network_online

Online – the modern way to network

In the 3rd and final article in our series on networking for wedding businesses, we bring networking right up to date and look at online networking.

Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all excellent networking tools. What’s more they are free, you can fit them around your other commitments and there’s no need to get dressed up.

You may think of social media as somewhere to promote your business, but actually it can be much more effective as a networking platform.

You can use social networking both for finding and connecting with people you’d like to get to know. And also for maintaining relationships with people you’ve met but don’t see regularly.

It can be great for finding opportunities – photoshoots, maybe a networking event you didn’t know about, other suppliers local to you who you could work with.

Twitter

This is my personal favourite for networking. Partly because there are lots of wedding businesses on there but also because it has some really useful little features that help you filter out a lot of the noise you get on social media.

Twitter Lists let you create segments of the people you’d like to stay in touch with. You can have lists for journalists, referral partners, people you want to connect with. You can then ensure you don’t miss important tweets from these people. And by re-tweeting and replying to those tweets you get and keep your name in their minds.

Twitter Chats are sessions at a specific day and time where you tweet using a hashtag – they are great for finding new people to connect with. They can be industry specific (there are lots of wedding specific chat hours such as #weddinghour), locally based – great for finding other local suppliers or more general.

Read more on Twitter for networking here.

Facebook

Facebook Groups are a good place to start – there are plenty of wedding related groups around. When you join a FB group, be an active participant. Ask questions, comment on other’s posts and you’ll gradually get to know the other active people in the group.

Unfortunately many groups simply become places where people post sales pitches rather than have conversations. Don’t be one of those people!

Make sure you Like the pages of people you want to connect with and share and comment on their posts.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is known more for its business to business connections and it’s not the platform of choice for many wedding professionals. But there are plenty on there and it’s easier to stand out. It has a great search facility to help you find people – especially useful if you want to connect with people in larger organisations.

Again, groups are really useful for online networking on LinkedIn. Check out the wedding related ones and you’ll find plenty of like-minded people there.

Others

There’s nothing to stop you using other social platforms as part of your networking. Instagram, Google+ can all be effective as long as you follow the basic principles.

Top Tips

Be a giver – share others content, have conversations, answer questions.

Be careful not to spread yourself too thinly. We all know that social media can be horribly time consuming. Pick one or at the most, two, social platforms and really concentrate on building your presence and getting to know people on there. If you don’t you’ll end up broadcasting rather than listening and connecting.

Don’t underestimate the importance of “small talk”. You wouldn’t go up to someone at a networking meeting and immediately launch into your sales pitch (at least I hope you wouldn’t).

Be patient. As with face to face networking, these things take time. You’ll usually need to maintain consistent activity over a period of time before you see solid results.

 

Check out our other networking articles

GET WEEKLY TIPS
As well as our weekly email packed with the latest advice, features and tips to help you grow your wedding business, we'll also send you the FREE guide: 7 Steps to Taking Control of Your Marketing
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

2 Comments

  1. So I have mixed feelings regarding online networking. While I understand how effective it can be with it being able to reach many people at once…I still feel face-to-face is the best. Online stuff to me tends to be a bit fake and some times makes others feel insecure or not as relevant in their field. You can stage everything for the most part. For the potential client, I think this generation enjoys videos to get the over all tone and feel for the vendor, something you can’t fully get from a tweet or Instagram pic. I think good old fashioned handshakes and matching face to name is more effective. Of course we may not always be able to do this, but making a point to for me has been by far a more effective marketing tool. My two cents.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Diana. Very interesting – especially your point that online can feel fake. Personally I love face to face networking and mostly use online to complement it, so I too find it more effective. But it is time consuming and not always easy to fit in while running a business. And many people find networking meetings daunting.