No matter what type of business you’re in, connections are always valuable. Although it’s not necessarily “all about who you know,” your business network can be a huge asset when you’re looking for a job, launching a business, in need of referrals, or searching for guidance.
Whether you’re a natural networker or you’re the introverted type, there are plenty of ways to expand your network.
Today, we’ll cover five helpful business networking tips.
1. Connect with People on Social Media
Good news if you do fall into the introvert category – you don’t need to be a social butterfly to network. Technology has made it easy to connect with others from the comfort of your own home.
The best social network for professional connections is LinkedIn, as that’s its purpose. In addition to being able to find individuals to connect with, you’re likely to discover many relevant groups to participate in as well.
That said, people make business connections on just about every network – Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook for example – and you can use whichever ones you like best to expand your network.
The key when you’re connecting on social media is that you don’t just add or follow someone and leave it at that. Take time to message them and comment on their posts and content from time to time, as this provides the foundation for building a real connection.
2. Join Online Groups in Your Industry
There are all kinds of online communities available. If you find one related to your industry, they’re an excellent place to make professional contacts.
Forums and subreddits are two good types of sites to check out for this. When you join one of these sites, make sure you join discussions, provide helpful information and share your expertise. You need to truly become part of the community to make connections.
3. Go to Industry Events
Even though online networking can be effective, the best way to connect with people is typically in person. One option for finding like-minded people is checking out industry events.
Tradeshows and conferences are examples of industry events that provide great networking opportunities. The people you meet at these events tend to be serious about their business.
4. Be More Outgoing in Everyday Situations
Everyone you meet doesn’t necessarily need to be in your industry.
You can still make valuable connections with people who are in an entirely different field.
One simple method for building your network all the time is making an effort to be a bit more outgoing. Strike up a conversation with anyone you can – while you’re out shopping for groceries, on a walk in the park or having a drink at the bar. You never know who you’ll meet.
It’s a good idea to carry business cards around, as well. If you meet anyone who’s interested in what you do, you can exchange cards with them.
5. Create Good Content
Sometimes the best way to expand your network is to have people come to you. The best way to do that, is to put out content that attracts others in your niche or field. Be magnetic, and others will reach out to you.
You can blog, post videos on YouTube, publish content on Instagram. Your call. Do what feels natural to you. The important thing is that you’re starting a conversation that gets others in your industry to perk up and chime in.
Wrapping Up 5 Tips to Expand Your Business Network…
There’s no downside to growing your business network, and it can pay dividends for you in the future. When you use the tips described here, you can steadily expand your network.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Find people to connect with on social media, especially LinkedIn.
- Sign up with online groups related to your business and begin contributing to them.
- Check out events to make in-person connections.
- Start being more outgoing and talking to people you don’t know on a regular basis.
- Create content that attracts others in your industry, and watch them initiate contact