Networking has always been a powerful business strategy. It will never go out of style. However, the ways business owners and managers are networking have changed in the past 20 years. The world has shifted to online reputation management and social media networking. If you are not proactively building a strong online network, you are falling behind.
Sure, nothing compares to a firm handshake in a personal meeting, and a quality phone call will accomplish more than emails and social media posts/tags when it comes to building a long-term business relationship. Still, online is where most business is done these days and it will only continue to go further in that direction as time goes on and technology keeps evolving.
Let’s look at a few online networking strategies you can implement:
1. Social Media
This is number one for a reason. Social media allows you to connect with so many different people (other business owners, vendors, employees, competitors, and customers) easily and immediately. You need to be active on social media to build up your network. The bigger your network and the more influence you have in the social marketplace, the better off your business will be. There’s no doubt about that.
2. Email Outreach
Email is still a useful tool for connecting with existing customers and business partners. You need engaging messages and reasons for people to open up emails. Just think about how many emails you get in an average day. Most of them are junk/spam, so think about how you can get people to first open the email, then read it and take action.
SEO and online networking may not seem to be related, but they certainly go hand-in-hand. Being good at both is good for business because they impact one another. If you have good SEO, that means more people visiting your website and your social media pages. That leads to a bigger/better online network. A bigger online network creates more links and interactions that are in turn good for your SEO.
4. Link Sharing
Speaking of links, we recently posted a whole article about incorporating links into web content. One of the ideas discussed was link sharing. Reach out to your vendors and business associates. Post links to their sites on your page, and ask them to do the same for you. Those inbound links will boost organic traffic and SEO appeal.
5. Customer Reviews
Encourage all your customers to write reviews. Whether the comments show up on your website, your Facebook page, Google, Yelp or any other review sites, they are all good for business. Keep your eyes peeled for negative reviews and make a concerted effort to engage those reviewers for better online reputation management. Make sure you have pages on Yelp, Google/Google Maps, YP.com and any review sites that relate specifically to your particular business (i.e., Angie’s List, RepairPal, HomeAdvisor, TripAdvisor, etc.).
6. Online Advertising
Strategies 1-5 you can technically do for free if you want to devote the time to your social media pages and web content. Online advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook/LinkedIn ads, etc.) will cost you some money, but it is another good way to boost web traffic, get more likes/follows on social media and increase SEO.
These are just some of the basic strategies you can implement to help improve your online reputation through social media and other online networking opportunities. If you want to grow your business and keep moving forward with today’s (and tomorrow’s) incredible technology, online networking is the key.
For more information about online networking or SEO-building web content, contact NextGear Marketing today for a free marketing consultation.