Are you a small business owner wanting to widen your network, increase your reach and grow your audience? Social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to create relationships with both your customers and fellow like-mined business owners. The social sphere can also be use to find and reach out to people with similar business or industry interests, join groups, form communities or tribes.
Relationships and connections with people in life is a basic human need… its everything. It’s the same with peers in the business world. Connecting with fellow business owners can be both supportive and empowering. Whether you are looking for a potential partner, a prospect, a collaborator, a thought leader or a mentor.
Connecting with other business professionals offline in networking situations is of course invaluable too, but follow up is your currency. Taking the time to follow up with people you met by email or connecting with them on social media, opens a window into each other’s world. Using Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook tc. to comment and congratulate each other on milestones in business bridges a gap. It keeps you in touch with past (as well as current) clients. This will keep you relevant and top of mind for future projects or referrals.
Being a service to others is an important factor in these exchanges and the following 5 tips explains how you can use different social platforms to do so:
5 Ways You Can you Connect With Like-Minded Professionals:
1. Join a Linkedin Group - Most of us our members of various groups that we have joined over the years, but how many of us check in with that group and respond to group discussions regularly? Try picking one or two groups that you want to channel your energy into that will serve a purpose for your business or your chosen industry. Creating fresh content in the form of a blog post on LinkedIn or curating useful content and resources that you have found also builds trust in your expertise.
ProTip: Schedule at least 10 -15 minutes once a week to check in with that group. Contribute to the recent discussions and offer help by sharing useful resource like your favorite business tools or apps.
2. Explore Facebook Groups – You can use the Facebook search bar at the top left corner to find people, places and things but have you tried using it to find where your ideal clients and customers are hanging out? You can find like-minded people who live in a particular area, who like certain interests such as DIY, fashion, foodies that are relevant for your business or market? You need to use your personal profile to do this, but using this search feature will help you find relevant Facebook groups to you and your business. My personal favorite is a working mothers group called The Mama CEO Club run by Megan Flatt. Not only is it a great resource with great tools like productivity hacks, but it is a supportive community for busy moms juggling their own businesses.
ProTips: A good place to start is to search what groups follow your own business page e.g. “groups of people that like Prim’d Marketing”, then competitors or businesses that serve a similar audience. Once you find a group, check recent posts to make sure it’s of interest, hang out for a while to get a lay of the land before introducing yourself. Also ask your peers which Facebook groups they recommend.
4. Discover Google+ Communities – you can also find similar business related communities on Google+, where lots of creative people are offering workshops in the form of Google Hangouts.
5. Find Your Blog Tribes – Blogging can be an isolating art form. For those who either write their own blog or appreciate the creative process of writing one – the time involved putting something out there can feel a bit one-sided. Good news is you are not alone. There are plenty of blog tribes out there to discover, to connect with people talking about or sharing similar content to your own - both on-line and through blogging events throughout the country. This can lead to finding supportive peers and also guest blog post opportunities, I mentioned this in our blogging series that “it takes a village” to help write quality articles, and offer some content in exchange.
Using social media to connect and network with like-minded professionals by sharing and commenting on each other’s content, creates support and community. It also stretches your reach beyond your own network, by tapping into their social following, which can result into more client or customer enquiries. It has worked for us and it can work for you.
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