Thursday, July 1, 2010

Networking: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Each time you join a social networking site, like Twitter or Facebook, you are entering into a brand new "neighborhood," filled with people who want to be, "your neighbor." As a business, it is important to keep in mind, that you now need to make an entrance into this neighborhood, not just as a business, but also as a neighbor. When wanting to become a part of a community within these social networking sites, it is important to connect with those already in the community, via Networking.

Networking: First Steps

There are several steps a business should take to start the Networking process.

First, get to know the people who are on the site. Check out their interests, bio, and business information, etc. This way when you are ready to start interacting with the people in the community, you can reach out using their shared information as a starting topic.

Secondly, when you do decide to begin engaging with other businesses, customers, followers, and likers, be sure to use their name, if possible. As in any community, people like to be addressed by their name, for it is more personal and begins building a friendship between you, your business, and the other person. First name usage, shows that you have taken the time to find out about who they are, which is extremely important in networking, and may also make them want to find out more about you and your business.

Thirdly, most people will click on a link that has been referred to by a "friend," than one that was advertised or posted on the site without a referral. In knowing this, once comfortable with the person, (people) on one or more of the social networking sites, reach out to them via DM (Direct Message on Twitter) or by emailing them on Facebook, etc. Ask them if they would like to share your business link with their followers and you will do the same for them. This will allow those who follow them see what your business is about, through a referral, and the same goes for their business link you are going to share as well.

Networking: Good Neighbor
Another way to network with others on social networking sites, is to extend your hand as a "good neighbor" should. Try not to shy too much away from giving tips, advice, and information when asked by other businesses who are seeking for help. This doesn't mean you give away all your business secrets, but like a neighbor who is asking for some sugar, you would give some to them (not all), for you would definitely keep some for yourself. However, it is important to share some useful information with others, that way, when you need some help, they will be more than likely to do the same for you!
If you are searching for some help, there are several great ways to ask for it, without sounding desperate or intrusive. Start your question(s) off with, "In your industry..." or "With a company like yours...", etc. This way it doesn't seem as though you are trying to gain information that is geared towards their specific business and always be sure to thank those with whom have helped you, for it shows your appreciation. With that said, it isn't necessarily always going to be the person with whom you've helped, that will be the one who helps you. Know that there are many people (neighbors) who are seeing what you are doing within these social networking sites (the neighborhood). Know that you and your business are always being watched, as they say, so never neglect the fact that people are drawn to those who are most helpful and kind to their neighbors.

Networking: Who Matters?
Some feel that the higher the followers, likers, etc. the more important that business or person must be. Although there are some truths with numbers, for their will definitely be more people who see what is being shared on that page, there is an even higher importance then this. Taking time for those on the page through engagement, speaks louder than numbers. When engagement is used, more people will come, because those with whom you are engaging with, are more likely to refer you/your business to a friend. Also, don't discount the ones who have less followers and likers today, for you never know where they might be tomorrow.
When joining a social networking site (neighborhood) people gravitate more towards the person/persons who takes the time to get to know 2-4 people personally, then that of a person who just pushes their products to the group and talks mostly about themselves. Quality definitely speaks louder than quantity!

Finally, although you're main reason might be to promote or market your business online, it doesn't have to be all that you talk about. Have fun with your "neighbors" by sharing non-business related questions, and/or thoughts, etc. Be social on these social networking sites and your business will become a part of the "neighborhood" and be a place most "neighbors" want to be!

"Won't you be our neighbor?" Come network with us, Tees In A Pod, on Facebook and Twitter too! Also, feel free to post comments and tell us other ways in which you and/or your business networks with others!

Written By: Amanda Ryan, Creature Creations, Personalized Photo Gifts

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