In short, because your business's very survival depends on it. The tools you need to learn about and how to use and start using are easier than you think. So if you have not gotten started, you need to get started now.
You must learn how to do this or be left behind. It's as simple as that.
Of course, nothing is more effective than good ole fashionable, face-to-face Business Networking. Referral Based Marketing is still about meeting in person. In person meeting is still the strongest tool in building relationships. The Online world merely lets you connect with more people a lot faster.
In today's competitive marketplace you need every edge you can get.
The Online world not only gives you the ability to make more new connections faster, but also gives you the ability to find your target market faster. This Social Media Technology gives you the ability to leverage your time in a powerful way.
What should I do first? LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter?
Twitter and Facebook have their place in the Business Networking Online world, but if you are just starting out, start with LinkedIn. The other two can come later, but first things first. Maximize your use of LinkedIn.
Remember, online tools like LinkedIn are just that, tools. Like the other tools, LinkedIn can be used in many different ways depending upon what you want to achieve. This discussion is part of using advanced techniques which is a topic for another article. Let me just say, LinkedIn is good for expanding your scope for a job search and will become more valuable over time but it's really powerful tool for referral based marketing campaigns as an aid to business networking professionals.
Here are some quick start suggestions to get you up to speed with the LinkedIn tool.
10 LinkedIn Quick Start Tips –
1. If you do not have one, setup a LinkedIn account. It takes about 5 minutes. Start with the free account. The benefits a paid LinkedIn account is an advanced topic outside the scope of this article.
2. Your LinkedIn Profile must be complete and most importantly, keyword optimized for search. Hint: Keep tweaking your LinkedIn Profile as it's the center piece of the tool.
3. You will find great videos to watch about using LinkedIn at the LinkedIn YouTube Channel. Watch them all at least once. Become proficient in using LinkedIn's Advanced Features along with other areas of the site. Just like learning to use any tool, you need to know it well to make money with it.
4. You must participate in LinkedIn Groups. Be active. Select Groups where your target audience is located hanging hanging out with other folks just like you. Figure out how to get in front of people who may want to hire you if you're seeking employment or potential synergistic referral business partners if you're a business networker. Engage in Discussions that matter to the Group versus yourself. You want to engage other participants.
5. Start by Searching for and joining LinkedIn Groups. I am the Co-Founder of the Groups called Palm Beach Business Connection, Broward Business Connection, Dade Business Connection, Martin County Business Connection. These are examples of well organized and well moderated business networking groups for South Florida local business professional. These Groups foster referral based business networking by providing the appropriate amount and type of structure and programs to help its members to succeed. Search for them and see for yourself.
FYI – Be aware that most of the LinkedIn Groups are spammy bulletin boards because they are not managed well. You'll find out a lot the quality of the Group when you attempt to connect with its members. Try lots of Groups then narrow the field based on results.
6. You must grow your LinkedIn Connections List large. Thought some people believe you should connect only with people you actually know and be selective, etc, personally, I like to connect with everyone who wants so connect and then I'll search for my goals using the LinkedIn Advanced Search Features. Once again it depends on your own marketing objectives.2
7. Start searching for people you know and invite to connect. You have 3,000 LinkedIn Invitations to spend and that's it. There are plenty of other ways to Connect with folks so do not worry too much about this for now. Such advanced topics are outside the scope of this article.
Just get started Connecting now.
8. Try a service like TopLink to grow your list for you even faster.
9. Start turning your Connections into Relationships. When you connect with someone, send then a message to connect with you in a different way, like a phone call. Be sure to use your Business Networking skills and start to deepen the relationship by asking how you can help them.
Here's an idea: Just pick up the phone and start calling people who connected with you and say, "I just want to thank you for connecting with me.
10. Have fun with this. Seriously, the journey is a big part of this relationship building experience. If you invest the time and effort and get in the precedent 9 steps down to a science, it will become so much fun you will not feel like you're working when you are doing your Business Networking activities.
Business networking, like any marketing process, is about numbers. The more business professionals that you can meet in the shortest period maximizes your earnings potential. Using LinkedIn will greatly help leverage your time in this effort. Not using it well will but you at a competitive disadvantage.
Source by Jeffrey Manz