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Its Simple Really – Network or die

It really amazes me how some small business owners believe that having a LinkedIn profile and joining LinkedIn groups, but not participating, equates to networking.

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Does it surprise you that successful business networking takes more effort than having a LinkedIn profile and joining LinkedIn groups? The same goes for any social media profile. You may have a Twitter profile but fail to post, like, share or comment on your followers’ activity.

The following (lack of) actions, fail to deliver the results you’re looking for from business networking:

  1. Joining your local business club/society/association but never going to the meetings or events.
  2. Signing up to online networking websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Ning and not participating or contributing.
  3. Never attending seminars or industry events.
  4. Having a blog for your business but not allowing comments from your readers.
  5. Not submitting articles authored by you or your staff to industry publishers or top online focused sites.

Business owners need to start working on building trust with prospects and customers directly again.

To build trust, you need to prove that you can be trusted.

The easiest way to earn trust is to communicate openly and often with people.

On reflection, before modern technology such as the printing press, radio, TV and Internet people did business face-to-face. The newer forms of technology, i.e., smartphone apps and social media, have allowed us to communicate with many people with minimal effort. However, we may not reach out to the people we need to meet with less in-person time. If you’re nodding your head in affirmation right now, it’s time to work through your reasons for shying away from social tech and just do it. Plus, if 1-on-1 communication is more for you, make sure you attend in-person events. For older generations, face-to-face interactions are the only way to form lasting relationships.

Broadcast technology, whereby the message is sent by one person and reaches many, fails because no one is listening anymore. People have been bludgeoned into defenses against the noise, such as the mute button on the TV, the trash bin for direct mail, and SPAM filters for unwanted email.

People are not listening anymore to the puffed up ramblings of the PR machine which vomits out such delights as “leader in ”, “award winning”, “best in market” etc……… In fact some very high profile bloggers are starting to get very upset with it all.

As a business owner or self-employed freelancer, networking creates opportunities. For example, you may meet someone who can refer a client or needs your service or product. You don’t need to be an extrovert to be good at networking. Social media is a perfect networking strategy for introverts.