Effective networking has been one of the cornerstones of building great businesses, since the dawn of time. Before the explosion of social Media it was a pretty simple process and was conducted face to face, at events designed to build relationships and meaningful connections.

All the new social media options available today have completely changed the game, and presented us with a myriad of new ways of opening doors. This new form of media presents us with a number of innovative options for identifying and finding the right people to connect with, allowing us to become far more effective with our networking and marketing activities. All these changes are affecting not only the way we connect, but also the pace and scope of the connections we are able to make in a very short space of time.

These changes have seen a massive paradigm shift in how we function, communicate and do business, both online and offline. It has now become more important than ever to be highly versed in the art of effective networking. Building quality relationships and making real meaningful connections is still important. But the new high tech methods of networking have now made it far easier to find the right people to connect with and the process of making contact with them is far more streamlined.

No matter how technologically advanced we get; it will always be human beings that will make the final decisions. The principles of networking will always apply. The more people you really connect with and the more people you can offer mutually beneficial opportunities to, the better and more effective will be your network. Technology is not changing this it is just changing how we get to make these connections.

The internet and social media have changed the networking and marketing playing field forever. You can now be sitting in your bedroom at 3 am in the morning communicating with someone anywhere in the world. Technology has turned us into a completely 24 hour society, where different time zones are virtually irrelevant. If you are willing and able to put in the effort, you can connect with anyone, anywhere at any time.

The trick to use this amazing new technology effectively is to carefully select the right people to connect with on the three main social media networks, namely LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Over time keep adding real meaningful value to your network by posting useful information, which will serve your social networking community, without directly trying to sell anything or promote your product or services. As you keep posting relevant, valuable and useful information on your social media networks, you will gradually be viewed as a subject or industry expert.

I post inspirational and educational articles and quotations every day on all my social networks. It has taken me about 18 months of consistently posting relevant material, which is viewed as valuable by my network, for me to be viewed as an expert in the field of human behaviour and expanded awareness. This status has resulted in a number of the people in my network contacting me to facilitate Key Note addresses or workshops at their respective businesses. You can do the same for your business if you post relevant material daily, which will be of real value and have relevance and meaning to your social network.

Never try to promote yourself directly on any social media site. As soon as anyone in your network feels that you are directly promoting your products or services via any social media channel, they will immediately stop following your work and will leave your network. The trick is to invest time into posting great material every day, which is of value to everyone in your network and then to wait for them to contact you. I know this seems counter intuitive.

The reality is that your social media network is no different to any networking meeting that you attend. When you attend any networking event, you work to build connection with the right people, so that you can build mutually beneficial relationships with them. This helps you ensure that over time they get to know like and trust you. Building trust and connection is a process it is not an event. It takes time and effort to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with anyone. This relationship you are attempting to build, results in both parties benefitting, you provide solutions to satisfy their needs and they purchase your products or services.

If you attend any networking meeting where you stand on your sales platform, trying to tell everyone how wonderful your products or services are. Everyone at the meeting will give you a wide berth and avoid you all together. The same is true for your social media strategy. Never try to sell anything on your social media platforms. Invest time to build connection with the right people and over time you will have created one of the most powerful networking and marketing systems possible.

Building your network and consistently posting valuable material takes time and effort. It can be a very challenging thing to do, as it can take quite a while before the people in your network learn to know, like and trust you enough to want to do business with you. The trick is to be consistent and post great material at minimum twice a week. You cannot just occasionally dip your toes into the social media pond and expect to get results. Consistency and relevance are the two bookends of a great social media strategy.

Once anyone that is interested in doing business with you, makes contact, take the conversation off the social media forum and continue the interaction via email, texting, telephone or face to face meetings. Once someone in your network has shown an interest in your services, they have been following your work for a while and over time have grown to view you as an expert. They already know like and trust you, so all that is left for you to do, is to convince them that you are indeed capable of delivering on your promises.

The quantity of unsolicited emails, messages and advertising messages we are exposed to every day, has made people detest spam. Anyone that uses this as a means to try to communicate their marketing message will very quickly alienate prospects. Never ever send out a bulk non personal email that has no soul or meaning to the recipient. This spray and pray strategy does far more harm than good. People are so overwhelmed with emails and information, that when they receive unsolicited messages they actually get turned off by the sender of these messages. The only way to use email marketing effectively is to use a carefully targeted and focused strategy, which includes targeted marketing, one on one scaling and personal, meaningful messages.

We live in such a now world, with instant popcorn, microwaves and instant everything that we expect networking to be instant too. Nothing could be further from the truth. Building relationships and connecting with people takes time. Your social media strategy is no different. The only way to succeed with your social media strategy is to accept that building connection with the right people will take time and effort. You need to be patient and measure your progress weekly to see what impact your strategy is having. Your computer guru, can very easily send you weekly reports on the activity on all your social media sites.

The trick to ensure that you connect with the right people is to follow basic business principals. First identify who you ideal client is by identifying specific demographic, psychographic and emotive characteristics, which your perfect client should possess. Once you have identified who your ideal client is. The next step is to search via Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to identify exactly which business you want to connect with. Once you have identified the businesses you want to do business with, next search for the individuals within those organisations. These are the people you want to build connection with.

Many people have missed the point of an effective social media strategy and they have attempted to connect with thousands of people on their social media platforms. Very often these people are not interested in your product or service and will find no value in your postings. A superficial connection with thousands of people is of little or no value. To become really successful and turn yourself into a super achiever requires searching for the right people to connect with. Identifying the ones that you feel will contribute to your future success. Then developing a focused strategy to communicate with and build long term connections with these people.

Next begin to write articles that will be of service to your social media network. Each week view the reports from your computer guru and see what type of articles or posts get the best response. Over time keep polishing your posts until you consistently get good responses and positive feedback from your network. The more often you measure your performance and massage your message, the better the final result of your social media campaign will be.

The art of connecting, referring, helping people and sharing information about products and services has not changed. Networking remains a mutually beneficial process where people share ideas, leads, information, resources and support each other. None of these universal truths has changed. The main thing technology has changed is the pace of discovering the right people to connect with and number of contacts we can make in a very short space of time has grown exponentially. Social media has not changed the fundamental business principals, people still buy from people they know, like and trust.


Author's Bio: 

Andrew is an expert and master teacher that speaks and teaches self-leadership, expanded awareness, effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. He guides individuals and business professionals, to identify, prioritise and carry out the right activities, consistently, so that they can maximise their personal effectiveness and deliver their best; on time, every time. All the tools and techniques Andrew teaches; have been tested in the laboratory of his own life and the many successful businesses he has owned and led, over the past 20 years. These strategies have seen Andrew achieve financial independence and reach a point of harmonious balance in all areas of his life. His purpose is to help as many people as possible, achieve similar or better results and to show them how they can realise their full potential, both personal and professionally and to help them live a meaningful life, where they are fulfilled in all areas. http://www.andrewhorton.co.za