Tweak Your Biz » Marketing » Don’t Like Networking Meetings? Network Online Instead. Part One

Don’t Like Networking Meetings? Network Online Instead. Part One



If, like me, you are not one for going to Networking meetings then Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect to network online. It’s like constant networking every time you tweet or post a status update. They have certainly worked for me although it does take commitment and patience to build your network.

It doesn’t happen overnight but hopefully these tips will get you started or suggest ideas you hadn’t thought of doing yet. It’s such a vast and probably never ending subject that I’ve had to split the post into two parts, first giving tips on how to Network on Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter

Of course the best networking tip on Twitter is to chat to people. If you don’t speak, i.e. tweet, then it’s like going to a networking meeting and sitting in the corner not saying anything. It won’t get you very far. Check out the people you normally chat with on Twitter as their followers or followees may have the same interests.

Remember you have to follow them both to see conversations between them however if you just check their profile you will see all tweets, whether you are following them or not, so you may find some interesting and join in. Be careful you aren’t being rude and gate-crashing a chat though.

Retweet

If you see something interesting on Twitter then Retweet it so your followers can be enlightened too.  Whether it’s useful tips, a cute picture, a link to an interesting article, or a funny video; it’s good to share and your followers will appreciate this. The person who originally tweeted it will be thankful to you too as it’s getting them seen by new people who may become followers.

It’s like a big networking party where you’ve just been told something by one person that you then tell other people because it’s useful. They then want to know the original person who said it and networks grow from that.

If you are generous with Retweets it may well be reciprocated when you have something interesting to say therefore expanding your network too. And don’t forget to say thank you when Retweeted – politeness goes a huge way on Social Media.

Answer Questions

If you have an area of expertise then search on Twitter using hashtags for that subject. This is made simpler if you use applications like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite as it will add a column that is easily viewable and updated real time. I also create columns for things I’m interested in like mentions of Bloggertone plus a column for my own website.

I can see if people tweet it then I can say thanks as often they are strangers and I’m tweeting new people and possible new networks. Check the hashtag search results to see if people are asking questions that maybe you have the answer to.  Remember you may not be following everyone in that column so it’s a great way of tweeting new contacts and therefore networking with them.

Even if you see people asking a question in your normal timeline then answer it if you can. It’s good to help people and they will hopefully recommend you in future. For example I have helped some people previously on Twitter questions and they have told other people to ask me as I’ll probably be able to help, therefore increasing my network. And obviously vice versa, if someone is able to help you then you can recommend them in future; building networks again.

Sometimes I think of it like that Automobile Association advert saying “Can you fix it? No, but I know a man that can.” Network online by recommending and helping people and it will come back to you too.

Facebook

As a business you will mostly be using your Facebook business page to network amongst the people who like your page. Of course using your personal profile is like networking amongst your friends although there will be others that have “friended” you that you don’t know. As on Twitter if you see questions you can answer then do, make yourself useful to people and maybe your “friends”, whether real or not, could be recommending you.

Start discussions

Point people to your business page whenever possible so they can see more about your company and what services you can provide. Put a status update on your page to get people chatting which is really just networking online as each time a person comments they are being seen by other people in that conversation or who are looking at the page so there’s the possibility they will get “friends” or “likes” from it. You are creating your own network group therefore.

The more interaction you can get on your page the better as it will be seen in more Home pages, thereby creating more chats so it’s a win win for your own networking too.

Be your Business Page

Of course the best way to get people seeing your page rather than your personal profile is to be on Facebook as your business page.This is done simply by clicking on the link “Use Facebook as…” on the top right of your screen on your page. Now every time you chat on other peoples pages you will be chatting as your business and not your name. This is great for people to check and see your business page.

Remember it’s much simpler for someone to quickly “like” your page rather than try to become “friends” which you would have to accept too. Chat as your business on other people’s pages, you do have to like the pages too, but be careful you aren’t being spammy and just posting updates for the sake of it. Again, like Twitter, join in conversations and seek out like-minded people or businesses.

Events Online

Arrange an event on your Facebook page like a Q&A session. Social Media Ireland are great at doing these with guest “speakers”. This is the equivalent to a huge networking event that can include people from all over asking questions and receiving the answers via your page. There’s no need to leave your sofa so it can be accessed simply and all join in hence seeing new profiles and businesses on Facebook.

If you are going to do this then make sure you know your subject inside out as you’ll be answering all types of questions on it plus publicise it well online across all your Social Media sites in advance.  Post it as an Event on Facebook and invite all your “friends” and “likes” to it. The more the merrier as you’re not limited by the size of a room.

The above suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg that is Social Media networking. As the title suggests, Social Media is about being sociable so, as you would if you were in a Networking group face to face with people, ensure you chat, help people, recommend solutions and be friendly.

This can be hard work for some and time consuming but if you are able to do some of the above then it will start working for you and may not seem so much like work. Please check back next month for Part Two of this post.

I hope I’ve helped somewhat and any other suggestions are, as always, welcome.



The Author:

Sian Phillips is the Managing Editor of TweakYourBiz.com and a Moderator on Bizsugar.com. Sian is also the accountant for her clients Henparty.ie, (Dragons Den winner 2009), Clearwave.ie and Comserv.ie. With over 20 years’ worth of experience in business and accounting Sian provides help to the SME sector. The other half of Sian’s day is spent workIing in the Social Media space; writing blog posts and conducting interviews for TweakYourBiz.com, plus writing for clients globally about Social Business and Accounting. She is a qualified Accountant with an Honours Diploma in Journalism too. http://www.tweakyourbiz.com

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    I think using your page rather than your profile to network on Facebook can make a lot of sense for some businesses, Thanks for sharing, Sian.u00a0

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie Sian Phillips

    Thanks Niall. Yes that was a good idea from Facebook – hopefully it will also make more people use business pages than personal profile for their business too.

