My Three Favorite Places to Network

Networking, whether online or in person, can be a powerful tool to generate leads for your business. You can publish all kinds of social media updates and blog posts, but nothing beats actually talking to people when it comes to making connections. There are all kinds of places to network online and offline, and finding a nice mix of the two works well for me.

“Networking is an essential part of building wealth.”
~Armstrong Williams

A lot of business owners struggle with this, however. I get it. That used to be me! Networking can feel overwhelming because there are so many places to network online and offline, and at the same time you may not be sure where exactly your audience is hanging out. And when you have figured it out, what do you do when you get there? What do you actually say?

If you know you need to network but aren't sure where to start, here are three of my favorite ways to connect with people in my industry and generate more leads for my business. Each one could be (and may be!) a post in and of itself.

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to find industryspecific leads.

  • Optimize your profile. Make sure you have a professional-looking photo, specific headline, and that all fields in your profile are complete.
  • In order to establish credibility as a professional in your field, you need to post valuable and informative content. You can do this by publishing articles on LinkedIand participating in groups by answering questions, sharing tips, etc. Remember to post relevant information on a regular basis as well.
  • Start building your network and reaching out to your connections. Use the advanced search tool to narrow down people in your niche, then reach out to them in a messageYou can ask them a question, pay them a compliment, comment on their profile or business, page, or all of the above! Start to build a relationship with them and if you feel like they could use your services, see if they'd like to set up a call. Make sure your follow up with your leads and track them in a spreadsheet.

2. Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are awesome for generating leads, and a lot of people find them easier to use than LinkedIn. There are TONS of great groups to join, so do a quick Google search for the best groups in your niche (and your target client's niche) or do a search on Facebook itself.

Make sure to join Facebook groups that have potential leads that would be looking for your service. The most important thing to remember is that you need to be helpful and add value and not spam the group with what you are offering. Read the group rules before you start commenting, and make sure to only promote your business in actual promotion threads. (Most groups have a day or a certain thread where promos are okay. Use them!) Genuinely engaging in discussions and giving advice and insight will help you get leads.

3. Attend a Networking Event 

Face-to-face networking is just as important as social media networking. To find events in your area that align with your goals, objectives, and personality, check out sites like Meetup.com, Eventbrite.com, and your Chamber website. Google is a powerful tool as well; try different searches to see what's going on in your neck of the woods.

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If possible, review the guest list beforehand and make a mental note of a few people youd like to meet. Networking events are all about creating and building relationships, not selling to everyone you meet. Treat this like you would any other social gathering or party and make it a goal to get to know people rather than just pitching your services all over the place. Make sure to listen, ask questions, and be genuinely interested in what the person you're talking to is saying. Be a connector and introduce the people you meet to others at the event that would be a good connection for them.

Lastly, make sure to follow up with everyone you met and send them a personalized note to meet for coffee or lunch. It's okay to send more information about your services if they ask, but for now, just focus on getting to know each other. Like any relationship, the best business relationships grow naturally, so whether you're networking online or offline, be yourself and remember to have fun!.

What are your favorite ways to generate leads?

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