Business Networking: Evolving Beyond Traditional Tactics
by gardenpatch Insights on May 9, 2023 2:08:16 PM
Looking for more ways to network with your peers in 2023? You've got a lot of options. There are several places that you can go to network with other people. This could range from where you live to where you work. A survey done with online professionals shows that 61% think online networking is a great way to grow their careers.
As of late, more and more business owners are starting to pay attention to the benefits of effective business networking. You will find that some business people may try to get you into their business networking events for their benefit. So, it's up to you to measure the value you can take away from the experience. Therefore, you must know the right times to discuss your products and services. Many new entrepreneurs are making dozens of new relationships through various kinds of meetings, conferences, seminars, and trade shows, to name a few.
And during the COVID-19 lockdowns, many of these business connections were made through online social networks. So, that means that the pandemic does not have to put a damper on your efforts to build a successful business network.
The good news is that 2021 will be a banner year for networking. At a minimum, expect to see more traditional business awards ceremonies like the Credit Suisse 10-K and the Forbes 30-Second Business Network move to social networks. This is a move towards further promoting the latest breakthroughs in technology, data, and business models.
Networking is an important part of an effective business marketing strategy. It helps you to get products and services to your audience faster. Plus, it reduces the chances of getting burned by a competitor. And when it comes to customer loyalty and nurturing professional associations, effective networking provides a sense of community. And that's vital for running a successful business.
So, how can you improve your existing online business networking strategy in a way that leads to more leads, more clients, more business contacts, and better earnings?
How To Approach Business Networking In 2023
Any network of people or companies (including small business networking groups) working towards a common goal can benefit from networking. Many large and small business owners create a list of professional contacts. They find that keeping in touch with like-minded people who could help their business or become mentors helps propel their business's growth. Companies collect the contact information on the signup form when registering for a webinar or conference.
Networking can take many forms. Back in the day, business professionals had a different approach to networking. They used to look forward to going out on a Thursday or Friday night to meet with their networking groups. You would get coffee or drink with people from other companies or potential clients. Sitting at a café with fresh coffee and other young professionals was appealing then. You could easily make a connection by doing something as simple as trading business cards.
But during the pandemic, we lived in a world of face masks, sanitization stations, and social distancing. This physically stopped business owners from renting out a convention center and offering free food as an incentive to make new contacts.
Today, however, we are back outside, but many professionals have found benefits to making virtual connections and networking online. In the post-pandemic world, business and networking have adopted a hybrid approach.
Here are some tips for networking in 2023:
Maintain a professional environment
For the most part, and especially if you are still working remotely, your business meetings happen at home. Well, at least for the past year and a half or so. With the help of services like Zoom and SlideShare, all you need is an internet connection and your computer. And to be honest, you can even hop on to a Zoom call using your mobile device. And for some, this kind of blurs the professional lines a bit.
Some companies do have a more casual and relaxed work culture. But you must still represent your company well in these virtual meeting places. For example, if your company's culture is to wear professional attire for business meetings, that's exactly how you should appear once you join the video conference.
Additionally, the professional environment should be maintained if you are moderating or managing the business's social media profile. So, it is more than just creating a profile to have a presence on different social media platforms. Your online presence should be customer-centric. This means that if someone reaches out to your social media page for sales support, they should feel just as valued as when they call your company's phone number directly. This way, your customers feel valued, and you can build trust with them.
Practice Active Listening
Getting distracted from the task is much easier at home with the family. The kids might be distracting because you don't want to miss those precious moments. But you must be ready to listen a lot more than you talk.
Practicing active listening is an effective way to facilitate good online social networking. And while you are putting your best foot forward, you also need a good network around you. So, it pays to invest in getting your business associates on a level that they can help to build the network. There is a whole host of courses available online that can help to build your business network. If your teammates underperform, then that affects the business. So, as a leader, you should always look out for your team's professional success.
You can get the chance to share ideas with others, and it's also a great opportunity to hear other people's ideas. When you think of many of these online forums and virtual conferences, it is a place for people to exchange business ideas. Many businesses use these mediums to find out how they feel about a specific product or service from their customers. Many businesses ask their users to fill out a form to collect feedback after attending a networking event.
How To Engage With Other Businesses In 2023
Let us say, for example, that you are a local business owner or even a new business. There are several ways you can network with other businesses in 2023. At the end of each month, look at all the great new projects, products, or services offered by other members of your network. It can be easy to miss great opportunities. But if you are on top of your game, you can stay motivated and learn from the best in your field.