  • http://www.smallbusinessdog.com Dan

    These are great tips to get someone started on social media marketing. Another suggestion is to be mindful of what you write when answering quesitons. Many people forget that social media marketing is still a professional aspect of your business and become too casual with grammar and punctuation mistakes. Save that for your personal page.

  • http://www.sianphillips.ie Sian Phillips

    Good point Dan. Must admit that I’m normally a stickler for grammar and punctuation but sometimes goes out of the window to fit into 140 characters

  • Aislinghurley

    Really informative post. u00a0Thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Elaine, great post! I’ve fund that teaching people improvisation has worked to help overcome people’s fears of presenting. I’ve also taken away their props such as powerpoint. People who fear public speaking, usually fear feeling or doing something silly in front of others. The trick I find is to get them more comfortable with doing just that. My experience is that once they do silly things in front of others, it becomes much less of an issue and the fear starts to go. 

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    It is also agreed (mostly) that self-deprecation is empowering for an audience. I truly believe dancing in the moment and making use of improvisation, and sometimes acting a little silly, really does help to lighten a mood (if appropriate).
    Of course peeling it back to basics as you suggest Niall allows us the opportunity to work on self, increase confidence, and be more fluid. Relying on slides can be more of a hindrance than a help for some.

    Great comment Niall, thanks you for sharing your insights :)

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    I love what you say about physical activity abating nervousness. Purely by doing something else, distracts the fear/anxiety, and allows us to change our own state.

    It also provides immediate feedback from the audience.

    Great to see you practice these effective and simple tips Warren, well done!

  • http://www.de-stress4life.com/ Catherine Connors

    I shall be giving a speech soon Elaine so this post is very apt… 

  • http://www.smartsolutions.ie/blog/ Elaine Rogers

    delighted to be of service Catherine, other great posts here - http://tweakyourbiz.com/growth/2010/05/13/making-your-presentations-memorable/
    and
    http://tweakyourbiz.com/marketing/2011/12/27/presentation-tips-the-grow-model/
    best of luck!!

  • http://www.getbravo.com/ John @ Bravo

    This is fantastic content!  I love the format of the videos.  This is such a creative, fun, and effective way to generate video for TYB!  Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.theexecutivesuite.com/blog/ Warren Rutherford

    Great summation Niall – I’ve watched several of these and there is fantastic content in each. Well done to the team.

  • http://www.bloggertone.com Niall Devitt

    Thanks Warren. 

  • http://www.bloggertone.com Niall Devitt

    Hi John, thanks for the kind comment and your support!

  • http://www.bloggertone.com Niall Devitt

    Our pleasure, Connor!

  • http://www.connorkeppel.com Connor Keppel

    Sure is Niall. Are you a Mac man yourself?

  • http://tweakyourbiz.com/ Niall Devitt

    Hi Joseph, I’ve learned a lot from this post! As like Sian, I wasn’t already aware of many of your suggestions, but I am now. Oh and welcome to Tweak Your Biz, we’re delighted to have you join the team.

  • Easy Anderson

    You missed the biggest one which is Dwolla.com. You really might want to
    check that one out. Here is an interview I did with them a while
    back. There is no fees on transactions under $10 and only 25 cents on
    transactions over $10. No one can beat that.

    http://www.easyanderson.com/dwolla-an-interview-with-the-credit-card-killer/

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  • http://about.me/Lindeskog lyceum1776

    For the record: Paypal is NOT a monopoly. It is only be a monopoly if the State is trying to run a business, or is regulating the economy. According to my view, PayPal started out as an alternative to the regular banks, for money transactions. A monopoly is not the same as a strong market position.

  • http://about.me/Lindeskog lyceum1776

    You are welcome Joseph! :)

  • Sian Phillips

    Thanks for the clarification of a monopoly Lyceum – the word was just a description of Paypal being the most powerful and well known in the market

  • http://www.biz2credit.com/ william james

    Time is the most priceless thing. Specially in business you have maintain lots of things together. With the help of online payment business owners can save their time.

  • http://www.ahaingroup.com/ Niall Devitt

    Hi Velly, you’re very welcome as always & thank you for another great post. Your Tweak Your Biz content (4 posts) has now been by over 10,000 people :)

  • http://www.workreadplay.com Bryan Collins

    Delighted to be featured here. I’m in good company.

  • http://www.ahaingroup.com/ Niall Devitt

    Well done Bryan, that’s a great post and start, and looking forward to many more! :)

  • Efix

    Well, in Europe you can always use http://www.paymill.com Lots of currencies and a quite fast installation. The only problem is that it is still not present on the US market.

    Guess nothing is perfect.

  • Kwame

    Nice article with lots of good suggestions. But I would like to make one correction to your premise:- “While Paypal is a popular service that most people use, the reality is that over 1 billion people shop online and Paypal only has around 120 million users; in other words, by using just Paypal you’ll be restricting yourself to around 10% of the internet population that only use Paypal.”

    I don’t know if you realize that anyone can use PayPal regardless of if they have an account or not. They can just use any credit card on the PayPal site. A lot of my clients use PayPal and do not have an account.