By Annie Everill, Digital Marketing Executive, Imaginaire
To benefit personal and business growth, networking is an essential part of every industry, especially small businesses that are trying to get their name out there. Networking events such as trade fairs, conferences or local community events enable small businesses to thrive and build relationships whilst promoting their brand and reputation. Small businesses are now utilising traditional and digital methods to network with people in their local communities or even on a global scale.
Types of business networking
- Local connections and communities
- Trade fairs
- Career events
- University/school events
- Business conferences
- Social media networking
Benefits of small business networking
Businesses small and large take great benefits from networking and socialising. For small businesses, these events and opportunities eliminate the need for marketing or digital costs and are a proactive way of making the business known. As most large businesses already have a reputation and familiarity, these events aren’t as crucial in their business strategy. Here are some core benefits of small business networking.
Conferences, trade shows, local groups and career fairs are all places which offer the ideal space for sharing knowledge and learning more about an industry. As there will be other industry experts at these events, everyone can share thoughts, ideas, opinions and the latest trends. Many of these events come with speakers, presentations or webinars where successful members will share their experiences and help all attendees.
Whether it’s a referral, a free product sample or a job prospect, these events are ideal for all forms of business opportunity. It’s vital to be open-minded when attending these locations as many people attend for the purpose of recruitment or social networking. When talking to like-minded industry leaders, this can also lead to collaboration opportunities, limited memberships or discounted produce. Networking events will also be a place where recruitment companies seek out skilled workers who they believe will meet their client’s requirements.
Every company’s aim is to attract customers and successfully sell their goods and services. Networking is an ideal place to attract new customers, work on customer retention and create a good sense of trust. Not only do these events provide reliability and legitimacy, but it’s a great chance to build relationships with potential customers on a more personal level. Many businesses also include discounts or offers which are only available at these events.
Networking and talking to strangers are bound to help anyone’s confidence. For many, these situations will be out of their comfort zone so could be a big deal to attend. This is an important attribute for a business owner as business growth is reliant on engaging with people, customers and connections. Some attendees are also asked to speak to present at these shows which is a great feature to include on resumes or portfolios.
Social networking for small businesses
In today’s business world, social networking is arguably just as effective and important as traditional face-to-face networking. Social networking is the use of internet-based social media platforms to connect with friends, family, peers, employees, employers and partners. During the pandemic specifically, companies and institutions began to utilise the online world, taking events to webchats and daily interaction to direct messaging. Here a just a few ways and benefits in which social networking can help out small businesses.
Social media networking is a great form of marketing, combining communication with creativity, it is a subtle way of promoting and advertising business materials or services. Social marketing can include social media posts, email marketing and outreach. Attending events are also great locations to pass out flyers, business cards and marketing materials.
Using social media to communicate and connect offers small businesses the chance to advertise on a larger, more global scale. Unlike face-to-face interactions or even web pages, social media platforms attract customers and users from all over the world, not just a local area or country. Using platforms such as Linkedin or Facebook can open doors to global business opportunities or partnerships through simple interaction, messaging and online engagement.
Using online platforms can work wonders for businesses’ SEO. Getting sites and webpages higher up in the search results attracts more traffic and ultimately results in successful exposure. Social networking sites are an easy way to link to websites, blog pages, articles and services which all contribute to good SEO.
Staying up to date with trends
Staying active online can keep brands up to date-and on top of current affairs. Social media is now swarmed with news and updates regarding technology, economics, design and trends in every industry. These platforms not only expose you to newly developed softwares and technologies but also give easy access to competitors and industry research.