When you start up your business, you need sales, which means you need clients. But to get clients you often need to have had clients that have provided positive feedback and allowed you to create a portfolio. Vicious circle, right? But there is a way to deal with this matter through the online world and this is networking.
What is networking?
In the pre-internet days, networking was about meeting people for drinks or a meal and chatting about their families or interests to win them over. Today it is about using social media in a clever way to find those customers.
The first tip in effective networking is knowing your audience. You want to connect with people who are interested in what you have to offer otherwise your time and effort is wasted. Look at the times you are working on social media as well as remember the different times zones around the world – you can’t connect with potential customers in the US if they are all still in bed!
Making the most of your customers
If you have had even a single customer, connect with them via social media. Most people will be willing to leave a review or some comments if they are happy with your service because we all know this is the way business works today. This positive exposure will help draw in more customers and show people that you do what you say you do.
Make use of networking sites such as LinkedIn. If you haven’t visited the site it isn’t like Facebook – there are no games, pictures of the kids or the pets. It is the professional social media site and is about connecting with people. You can still connect with Facebook friends, if they are relevant to your profession and they can endorse your skills. Building a good profile is important on the site and making sure you keep all your contact information relevant so customers can find you. There is even job vacancies and opportunities advertised on the site.
Working social media
The key to working social media for your business is that it isn’t just about your business. People don’t want to see just selling posts about you or your products – they want to interact with you as a person. So if you sell handmade jewellery, for example, post links to articles about what famous people are wearing, post pictures of the latest trends or vintage pieces you find inspiring. This will gain you followers for your page or profile and then when you advertise your own work, they won’t automatically ignore it.
Don’t forget to contribute on other pages and forums as well so that your name pops up in all matters relating to your business, not just on your own page.
There are many schools of thought about how much you should post to social media sites to get the balance between ignoring customers and spamming them. It can be trial and error on your behalf but the best approach is to think what you yourself would consider too much and aim for under that level.
I am a freelance writer who loves to learn something new and splits her time between writing, running a small crafts business and looking after lots of birds.