You’ve all heard of networking right? Most small business women owners don’t ever use it to its full potential. One of the most common reasons is that it’s just one more thing you have to do in your busy day so it goes into the too hard basket, right!
I know I used to do this. With traditional networking, you stand in a room full of complete strangers pretending to have a good time. You go to events, either listen to a speaker, hand out business cards, grab a coffee, or wine (depending on the time of the day!) and walk around and introduce yourself, all in the hope that you will connect with the right people.
Yes, networking can be a nightmare. It can also be a great thing if you get the right environment for you. Networking is all about building relationships and now-a-days I use both online and offline networking, but I get the greatest benefit from online social networking as I can connect with more people in less time. So what is it and how can it benefit you?
The concept has been around for a few years, with MySpace being one of the first non-business sites to be completely set up for social networking. Gradually, businesses began to infiltrate through this and then other sites were born purely for business owners. You can now speak to someone over the internet, or leave messages for someone all from sitting at home. You can get to ‘know’ a person by looking at their profile, what their interests are, and who they align themselves with. All of this information is available for you to read, rather than physically getting out there and asking.
Where are these social networking sites? As mentioned above, there are a few major players in the field, all specializing in their own areas. MySpace was launched aimed at teens putting details, videos and photos of themselves up so they can chat and play games with their friends. Facebook was then introduced later, aimed at the older generations, hooking up with friends from school, adding photos of family and videos and chatting.
People started realizing that with the amount of traffic coming to these sites they could try and use them for business. But then business related sites like LinkedIn, twitter and niche market sites like Business Women Unite started popping up which are purely aimed at the professions, so people started viewing social networking in a totally difference light. They could start building relationships with many thousands of people without leaving their office.
But what are the benefits of joining these networking sites?
They all offer different things but by using these sites you can promote your business to thousands of visitors that these sites get every week which helps generate traffic to your business. You can expand your business by connecting and doing business with people from all over the world. Some of these sites also offer help for small business.
Sites like LinkedIn are based on the concept that someone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone else…and on it goes. They have applied this to business but you can also connect with lost school friends and work colleagues.
Whereas Twitter is different again and you communicate with people through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s worth it.
On the Business Women Unite site there are more business related tools such as a discussion forum, groups section, article directory and sections to promote your business. You can use these to connect with businesswomen of all industries as well as use them to ask questions, share resources and get tested business tips plus experts who can give you advice on how to increase your sales and profits, how to drive more traffic to your website and how to create a better business plus much more.
If you have the right strategy and the right approach you can turn a few minutes a day into thousands of extra dollars. Isn’t that worth the bother!
A great place to start if you are a woman in business would be to connect with other small business women owners, just like you. Get your free membership by going to http://www.businesswomenunite.net where you can also get access to articles, tools and advice on how to build a successful business.
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