I outlined the benefits of virtual networking in my blog post, The Ins and Outs of Virtual Networking Part 1. As I mentioned, my company, The Boreland Group, has achieved great success via virtual networking, including generating significant revenue. In this article, I’ll provide tips on how to maximize virtual networking for your business.
Which platform to use. What is going to work best for your business? If you’re in a visual industry, such as retail, design, etc. Instagram is good platform. If you’re focus is business-to-business, LinkedIn is your best bet. Have a consumer service? Facebook is a good option. I use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as my primary virtual networking tools.
IMPORTANT: At the beginning, focus on one platform and then add other platforms as needed. Social media can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Start small and see what works best for you, and the time you have to devote to the effort.
Set an objective. What is your goal? Is it to sell products? Build upon your client base? Get speaking opportunities? Set your objective and then work to accomplish it. My goal on Facebook is to generate revenue. So, my postings showcase the work I do on behalf of my clients; how my customers have benefited through their association with my firm; and testimonials. Which leads us to the next tip.
Be consistent. It’s harder to develop an online relationship than a face-to-face one. You have to really work to stay in front of your connections. Posting regularly is a must. Studies suggest posting eight times a day on Twitter; twenty times a month on LinkedIn; and at least twice a day on Facebook. Don’t freak out. You can do this without spending a lot of time. Use Buffer to post content throughout the week – you can arrange on Sunday what to post for the rest of the week, and be done with it. Like, retweet, share or comment on posts throughout the week in real time. Set aside about ten minutes a day for this activity.
Curate carefully. The purpose of social media is to connect with those you know or would like to know. It’s also having followers who want to connect with you. Separate the wheat from the chaff – it may look impressive to have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but are they true connections? I don’t accept all LinkedIn connections – and you don’t have to, either. It won’t hurt their feelings; they won’t stalk you; they’ll move on. Again, it’s quality over quantity.
IMPORTANT: I love to share the successes of my colleagues. If one of your associates wins an award, hits a milestone, etc, congratulate them on your platform. They will appreciate it.
IMPORTANT: Whatever you do, be authentic about it. Don’t like, repost, etc,. just to do it. Being fake is one of the worst things you can do.
These steps will assist you in your virtual networking. Success won’t happen overnight, but with time and effort, you will benefit.
Jennefer Witter is the CEO/Founder of The Boreland Group, a New York City public relations agency specializing in corporate and executive visibility. TheStreet.com recognized TBG as one of five black-owned PR firms in the country “making a buzz.” Witter is the author of “The Little Book of Big PR: 100+ Quick Tips to Get Your Small Business Noticed” (AMACOM).