STEPS TO ONLINE BUSINESS NETWORKING September 17, 2013 | Dare Alexander | Punch Newspaper Today’s fast-paced economy indicates that for businesses to stay afloat, they have to grow rapidly and efficiently, reaching a diverse human population. More so, stronger connections must be established, using limited resources prudently. Psychologists had long described a phenomenon termed “the six degrees of separation,” which argued that only a chain of six or less other contacts exist between you and your ultimate target. This theory, which was first postulated in 1929 by the Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy, says anyone can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. However, in today’s hyper-connected world, the six degrees of separation is somewhat outdated with the advent of new media technologies, which allow for networking and sharing of information and resources. Networking is strategic to optimal business growth. It propels ventures to accomplish so much in very little time. Whether your aim is to strike up deals with new associates, make quick market surveys, reach customers far and near, and more, networking is the solution. A friend of mine was recently contacted via the web to review a new product being planned for the Nigerian market. She had apparently spared the venture capitalists of expenses as much as she could. I guess her opinion was sought because of her experience and vast network. If by now you are itching to get into the act of online business networking, here are some steps to follow: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM You are just as effective as your tools. The Internet offers myriads in social media websites and here, the distinction must be made between business and pleasure. It is imperative to set out on a social media site that is effective, secure and professional, such as LinkedIn. The right platform may depend on the targeted market, but it is very important to consider the security of your business details while making room for growth. Nonetheless, the platform you use will determine your network base and the reach of your connections. BUILD YOUR PROFILE Great profiles attract great people. You should take time out to construct a profile that best sells you. What I mean is that you should be creative enough to offer prospective clients and partners a rare glance into current standing and forecasts for your business. This is your one-time opportunity to make a resounding statement to potential business partners, likable to a five-minute elevator speech, and you should make it count. A good profile should contain information on relevant projects undertaken by the business, details of results and achievements, seminars and conferences attended, awards received; basically everything that can promote your business. To spice things up, it is often valuable to obtain recommendations from clients and partners, as these add more credence. TAKE THE INITIATIVE This is all about growing your network. Of course, you would not expect to have all those connections just by the wave of a magic wand. The good thing is that if you have taken out time to build an impressive profile, you should attract interest from people effortlessly. Notwithstanding, it will be necessary to often take the lead in expanding your network. Recently, I came across a discussion in the Harvard Business Review entitled, “Whose LinkedIn connection request do you accept?” The bottom line is that most people only want to connect with people that have something to offer or may have to offer. Really, your first impression counts a lot. FIND COMMON GROUND This highlights the importance of groups in establishing a formidable business network. Whether you like it or not, groups exist to bring people of common backgrounds, skills and interests together. What you have to do is to find a group that fits perfectly and be an active member. It may happen that no group exists for your kind of business. Well, in such a circumstance, you can take the bold step of creating a group that accommodates your business set-up. This, more or less, gives you the chance to be an administrator; and if you are very creative, it can turn out to be something big. Remember, great minds discuss ideas. TREND & FOLLOW TRENDS This is basically the same across all modes of social media. You should keep abreast of the latest news in the business world and make reasonable contributions. It is all about making your presence felt and enhancing your visibility.
Posted on: Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:46:42 +0000
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