Networking mistakes are easy to make, especially for those who are out of practice. Failing to keep an active network can hinder your employment prospects if you suddenly find yourself in the job market with no contacts or references.
Outlined below are several top business networking tips and tricks for overcoming the most common networking mistakes I have come across.
Attend networking events yourself
When you delegate responsibility entirely to other members of your team, you risk missing out on valuable networking opportunities. Whilst it can be particularly difficult to pull yourself to an event after a long hard week, you never know who you might encounter that could help you professionally.
Don’t skip the pre-business function networking receptions
Arriving early and mingling with the day’s speakers and guests allows you to hone in on the individuals who can most benefit you in your career aspirations. If the event is specific to your industry it can be a great place to pick up a new client, or hear about a new job opportunity.
Never stop networking
Networking doesn’t stop after you leave the latest event, function, or fundraiser. Make an effort to meet at least three new contact at every social gathering, sporting event, and party you attend. Always carry a healthy supply of business cards with you wherever you go.
Never walk in with a hidden agenda
Always be up-front if you're looking for assistance in your job search, and be prepared with a 15-second elevator pitch. Others will appreciate your candor and be better able to help you.
Don’t be overly aggressive in following-up
While it's important to communicate regularly with people in your network, avoid becoming a disruption.
Write down pertinent information quickly
After meeting a new contact and exchanging business cards, jot down a few notes about your conversation on the back of the person's card to jog your memory later.
Always let people know you value their help. A simple thank-you note or e-mail is appropriate.
Networking with colleagues has the added benefit of creating new business opportunities. Even if you're not in the job market, staying in touch with others in your industry provides a chance to brainstorm strategies and share best practices for remaining competitive. Next time you attend a networking event, see if our business networking tips and advice can help you get more out of the experience.
Follow up on social media and digital marketing
Digital is ever growing and you can use all social media to grow your brand
With the market growing online you can connect with businesses that use to be out of reach. Twitter and Linkedin tend to have people who are more than happy to help you out and expand your business to a different market. Facebook tends to be a bit more difficult unless you are willing to use services like pay per click (buying advertising space on facebook)
But as brands with micro budget i would advise agents it until you gain traction for your brand.
Email marketing is a good way to keep in touch. But you do not want to send things that seem like spam e-mails. The best way to approach this is use a
- format of a news letter (if you need help i can send you templates)
- Try and make it as personal to the reader as you can. This can be difficult with a large mailing list
- Use well sized images
- Make sure your content is correct
- Make sure you BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) This will not show other users who is on your mailing list