There is a lot of useful information that can benefit your business. You need to be plugged into the popular social networks in your field. Social media can be an excellent source of information about trends and new products. A LinkedIn group can serve as a meeting place for business professionals. And at the same time, it can also be a place to network with people who may be interested in your profession or industry.
You can create an email list or even your network here. Another great idea is using Facebook to create networking groups for your business. It's important to remember that LinkedIn is a business-oriented network. So the topics discussed on it are geared toward the needs of businesses. You can also find different social media groups geared towards professional development.
To be honest, LinkedIn is currently in the process of changing the social networking game forever. It's added millions of members and changed how people think about co-working spaces. Many online business professionals find LinkedIn a great place to get business referrals.
According to Scott Felker, CEO of Felker Strategic Consulting, you are much better off using LinkedIn as a networking tool. A LinkedIn account puts you in the best position to contact the right people rather than emailing companies about opportunities.
And even in this time of virtual meetings and workspaces, it's still vital that you have a good handle on your word-of-mouth advertising. Over 90% of consumers still heavily rely on advice from family and friends when choosing which businesses to support. So, while optimizing your articles and blogs, you still need to win over your audience with some brand loyalty. This is how they will start to refer your business to others. And that's the foundation of influencer marketing. It all boils down to getting someone trusted by a large online community to deliver your marketing message.
And it doesn't even have to be a professional influencer. Word-of-mouth is still highly valued as the first referral business model. So, for many online businesses, this is just a happy customer sharing their experience with the organization. You can see how this will attract new people to your business, resulting in well-deserved business growth. Word of mouth is a proven business referral system. And when you have a good relationship with your customers, this can continue throughout the life of your business.
A Closer Look At Inbound Marketing And Networking
Inbound marketing attracts and engages potential customers through valuable content and personalized experiences. On the other hand, networking involves building relationships and connections with individuals who can contribute to your professional growth and business success. When these two approaches are combined effectively, they can amplify each other's impact and significantly benefit companies.
One of the fundamental principles of inbound marketing is creating valuable content that resonates with your target audience. This content can take various forms, including blog articles, videos, social media posts, and downloadable resources. By producing high-quality content that addresses your potential customer's pain points and interests, you can attract them to your brand and establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry.
Networking plays a crucial role in the dissemination and amplification of this content. You can expand your reach and connect with a broader audience by engaging with industry professionals, influencers, and thought leaders. Networking events, conferences, and online communities provide excellent opportunities to showcase your content and exchange ideas with like-minded individuals. By forging meaningful connections and leveraging these relationships, you can increase the visibility of your content and attract more prospects to your business.
Furthermore, networking can provide valuable insights and feedback to inform your inbound marketing strategies. You can better understand their needs, preferences, and pain points by engaging in conversations with industry peers and potential customers. This knowledge can then be used to create more targeted and effective content that resonates with your audience. Additionally, networking can uncover collaboration opportunities, such as guest blogging or co-marketing initiatives, which can help expand your reach and enhance your inbound marketing efforts.
Inbound marketing and networking also go hand in hand regarding lead generation and nurturing. Networking allows you to establish personal connections with potential customers, building trust and credibility. By providing valuable insights and demonstrating your expertise, you can attract qualified leads genuinely interested in your products or services. These leads can be nurtured through personalized email campaigns, targeted content, and ongoing engagement. The relationships established through networking can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your lead nurturing efforts, as prospects are more likely to engage with and convert into customers when they have a personal connection with your brand.
You need to have a promotion mindset to start seeing business networking benefits. There are a lot of ways that you can benefit from fostering strong business relationships. First, nurture personal relationships with your prospects and build industry associations. Earning the trust of your target will solve a lot of the marketing challenges that new businesses face. And that's true whether you're talking about an angel investor or a customer. And when you add the online networking element to your marketing mix, you open yourself up to even more business opportunities.
The best part is that you can join most social networking platforms at no additional cost to your business. Since the dawn of digital marketing, we have made much progress with what we can achieve remotely. Social networking platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Zoom make it much easier to form personal connections virtually. So don't hesitate to use this resource to connect with industry leaders and start networking. Whether you're part of a small business network or a larger group of enterprises, the goal should be facilitating each other's business growth.
If you need help with business networking in 2023, contact gardenpatch today!