Develop and promote your brand
As a person who has been immersed in Social Networking for 2 years, building a social website and gathering members, I would like to share some do’s and don’ts about delving into cyberspace and taking advantage of these opportunities.
I believe that many people in business have either overlooked these benefits or are uncomfortable with this type of technology. Not because they don’t know about them necessarily but are a wee bit leery about venturing into unknown waters.
Becoming a part of your local community Social Networks can be one of your newest ventures and will gain exposure you never thought of before.
Social Networking is not a Quick Fix or a Free Ride
Social Networking is a gateway to getting your name and brand out there. BUT, this is not a quick fix or a free ride. The key word here is “networking”. For example, this platform when used for local communities is a great place for residents and business owners to dip their toes in and get used to the water.
Think about what you do when you attend a trade show, conference, seminar or even a cross departmental business meeting. You introduce yourself, smile, shake hands, make small talk and generally get to know your “connections” from these introductions. You may not walk out of there with anything that will benefit you or your company immediately, but you do not discount these introductions because they often prove to be significant segues to ideas and ventures you may never have imagined.
Becoming involved in Social Networking can be a similar experience. And if you are not familiar with how it works, you need to tap into the resources that are at hand and start thinking in global terms.
Search Google for local area social networks that have been developed and become a valued member.
- Offer value added opportunities to members that will enhance the business core of your community
- Offer value added opportunities to potential customers
If you cannot find one that works for you, think aboutstarting one of your own. There are many free platforms that provide the necessary tools to start one for your business community. Draw in your neighboring business associates. If you cannot personally spend some time doing this, find one or two of your staff and spend some time with them to:
- Learn what they know about social networking
- Discover what they see as the advantages of the social networks and how they see the benefits as it pertains to your business
- Draw out ideas that will “WOW” your business associates
- Work with them and develop a plan on “how to” and “when to”. Most often they will know better than you, because they live in the social networking world. Whereas you my friend, are likely as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof just thinking about it all.
- Listen to their ideas with an open mind, you will be surprised at what they have to offer you. Show an interest in their world and they will be happy to tell you how it can help you in yours.
- Check with them often; ask to see the results.
A good example of this type of networking is a community in Ontario Canada. You can check them out at DurhamLive
The time you spend visiting social networks will directly relate to the benefits you can receive.
Going back to the idea of attending a trade show, first, you have to attend to make those initial connections. The same goes with Social Networking, you have to be a part of the social networking world to make those initial connections.
There are some great benefits to this type of networking and one of the largest is the sheer volume of opportunity. So ask yourself these questions:
- Would your business benefit from more connections?
- Do you feel your company has growth potential?
- Are you open to new ideas?
- How much time do you feel would be valuable to the development your social networking skills?
If you are anything like me, you have had a variety of thoughts and questions racing through you head as you read. Please feel free to share them. The biggest benefit of “networking” is this aspect of sharing thoughts and ideas with a larger audience than existed even two years ago. Let’s take advantage.