts. What are your followers asking for? What is it they love the most? Use these indicators when you’re developing your content strategy.
What’s coming up: Instagram workshop (for even more Instagram tips 2021!)
My Instagram online workshop starts on 25th May. Over four days (just an hour every day plus a spot of homework!) you’ll learn everything you need to know to grow your Instagram following, how to create a keyword and hashtag strategy, what content to use, how to optimise your settings, how to search for influencers, all Instagram tips for beginners, which tools you should be using and so much more! Everything you need to know to set your Instagram account up for business success.
For more details, here’s the link: Instagram Workshop For Businesses
Bye for now,