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Posted by Jane Ellison-Bates on February 05, 2015
Networking

Etiquette

The best networkers are those who approach networking with a ‘how can I help the people I talk to’ attitude.

  • Be considerate – don’t barge into a conversation because you have identified you want to speak to one of the parties.  Hang around tentatively nearby and endeavour to make eye contact at the appropriate moment to signal that you would like to join in.  Good networkers encourage others to join in a conversation and will naturally invite you into the conversation when they can.  Once you’re in it, don’t dominate a conversation.
  • Be interested – it’s not just about you.  Remember to keep asking questions of the other people. So many times people fall into the trap of talking about themselves without asking the other person about their business.  Try to limit yourself initially to a couple of sentences briefly explaining what you do, then ask what the other person does.  Ask them who they want to be introduced to.  As well as empowering you to help them it will hopefully prompt them to ask you the same so you will get the chance to get your message across too.

Follow up

Networking only really works if you use the contacts you make after the event. 

  • Contact – make a connection afterwards with the people you’ve met; through email, social media, or for coffee
  • Consolidate – follow the activity of the interesting people you’ve met and interact with them
  • Remind – periodically contact people when you have something relevant to share with them
  • Remember – call people to mind in the course of your work to see if they can help you
  • Repeat – don’t just attend once, successful networkers work hard at it, you can’t expect to win business straight away, but it will come as you build relationships

Online social networking

Chloe Greenwood, Head of Social Media at Manifest Marketing advises:

Twitter - The main objective is to post interesting and relevant content that other people will want to share.

Be selective of who you follow, tailor your account so that you connect with the right audience.

Check out every follower – maybe tweet them back thanking them for the follow if they are an ideal client (don’t do this to everyone as it gets annoying for people that are already following)

Lots of twitter events to get involved in:

  • #YorkshireHour – Wednesday between 8-9pm
  • #HarrogateHour – Mondays between 8-9pm
  • #LeedsHour – Thursdays between 8-9pm
  • #KeighleyHour – Sundays between 8-9pm

These events are a great way to connect with other people and help promote your business in a modest way.

Although Facebook is predominantly a personal and social platform, businesses are able to embrace its massive reach and connect direct with customers by setting up a business page. Once a customer has ‘liked’ your page, they receive information via your posts and images. The main idea is to grow the number of ‘likes’ your page gets to raise your brand awareness.

Facebook provides an excellent opportunity for professional networking. However, the networking on Facebook, as opposed to LinkedIn, straddles the line between social and professional. There are great benefits to this. Creating personal relationships with potential business connections can give you leverage beyond that of standard business relationships.

Linkedin is a business networking site. It is a great tool to use to connect and engage with other like-minded professionals in online discussions and groups. You can create a personal page listing your professional experience, previous jobs and education; so it’s like having your CV online. You can also create a page solely for your business to promote your products and services.  The facility to invite referrals from your clients is a great way to get third party endorsements of your work that carry more weight than blowing your own trumpet.

Remember

Don’t lose momentum and fall the radar, be consistent and share information that is relevant and interesting to your target audience.

Be authentic – it puts people off if you pretend to be someone you aren’t.

Don’t rush it – grow your social media networks organically, it will be more useful in the long run and be more beneficial for you.

And finally

Remember; network even if it’s not branded as a networking event.  At risk of showing my age I would say that you should approach networking like Martini….Anytime, Any Place, Anywhere.

It’s all about sharing; SHARE your time, your knowledge, your contacts, your experiences and remember that, given time, you will be rewarded because networking is like karma; what goes round come round. Enjoy!

If you’ve enjoyed this article, please Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter @manifestjane and @manifestchloe and say hi when we meet at networking.

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