Make new friends, but keep the old – one is silver and the other hits GOLD!
As marketers and promoters of all things, it’s a given that networking is an integral part of our everyday life. How to network and capitalize on those meet and greets, friendships, conferences, social functions, charity events and the like is equally and even more essential in a marketer’s business. The ultimate ROI for any marketing communications professional occurs when a networking contact and business lead converts into a long-term client.
Today, I take a page from Abbe Sparks Media Group and my personal experience with networking. As a marcom professional whose nickname is “miss-connected,” I am delighted to share my expertise on how we have maximized our ROI. The key is to constantly communicate with individuals you already know and those you just meet from events, business functions and social gatherings; follow up on their potential leads and convert all into happy, repeat clients.
Below are five essential tips to capitalize on the power of networking.
- Don’t Burn Bridges – A savvy PR woman executive gave me the best piece of advice when I first stared out in the business world at Warner Communications, “never diss anyone you work with, especially your bosses as you never know where they will end up. I guarantee it will come back to hurt you.” I can’t reiterate enough the importance of this advice. Although I changed jobs a few times throughout my career, I have remained connected with her and other then young marcom professionals from 20 years ago that have and still prove to be essential to my ROI. Some of these pros are now heads of networks, agencies and top television producers .
- Get Personal – “Make new friends but keep the old.” When promoting or sharing an event, business endeavor or a client’s news or benefit, include your personal friends in your communications and social media marketing. The personal friends I include date back to grade school. Again, some of them are powerful influencers, captains of industry and all of them are consumers.
- Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and other social networks are an essential networking tool that provides a simple and time-effective way to keep in touch with old and new friends.Thanks in large part to Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with some long, lost childhood friends and even gained some amazing clients. Recently, I posted last week’s blog entry on Google+ and a college friend emailed me with a new potential client – his company.
- LinkedIn, Meet-Ups and other Like-Minded Social Sites – Capitalize on LinkedIn’s value as a networking tool. Attend LinkedIn local networking events. Utilize other like-minded network sites wherever possible. I can’t say enough about grabbing any and every potential opportunity that arises.
Be Physically Visible – Getting yourself out there is as equally important as sitting behind a computer to post or message. Attend as many networking functions, conferences and events as physically possible, time allowing. There are many events that are cost-effective and free, so don’t miss out.
Net, net – As marcom pros, we need to network as it can prove to be the most powerful ROI tool for our business. Have a wonderful Wednesday.