By: Meredith Elliott Powell
Blog Series: Post 2 of 2
The first post in this series focused on the need to integrate your traditional and social networking strategies—it takes both approaches to meeting, connecting, and building relationships with clients. You and your firm need to make as big an impression online as you do in person, and your clients and prospects need to be networking with you using both platforms and mediums. Why?
- Decreased Effort—Increased Results: Think about how much time it takes to network in person. You have to leave the office, drive to the event, attend the event, drive back to your office, and once again get back into your routine. While there is nothing more powerful than being able to connect with someone in person, being able to supplement your in-person networking with some online conversation more than doubles your networking efforts, without doubling the time invested. Every morning, first thing, I grab a cup of coffee, and before most people have even rolled over in their beds, I have reached out on LinkedIn and connected with three people. All in a matter of minutes, all without much effort at all. Doing so is not only easy, it keeps me in touch with so many more people, and when I do see them in person it is easy to pick-up or continue the conversation.
- Visibility without Annoyance: One of the goals of networking is to connect with and meet people who will eventually become our clients. However, that takes time—rarely, if ever, do you attend a networking event and someone you meet says, “Yes, I would love to move all of my business to your firm.” So, in order to make networking “work”, we have to stay visible, in touch, and build a relationship with our client. Online networking gives us a great opportunity to do that, and do it without being annoying. While networking in person is powerful, if you showed up every week asking someone to have coffee with you or to have lunch, well, quite frankly, they might come to see you as a pest. But by combining your in-person networking with some online opportunities (commenting on LinkedIn profiles, posting on Facebook, or sharing a new blog) you are able to more clearly define your brand and stay visible without being annoying.
- The Excuse You Need: One of my favorite parts of using this dual networking strategy is the information it gives me. Keeping up with your contacts on any social networking site gives you so much information about what they are up to and the changes in both their lives and their companies. All of which translates into reasons to contact them. I just booked a keynote presentation for a large financial conference because I saw my contact was celebrating 10 years with his firm. When I reached out to congratulate him, I suggested we get together, grab coffee, and catch up. One thing led to another, and once again the combination of networking in person and online easily led to more business for both of us.
Yes, to succeed in today’s economy you need to view networking as a key strategic initiative, and you need to expand your networking efforts to use both traditional and online. In my next article, we will discuss the strategies you need to fully integrate social and traditional networking strategies to ensure you make 2015 the year you become a master networker!
She is a riveting speaker, workshop leader, and the author of several books, including her latest, Winning in the Trust & Value Economy: a professionals guide to business and sales success. For more information about how to grow your firm, and develop your team, connect with Meridith on her website and blog, www.meridithelliottpowell.com.