It’s Who You Know

Have a quality website, active social media presence, but still not reeling in the kind of customers or clients you want? The world of marketing and networking may have changed, but one thing is the same — it’s all about who you know.

Reaching out to people still takes a little finesse even if it takes a long time (if ever) to meet these key players face to face. Whether you’re in the business of rodent control or manage a law firm, there are plenty of online opportunities to connect with, engage, and build a relationship with people who can help your business thrive.

Where to Start?

One of the most professional sites is LinkedIn where, even though it will be all about you rather than the business, it’s simple to connect with others in the industry. Highlight the business clearly on your profile and take full advantage of the suggestions LinkedIn provides you. With this particular site, it’s usually a good idea to accept requests from people you don’t know — chances are they are trying to connect with you for a reason.

Of course, Facebook is a go-to staple. This is a little trickier to manager. People are much more reserved when it comes to who they friend and it can be difficult to get people to like your business. The best way to do this is to encourage likes by offering contests or discounts only for Facebook fans. Utilize mainstream marketing techniques, such as email blasts or in-store advertisements, to let clients know about Facebook perks.

Do Your Research

Unfortunately, the days of research don’t end with college. If you’re just starting out on your social media outreach, it can seem overwhelming. One of the best ways to find potential “friends” is simply by Googling an SEO key word or phrase (such as “San Francisco plumbing” if that’s your business and area) +LinkedIn, Facebook, or whatever site you’re trying to build connections on.

You’ll uncover a smorgasbord of people and other businesses that are either in the industry or have recently been posting about it. Try out a few different SEO phrases to get more matches. Is it time consuming? Yes, but it’s worth it.

Competitor or Comrade?

Sometimes it can be difficult to gauge if another business is a direct competitor or a potentially complementary acquaintance. It’s often best to err on the side of hope here and reach out to others in the industry — even if you might be sharing customers.

Just be careful about sharing specials, discounts or other “confidential” information on social media sites. Employ privacy settings to control exactly who is and isn’t seeing certain information. However, these people and businesses can also be very helpful especially when it comes to teaming together for potential joint ventures.

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