Most marketing gurus will tell you that there is are definite merits to networking. Traditional networking performed through groups/organizations and online social networking venues, such as MySpace, are based on the same general premise of giving rather than taking. What’s that mean? That when you network, you aren’t looking to sell your products/services, but to provide value to others.
Networking opportunities can provide you with powerful tools for building awareness, strengthening customer loyalty and driving sales. However, be sure to avoid these common mistakes:
Doing a hard sell. If you want to ruin a new relationship, then try hawking your products/services to someone you’ve just met. Instead, try providing something of value. It might be something as simple as a free article, a highlighter, a downloadable screensaver or a form/template. The point is that you are giving instead of taking and it makes a greater impression.
Stress quality, not quantity. At a networking event or even when connecting through MySpace, don’t focus on trying to collect everyone’s contact information/business card. What’s the point if these people can not help you or are not interested in what you have to offer? Be selective and get to know the people who can provide value to your business.
Consistently Follow-up. Establishing a new connection doesn’t end when the events over. Integration is key. For maximum results, your contact information should always be visible on your website, blog, printed materials, business cards, and any other materials that help “close the loop”.