Networking groups have a place in today’s business world, but are they quickly dying out? Or is the way people approach membership in these groups off-kilter causing an awkward or strained relationship among members?
After giving it much thought, here are some of the pros and cons I’ve found in joining groups of this nature:
- They do provide a great place to make new business connections
- They do get people who usually work alone or out of their house out to explore, discuss, and engage with others.
- They do get people involved in the community
Where they fail:
- They fail when people abuse the relationships found in these networking events
- They fail when they become a self-serving platform
- They fail when people stop listening to one another
So what does this have to do with online marketing? Actually, a lot.
Think of the Same Pros and Cons in Your Content Marketing
Networking offline has a lot of the same rules as networking online. Regardless of what your goals are from networking, there are certain rules you should follow on your website and in your online interactions that will help you be more successful in your content marketing and overall career as a professional.
Create a blog with the same type of conversations and engaging attributes as you would use to converse at a networking event
In a recent meeting with a client, I was told that blogging seems like a good idea, but when it comes down to it, eventually you will run out of ideas to say and things to talk about. However, I have yet to hear that people do not want to join a networking group because they are afraid that at some point the group will deplete their ideas for discussions. A blog should be approached in the same way.
Focus on building selfless relationships with others online, just as you would online
Just like in a networking group, relationships can in fact be built online too. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook, offer ample opportunity to reach out and connect. Shake a person’s hand digitally the same way you would face-to-face at a networking event. Flatter their expertise, ask a question, or comment on a presentation they delivered to the group. This gets the conversation going offline, just as it will online.
Keep your content marketing and engagement online and offline all about building relationships, rather than landing more business
Finally, don’t abuse your relationship or make your blog, website, social media account, or networking event all about you. Approach the event thinking, “How can I help someone here with a referral, an idea, or a little bit of help to boost their business?” When you approach networking online, or offline, with a bit of selfless indulgence, you will eventually develop stronger relationships that are bound to last longer and have a bigger impact on your community and business than if you were to dive in head first by exclusively promoting your business.
Networking is an art form, I’m convinced. How do you network with others online or offline?