Sales | December 8, 2014

Lead Generation: How Networking Relationships might be your Best Source
Converse - communicate and engage with customers as a small business

When used in a specific and strategic way, social media can do wonders with your networking.

One of a busy business owner’s biggest concerns is always the growth of their client base. It may not be a constant, front-of-mind worry but it is always there. Any entrepreneur or CEO knows that at least part of their time every week, if not every day, should be devoted to activities which will increase their influence and potentially extend their list of satisfied customers. This makes networking one of the most valuable lead generation activities you can engage in.

Networking is nothing new, of course; business people for decades have been engaging in networking events and activities. But with the advent of social media and its ability to open businesses up to the public via blog posts, status updates, and tweets, face-to-face meetings and events may seem less effective and more costly, causing them to fall by the wayside. The fact is, however, that careful and thoughtful networking can be more effective in lead generation than all the blogs and tweets in the world, because networking can put you in closer touch with your desired audience or target market much more directly.

Here are tips on how to flourish in the lost art of networking, and how to effortlessly grow your list of potential clients by building advantageous relationships:

Be specific

Networking may have developed a bad rap thanks to events where executives throw their cards around like confetti…without doing much else. How many of those cards did you actually use once you returned to your office? How many of them would have been effective in lead generation?

Rather than spreading one’s card to and fro with little return, a better strategy is to be specific and focused in your endeavors. Pinpoint individuals and companies with which you would like to be aligned and then plan a course of action.

Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation

Social media was mentioned earlier in this article as one of the downfalls of authentic marketing and lead generation, although LinkedIn is focused specifically on business and has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms in existence. There are 332 million users on LinkedIn, with two new users joining every second. This platform can do wonders with your networking when used to its fullest potential.

Using LinkedIn for lead generation is easy once you establish a system:

  • Form all the connections you can. Search for former coworkers, customers, friends and others currently in your sphere. You can also go through their lists of connections in order to find anyone else you may already know.
  • Ask former and existing customers for recommendations. This establishes you as an expert in your field.
  • Search for companies with which you would like to do business. Then see if you know anyone currently employed there, or if you are somehow connected to any of their employees through your current connections. Request introductions if this is the case.
  • Join groups and add value. Research the groups that the people you want to do business with are members of, and join them yourself. Add value and set yourself up as an expert by thoughtfully answering any questions posed there. Direct messages can be sent to other group members even if there are not yet connections, so use this to your advantage in building relationships.

Successful lead generation is easily managed once a plan is made and followed. Focused and consistent effort to grow your network in smart ways will pay off in major dividends once you let your increased network know that you’re looking for help in lead generation.

Does your social branding or web presence need help? Contact us today!