Networking events deliver value through idea sharing, communication techniques, relationship building and promoting goodwill in the perspective community. Over the years I have learned a few things from these events that I apply to Social Media/Web 2.0 Networking.
Like elbow to elbow networking here are 6 ways to put Social Media to work for you!
HAVE A STRATEGY
You choose networking events wisely and should pick your Social Media communities the same way. Tools will change. There was a time when we all used Netscape, AOL, Yahoo and Myspace. If you concentrate on tools, you’ll constantly be changing strategy. What’s your point? Know what your target audience is looking for and how that applies to you or your business.
WHAT IS YOUR PITCH?
Forget the elevator pitch or 60 second commercial…how can you communicate what you do in 140 characters or less! This is your personal headline. Come up with something that captures the essence of who you are or what you/your company are all about-your mission statement. Try to include keywords that are strategic to the market you are trying to grow you/your brand too.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?
Strategy is different from goals! Put Social Media goals in writing - written goals equal success! When I go to a Networking event I try to get a designated amount of business cards or talk to group leaders. Like the statement, “We have got to get on Twitter, Facebook and Blog,” just going to an event is like going out on a Tuesday night. Define what you want to accomplish. In other words, what is your purpose? Define your goals and you manage your own expectations!
Let people get to know you first. When you hide your Social Media accounts people who might potentially follow you won’t know what you are about. If they can’t see your content how will they know if they want to follow you? Networking is about being social. You don’t have to be personal to be personable. I like to control how much of my personal life I put out there but it’s hard to hold back sometimes when you are having a bad day. I just try to share and learn from other people after all you have to give it away to keep it.
TELLINGS NOT SELLING
When you first meet someone take the opportunity to get to know them. Don't try to sell them stuff. Build a relationship first. Social Media is attraction marketing and best achieved by letting people get to know you or what you are doing. Let them see how your service or product will benefit them the way it benefited you or your other clients.
At the very least you should do what you say you will do. Deliver information to anyone you promised to contact. Make the calls, send the emails and forward along any material in a timely fashion. This is extremely important. If you don’t think you will follow through on a promise, don’t make one. Not keeping promises will have a negative impact on your personal and professional reputation. Create a simple process for following up with networking contacts.