4.4 Online networking
Before online business networking, face-to-face networking was the only option for business people. This was achieved through a number of techniques such as trade show marketing and loyalty programs. Though these techniques have been proven to still be an effective source of making connections and growing a business, many companies now focus more on online marketing due to the ability to track every detail of a campaign and justify the expenditure involved in setting up one of these campaigns.
The arrival and rapid penetration of Web 2.0 has caused enormous changes in the forms of communication: social media have transferred our personal relationships to the virtual world, offering us the possibilities of establishing contact networks in a digital environment, we speak of Networking Online.
Currently, any individual with a basic knowledge of office automation can produce and disseminate digital content on a global scale, since Web 2.0, also called the Social Web, allows many people to modify all those online sites that are programmed on a database.
Social media has amplified the power of “word of mouth” by bringing it to the digital world: a comment posted on a Web 2.0 space can go around the world in a few minutes, even seconds. This has positively affected the way of doing business: communication between companies and consumers and between companies themselves is now more agile and dynamic, which favors commercial transactions and the acquisition of contacts through online networking.
Within the wide range of social media the most suitable for enhancing our commercial network and doing business are professional social networks.
These spaces bring together professionals in general or companies from the same sector with the aim of promoting and promoting online networking by strengthening the industrial fabric.
Next, we offer you five basic tips on using social networks to generate business, which is already known as social business.
1. Selection of social media
We must choose the most appropriate social network for our company. The best thing is to open a profile in a professional network, because they are specifically designed to generate business. Among the most popular is LinkedIn, a space that brings together professionals from all sectors and currently has more than 400 million users.
On LinkedIn we can find from senior positions of multinationals to individuals looking for a job. This social network can help us to hire employees for our company quickly and efficiently, but also to contact individuals who may be interested in our services.
We can also open a profile on Facebook or Instagram. Those are not a properly professional social network, rather they are oriented towards leisure and personal relationships, but since they are the ones that bring together the largest number of Internet users in the world (almost one 2,990 millions users of facebook, and 500 millions using Instagram), most companies have a profile in one of these medium to contact their potential customers.
- Connect with people you know
- Use email to connect and communicate, not to promote yourself
- Customize the invitation message and mention how you know the person from
- Connect during business hours
- Share valuable content and generate conversation
- Take care of your vocabulary
- Keep automation to a minimum
- Promote others’ content more than yours
- Read the content before retweeting
- If you have a problem with a person or company, try to solve it
- Send friend requests to those who inspire you and be respectful if they don’t accept you
- Post photos that speak well of you
- Use your status posts to generate conversation
- Use good judgment when tagging people
- Prevent someone else from posting on your wall or tagging you by configuring the privacy options
- Clearly communicate what you do. Set up your profile properly.
- Give your posts a distinctive look. Instagram is a very visual platform, so make it work to your advantage.
- Get active!
- Hashtags are Instagram’s signpost.
- Use special hashtags wisely.
- Hashtags can look messy.
- Brand your hashtags.
- Be part of the author’s community by leaving a comment that adds value
- Do not leave a comment promoting yourself
- Accept different opinions
- Promotes tolerance
- Don’t include music or videos in autoplay mode
- Be honest
2. Create and maintain our active commercial profile
In any of the social networks that we choose, we must open a profile or company page (depending on the options allowed by the selected social network). In this space it is important to include all those elements that define the corporate image, values and objectives of our company. Remember that this page or profile is going to be the cover letter for our customers and business partners, so our image must be very careful, due to the virality of the messages and the ability of these media to disseminate any type of information.
In addition to creating the profile, we must keep it alive: the great attraction of these spaces is the possibility they offer users to connect and interact with companies. It is important to publish content with added value on a daily basis, so that our potential partners perceive an active and innovative company, involved with new technologies.
3. Who to follow?
Once we have the profile or company page up and running, it’s time to start networking.
We must create our network of contacts, starting with our loyal customers and our suppliers.
We must also follow those clients in which we are interested or companies to which we can offer our services. The goal is for them to follow us and get to know our products and services: hence the paramount importance of a clear, updated and well-organized profile. Let’s remember that there is only one chance to make a good first impression.
4. Offer content with added value
We must offer content that adds some value to our current and potential clients, so that they are interested in our profile and interact with us, it is the best way to create a network and generate engagement. But we should not only talk about our products and services, it is also good to comment on current affairs. Of course, without falling into political or ideological evaluations, something that can make us lose customers.
5. Use logic
There are companies that have lost customers and money due to misuse of social media. The best: hiring a professional to manage our accounts. But if the budget does not arrive, we must use common sense and publish interesting, objective, neutral and appropriate content for our target.
If we work with these tips, we can increase our network of contacts quickly and easily, and we will get projects for our company through digital media.
6. Have the necessary resources
Having a Website that supports the online presence to be referenced by linking the contents or publications of professional Social Networks is important, as well as updating it periodically with new materials, contents and publications that highlight the activities of the company or the professional.
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