Are you making avoidable mistakes when you network offline? Maybe there are some things that you could do better. I recently started getting out of the office and back on the offline networking bandwagon.
I love building new relationships and I also enjoy really getting to know those that don’t use social media as much I do. Social media is what I do and so sometimes I take it for granted AND sometimes forget that not all entrepreneurs are online all the time like me.
The Elevator Speech Dilemma
I’m good at listening to all the elevator pitches, shaking hands and exchanging business cards. What I’m not good at is explaining thoroughly what I do in a short amount of time. I also notice that I’m not the only one that has issues in this area of networking.
The remedy is simple in my eyes. Have an online presence. If nothing else have a one page brochure type of website where potential connections can get more information about you and your business. Better yet set up a LinkedIn page.
There are a couple of things that I look for on a business card. Name, website, email. I don’t care about the address. I don’t care about the social media profiles you have listed.
I want to be able to find information about your name and company online. Why? Well, a business card can only hold so much information. Using online resources is a great way to really expand on your skills, work, services and you as a person.
I made sure to add “you as a person” to that list. Networking is about developing relationships. The people who you meet want to have a relationship with you as a person and not the company as a whole. There are however some massive mistakes that are made by every entrepreneur at one time or another.
Here Are Some Social Media Offline Business Networking Mistakes to Avoid:
- Your Facebook account is a personal profile. As a business you don’t need “Friends” you need “Likes”. You can read Make the Correct Social Media Profile Choices, Business vs Personal
- You are participating on social media, but there are no social icons on your website and there are none listed on your business cards.
- Your goal may be to be recognized on a global level, but you participate little to none on social media. This is a huge mistake as social media marketing can increase your brand’s visibility exponentially if done correctly.
- You’re a social media company but your own company’s social media profiles suck and only have tumble weed rolling around on it. Personally I would not trust my social media management to a company that can’t manage their own accounts. A social media company should not have to provide a resume for their work. Their own social media accounts speak volumes as to what you can expect to receive.
- You’re a franchise owner and all the social media you link to is for the main franchise accounts. The people who you meet want to follow a person not a logo. I’m always disappointed when I go to the main franchise site and there is nothing that tells me about the person I met. That is a Bummer!
- You don’t have a LinkedIn profile. All savvy networkers have an online presences. You should definitely have a profile set up on “THE” number one Professional network which is LinkedIn. This will be an extension of your business card. If you think you don’t have time to create a profile, make time. You could simply post your resume and update it often. You’ll be surprised at the impact your LinkedIn profile will have.
- You have a LinkedIn account, but there is no associated email listed. Did you know that potential connections need to have your email in order to request a connection? You can take a page out of my LinkedIn playbook and create an email specifically for LinkedIn. This will only be effective if you own your business website domain. (BlueHost Web Hosting) I simply created an email account on the SmartOfficeHelp.com’s domain called LinkedIn. If someone wants to connect with me they just need to use LinkedIn email I provide . I made sure it is at the very top of the summary section for all to see. The statement reads
FYI, I also route this email to my main inbox so I can respond to any inquiries. As a side note, you can connect with me over on LinkedIn if you like.
- You have a website listed on your business card that is obviously unfinished or seriously outdated. I think it is safe to say that this could be a deal breaker for a potential client. Again the onlooker will wonder if you are taking your business seriously.
- You have YouTube listed as one of the social media networks you participate on, but there are no videos, no headers, no nothing. An inactive account should not be listed on your website, business cards or any printed marketing materials. It just shouldn’t.
- Your social media is all logo and no human. Again this is a trap that most franchise owners fall into. There is no personality in a logo. Purchasing decisions have some level of emotions involved. Can one be emotional when dealing with a logo. I think it is safe to say NO.
- You want people to follow you on Google+ but you have not taken the time to request a custom URL. This is a networking blockade that can easily be avoided. It takes two seconds to request a custom URL. As a matter of fact Google will continue to prompt you to select a custom url whenever you log into your account.
- You use a catch-all email address or an email that is not domain specific on your business card. Ex. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. If you’re serious about your business get a domain name and give contacts a way to communicate with a person.
- Attempting to seal the deal with someone you just met at the networking meeting. This is a huge mistake unless that person has genuinely shown an interest in what you have to offer. Get the persons contact information and build your relationship outside of the networking event. Social media is a great way to not only get more information about a business but you can also have a direct line to that person to set up additional relationship meetings.
- Not connecting with the people you meet at all outside of the networking function or meeting. After you get back to the office send an non-selling introduction of yourself and business. Connect on LinkedIn if possible. Follow your new connections on social media or comment on their blogs. It is all about developing relationships. One meeting a month does not a business relationship make.
These are just a few, but I could go on and on.
My advice is to go beyond the networking function, make contact and use social media to continue to develop meaningful relationships. Always remember not everyone you meet will be your customers, but they could become your brand ambassador by referring your business to others.
You have to give to get but make sure you have everything in place to receive it. – Elizabeth Hall