One of the keys to business success is growing your customer base, which can be achieved through various networking strategies. Participating in networking for business growth assists in creating a reputation for both customers and other business owners as a well-informed and trustworthy individual who not only can offer valuable information and connections but in addition, you also provide support. As a result, you are more likely to receive leads and referrals for your business by being that pillar for others, when they reach a point where they need what you offer, your business is at the front of their minds.
The below outlines several practical recommendations to get you started with networking to target your audience effectively that will ultimately help optimise your business growth.
1. Be social.
Leveraging social media such as LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook can grow your network quite quickly if you spend time engaging with your audience and the channels are used to their advantage. LinkedIn is a great tool for growing your business network by connecting with others and sharing business insights and participating in discussion threads. Facebook is a great tool to grow your community network relevant to your business and Instagram is like Facebook with growing an online community base but it’s more visual with the grid layout and especially with the introduction of Reels.
2. Invest your time.
Ever heard the term–it’s not what you know, but who you know? It’s never been more relevant when it comes to networking. By attending networking events, this allows you to build positive relationships with other attendees and encourage them to refer potential customers to you through word of mouth and vice versa.
3. Get to know your customers – really.
Hosting network events is an effective way to get to know your customers on a deeper level and build strong relationships with them. Invite your best customers and encourage them to bring a friend or two–this not only makes your customers feel special and builds that positive relationship with them for repeat business, but it also gives you the opportunity to increase your network by introducing your products and/or services to their friends who may not be aware of your brand.
4. Don’t forget the follow-up!
There is nothing worse than speaking to a person who promises to get in touch and then you never hear from them, or you have to follow them up as a reminder. Don’t be that person. There are two main reasons for the importance of following up from networking opportunities:
- Networking only produces good results when it is followed up.
- From delivering on your promise, you build trust, a good reputation, and positive relationships with your contacts.
Build a reputation with others as someone who delivers on their promises and is persistent. Sent an email and it’s gone unanswered? Follow up. Left a voicemail and a call hasn’t been returned? Follow up. Do what you promised to do for others, and it will not go unrewarded.