Strategic Networking in a Social World

Strategic Networking in a Social WorldHow to Leverage Social Media to Connect

Are you a strategic networker?  Do you use social media to leverage your networking and create opportunities to connect?

The Internet and social media have changed how we do business, communicate and network with clients and prospects. Even more so, businesses are more constrained by time and money to invest in connecting and prospecting for business face-to-face. So how can you use social media to help make networking a better return on your investment?

Strategic networking using social media puts an end to shuffling from one event to another with a stack of business cards. Follow these four steps to get started.

  1. Look at your calendar and write down all the networking events you attended in the last year. Be specific and list who attended, why you attended, and what potential business opportunities were available to you.
  2. Set your criteria for what you expect from your networking time. Are you getting your name out there to brand yourself and company? Are you specifically looking for leads for business? Are you helping others connect and making referrals? Are you involved with the group in a leadership role?  It’s important that you understand the purpose of your networking time, and what your return will be for that time. You may have different criteria for different types of networking events.
  3. Take a hard look at how much of your networking leads to new business. Make a decision as to how much your time is worth and how much of your networking time needs to be dedicated to getting new business.
  4. Decide which networking events that you have been attending truly have given you a return on your investment.  Be ruthless. You may want to continue events where you know everyone and have a good time socializing, but is that going to help you grow your business?

Now it’s time to put strategy into your networking scenario.  Who is your target market and where do they “hang out?” Social media will help you find the people who can potentially buy or use your services or connect you with those who can. You want to strategically find the networking events that will help you meet your goals and make good use of your valuable time.

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Podcast: 3 Critical Steps to Success in Social Networking

Elkay Corporate Advisors is pleased to announce the launch of our Blog Talk Radio Show, 30 Minute Business Dig. With my co-host Deb Frey, we will focus on trends, tips, tools and tales that will inform, educate and entertain you while providing nuggets of value to enhance your professional and personal life. Visit our show page here.

Our inaugural show has Deb interviewing me, Lisa Kanda, chief results officer, discussing the three critical steps to success in social networking and why it’s a mistake for businesses to take the “wait and see” approach to using social media. Do you have anything to add to this? Please comment.