This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
Three different ways of networking
Without really making an effort, we’ve written many blogs about networking, the foundation of ALL business, not just Public Relations.
Upon the advice from our Coordinator Sadaf, here are the three ways in which I’ve networked that have contributed to the success of Conscious PR – because let’s face it, networking goes way past the card exchange.
1. Offline events
When I started my business, I went to A LOT of business Meetups organized by Meetup.com. While not the best way to find and network with a niche industry, this gave me a lot of practice talking to people, and after each event I would make a habit of adding the contact to my Address Book (on iCloud) with notes about where we met, and follow up the next day. I’d add them on Twitter and LinkedIn if I felt it would be worth staying connected there too.
Now the events I go to are either for professional development or MUST be along the lines of social impact or green business, as this is likely where our ideal client is hanging out. I still like to make conversation with other people, as long as it’s about shared values and interests and isn’t the slimy card exchange. I once had a carpet company owner pass me a card without saying anything while a speaker was talking. I don’t have carpet, so that card was bound for the recycling bin.
Read last month’s Business in Vancouver ASK THE EXPERTS column in which I talked about values-based networking and how it builds business.
2. Social networking
When I started my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook page accounts in 2009, I was only a year into my business and had no idea how every day these social networks would become. While I’m still organically growing my Facebook page following (no ads so far!), I connected a lot faster with people on Twitter (which was very easy for meeting people offline at the networking events). Up until recently, I was only updating my LinkedIn profile once very quarter, but since the new Post, Publications, and better status update functions, I’m on LinkedIn every day, not just for content marketing, but to actually make sure that I have connected to all 1000+ of my contacts in some way. In the early days, I was adding anyone who requested a connection without really checking them out first.
I’m actually using LinkedIn the same way as I network offline – I look for how I can help the person and whether we have shared business values that might result in collaborating in some way.
3. Being a connector
PR is about serving public interest, and it’s no different when it comes to business relationships. If someone I know needs help connecting to a media person, or needs a specific supplier (I have been building my potential partner list for years!), I’ll do my best to make an e-troduction or forward them that person’s contact info. LinkedIn is also great for making those connections. (Hint: Get on LinkedIn if you’re not already on there!) Business organizations like eWomenNetwork and The Connected Woman have this philosophy of ‘giving first’ in their missions. When we help others succeed in business, it helps the local economy and establishes good karma.
Are there any other networking nuances that you would add that have worked for you?