Stuck in the Middle with You – Social Media – Your New Business Networking

‘Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right’! If you are new to the business networking scene, I am sure you have felt like this. When starting on your maiden voyage as an entrepreneur you are actively encouraged to make new connections with people. The whole idea of making new connections is to open the door of opportunity to developing and expanding your businesses. As an entrepreneur attending networking events is the best possible way to market your business and connect with influential people. However as a fledgling business person, depending on your personality, attending networking events can be intimidating.

Stuck in the Middle with You – Social Media Your New Business Networking

If you are of a shy disposition it’s understandable that you are going to feel out of place. More often than not you are going to be placed in a room with highly successful and confident business people.

Picture the scene – You arrive to your first networking event early. You can get that distinct smell and aroma of a hotel function room. You register your name and business, a feeling of pride flows through you! You grab that cup of coffee and with your chest proudly puffed out, you enter the hall. Then all of a sudden, you are like a rabbit stuck in the headlights! You are shocked to see the sheer number of people, all standing chatting away industriously! Where do you start and how do you get involved. You stand there sipping your coffee and praying someone will strike up a conversation.

All of a sudden you are stuck with two people and you have nothing in common with them. They are only interested in what they can sell you! As you stand there, feeling like an outsider, you realise this is not for me!

Have I ever felt like this? Nope! I love networking and meeting new people, sharing our experiences and making connections to advance our business goals. However I do understand how intimidating it can be to network with people and confidently convey your business message.

In the internet age we have the power to network virtually. We now have the power to break down the boundaries of traditional networking. Social Media for businesses (see Digital Marketing Agency) is the new networking forum and can be a powerful platform to connect with influential people. Social Media enables and empowers us to create conversations and deliver content that attracts potential clients or customers. It’s so flexible, you can even network while in bed!

What Social Media platforms are best suited to networking? The most commonly used platforms for businesses to network are 1) LinkedIn and 2) Twitter. Both Social Media platforms on merit are hugely beneficial for businesses. LinkedIn is designed as a B2B Social Media platform. While Twitter can be utilised by B2B and B2C businesses (see Digital Marketing Agency).

How do I network on Social Media?


Twitter

Twitter is an ideal platform as it allows you to generate conversations in short form (140 characters) and you can target businesses or people to follow. In addition Twitter also enables you to create content that amplifies your marketing message and encourage people to share your content, therefore building brand reach. In terms of networking forums for businesses, adding a hashtag to your tweets makes you visible to other businesses. All networking forums are based around using a hashtags. In some cases you will have a specific time to network using a hashtags. Here is some networking hashtags to keep an eye out for:

  1. #irishbizparty – The most popular networking hashtag in Ireland. With over 300 businesses networking between 9-10pm every Wednesday, it’s a great opportunity to make new connections and build brand visibility.
  2. #bizhour – If you are targeting the UK market this is one of the most popular hashtags. Networking takes place between 2-3pm on weekdays.
  3. #B2Bhour – Probably one of the most popular B2B networking hashtags that is used by UK companies. Irish companies also use this hashtags in particular if you are trying to connect with UK businesses. Networking usually takes weekdays from 3-4pm.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most popular and widely used B2B Social Media platform with over 150,000 million users. One of LinkedIn big advantages is to target specific people within an organisation and connect with them. Once you have built your connections, you can deliver content that demonstrates your expertise within your industry.

Another way of networking on LinkedIn is through joining the ‘Groups’. Joining LinkedIn Groups is a great way to find new business contacts or people from your industry and network with them. It also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and help educate potential clients. Joining in or creating LinkedIn group conversations is an opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader and build your reputation which helps to cement business relationships.

Look for groups that are relevant to you and for industries that you are targeting. Remember this rule of thumb, DO NOT DIRECT SELL!

If you currently are an entrepreneur or starting out in business, networking has changed! I still advocate going to as many offline networking events as possible (even if you are shy)! Keep in mind, as a new business, time is a commodity. To physically be an events can be time consuming and inflexible. Social Media gives us the flexibility to network and make new connections. Most importantly it takes us out of our comfort zone and help us to progress our business goals.


To learn how New World Digital can help you build your brand on social media (see Digital Marketing Agency), SEO (see SEO Company Ireland), or website design, simply Contact Us.

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Stuck in the Middle with You – Social Media – Your New Business Networking
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