We all know that Social Media is a great way to expand your contact list and build your business in areas you might not otherwise be able to tap into. You can build regionally, nationally and globally very quickly when you expand your reach through Social Media.
But, let’s not forget the goldmine in our own back yard!
Expanding your contacts right on your local area through Facebook is a very powerful way to grow quickly in your local area, when you do it right.
First, let’s talk about the power in networking groups, Meetups and events that go on in your local area. Face to face meetings are the fastest way to build rapport, and interest. When you take it back online through Social Media, you can build rapport much more quickly.
When you attend events, network and connect with people. After some meaningful conversation, get out your phone and ask if they are on Facebook, and mention that you would love to connect.
Ask for their Facebook name and find it right there and send a friend request. Most often, they will get their phone out and add you. Or, turn it around and ask them to request you, and give them your Facebook name.
Know your exact link, so if you are facebook.com/janedoe3 – give them that, instead of just saying “it’s under Jane Doe!” It can be very cumbersome to fine people when they have a fairly common name.
Check to see if the group you are attending has a Facebook Group or page, and join it. Begin to actively engage there.
Post topics that are relevant to the group or brand timeline and are also in your area of expertise. Become known in the community as a friendly, reliable, authentic resource and someone that others will want to get to know.
Respond to the postings of others and keep the conversation going. Give people a reason to want to connect with you offline. Even though technology makes it easy to join,
there are no shortcuts to building solid relationships.
Having 5,000 contacts does you no good if no one remembers your name, who you are or what you represent.
Make sure you are NOT constantly doing nothing but promoting your business. Many of these groups do invite you to share business information. After all, these are business groups. Post more product information than opportunity. It’s fine to create some posts that mention your opportunity but don;t go overboard. Most of these people are there to promote their own business and are not looking for another business. Do it right, though, and you’ll attract a few who see the potential.
Plan events to get together from the groups at specific locations. Pick up the phone and call some of those who you meet locally through Facebook just to get to know them. Let people know that you own a business in the local area and you are always looking to expand your network and would love to meet for coffee some time to REALLY get to know each other.
Think of where you can offer referrals to others. Always start with a “give to get” philosophy and watch what happens. Make your local networking a solid part of your daily strategy and focus on quality connections. Begin to turn these into real friendships and powerful contacts in your referral network.
Set up one on ones for coffee whenever possible to get to know their business and have the opportunity to share yours. Focus not on just what that one meeting might bring with one person but how you might expand your network with their contacts and vice versa.
Once I have attended an event, met people and collected business cards, I go home THAT day and make friend requests if I didn’t do it there, sending a personal message and mentioning how nice it was to meet them at the event. I put them into a friends list that is specific to my local business networking events.
The cool thing about this is that these people are already “new warm market.” They know me from the business perspective first. I can post more business updates on my timeline and make it a custom post that only they can see. I can invite them to local, live events, and so on. The possibilities are endless.
I make sure I engage with them regularly. I take photos of the group at networking events, tag them and get social with them. I “like” their business pages and comment, and it creates a reciprocal effect.
Don’t miss the power in this huge opportunity to grow your business faster with offline networking and online social media!
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