There are lot of negative connotations with social networking – and most of these couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead of empowering staff to become part of their brand, many business owners try to stop their staff being on social networks during the day.
Before encouraging you to allow your staff to proactively engage with social networking sites I thought I would share with you some of the benefits of networking online. Whilst not a replacement for face to face networking, it does have its benefits.
Online Networking is not just Facebook, and it is not a one size fits all solution. Online networking can cover sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. It may also include interesting blogs other web forums where you can engage in conversation with other like minded business owners.
Online networking can provide you with the following benefits:
Knowledge growth – Education does not need to occur in a formal setting. By participating in online discussions and reading relevant blog posts you can learn tips, tricks and tools that can and will help your business.
Help people and build your credibility – Online networking is a great way to visibly and quickly help people. As prospects see you being helpful they will learn to trust you quite quickly and value your feedback and advice on your area of business. Online networking can be a great way to quickly position yourself as an expert in your industry.
Build friendships – Whilst no replacement for face to face interaction, it is possible to create friendships online. People like to business with people that they like and online networking is a great way to create friendships but also blossom friendships that may have started offline.
Easy market research – Social Networking sites are a great avenue for market research. For example, Twitter has a great search functionality so you can find out what people are talking about in your area. You can also participate in Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, directly asking potential prospects questions.
Low cost – Online networking is low cost. In many cases it will only cost you your time. You don’t need to spend money attending events. You just need to put aside an hour or two every day or Second day to participate in conversations and participate in networking (I personally recommend spending some time every day in case you miss out on some potential leads that may be of value.)
Business growth – At the end of the day, we are all in business to make money and grow our businesses. Online networking is a great way to leverage business growth as you can more easily reach a wider audience than you may be able to otherwise reach if your time was dedicated to offline marketing activities.
Online networking can help your business. I hope that some of the points mentioned above have opened your eyes to the opportunities available to you as a business owner.
If you would like to discuss implementing an online networking strategy for you and your business don’t hesitate to get in touch today.