How to Build a Valuable Network, Online and Offline

Leads. We all want them. But it takes time, planning and patience to attract the right kind of customers. Digital marketing has helped this process immensely, but it’s still essential to balance the amount of time spent online and offline networking. The two must work together for your business to see growth. Here’s how build a powerful, engaged network:

Use What the Digital Age Has Given You

Use your online presence to create a network that provides real value to you and your business. But to do this, you must provide value to your network first. People want to engage with others that provide either insight or entertainment – do both and you’re golden. Here are three of my favorite ways to provide value and build relationships online.

Write Well and Write Often

Whether it’s Facebook, bookmarked blogs or news channels, people are consuming and looking for information every second of the day. Be a resource to these people. Write well and write often. Create articles on your website and on LinkedIn publisher that provide value to potential customers and partners. Write about trends in your business and tried-and-true tactics for success. Publish quick Facebook posts that share valuable insight and Instagram images paired with quick tips. The options are endless. It almost goes without saying, but using a marketing calendar or content calendar will help ensure this process is the best it can be.

Join Twitter Chats

I’m slightly biased about this approach because I’ve seen so much good from it. Twitter chats allow people to share and gain knowledge from others. They’re fun, fast-paced and give brands and people an opportunity to connect with potential clients, leads, partners and peers on Twitter. We host our own (more on this later) called #OrganikChat. It’s such a valuable tool for networking that it’s actually the way in which we connected with our most recent hire, Amanda Nelson. I also met the Organik SEO team online via a Twitter chat I used to host for another company. Many chats also have a Facebook group paired with the chat so people can connect after. This often becomes a valuable way to ask for advice and share topics of interest.

If you’ve never joined a chat before, use this guide written by #OrganikChat’s co-host, Nicole Barbato, to learn more: Quick Guide to Joining a Twitter Chat.

Get Out From Behind That Computer

Network! And not just online. Remember, always, that face-to-face interactions breed a special kind of trust. Commit to attending a conference or event in your industry every month. When there, don’t sit back and take it all in, take action. Scroll through your Twitter feed and the speaker program to find influencers with whom you want to engage. Engage with them and try to schedule a time to meet in person during or after the event. If you can’t meet during a break, try to catch them during happy hour, which mosts events hosts for attendees.

To build a valuable relationship, rather than simply mingling, have a conversation of substance. Ask the following questions:

  • What brought you to this conference? What insight are you hoping to gain?
  • Where are you from and what do you do?
  • Do you attend conferences like these regularly?

Be natural and let the questions flow. The above questions will help you understand their pain points (and how you can be a resource), their area of expertise and, perhaps, give insight into their network. Don’t be afraid to include light, personal tidbits and questions. Bonding over TV shows, personal interests, local restaurants, etc, creates camaraderie and interest.

After meeting each new person, take a moment to write notes about your conversation. I like to include the following on the back of each business card I receive:

  • Where I met the person
  • A fun tidbit from our conversation (Perhaps they love a similar TV show)
  • How I can be of use to them
  • How they might be able to help me

This way, when I craft an email or LinkedIn message to my new contact, I have something valuable to offer and a game plan for how we can build a mutually beneficial relationship. If you think, “What can I possibly offer this person,” remember that if you took the time to find about their business, their goals and a fun personal tidbit, you can offer them so much. If they’re a social media director looking for insight on Pinterest, send them an article you read recently. Better yet, write an article about Pinterest and send it to them. If you feel like you made a more personal connection, try connecting over a personal interest you discussed like a TV show or hobby. Sometimes casual conversations and mutual interests naturally parlay into business because you’ve built trust and entertained each other. As with online communication, use a CRM tool to remember to follow up with your contacts regularly.

If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “It’s Not About Who You Know or What You Know.” Organik SEO is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today!