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Networking doesn’t work for everyone. After all, spending time in a stifled room with people only vaguely related to your industry isn’t an ideal way to spend an afternoon. However, without networking your business can become quickly disadvantaged in the grand scheme of things.

The solution? Grab your laptop and head to the nearest café, because online networking is now your best friend.

Social media

Your first step in online networking begins with setting up your brand’s social media accounts. You can use your company logo or your own personality (which some would argue is more effective) to represent the brand.

For attracting potential customers, sites such as Twitter and Facebook are perfect. These give you the means to speak to customers one to one, and show off your brand’s personality.

However, if it‘s networking you’re after, you should join LinkedIn. Here you’re able to directly contact leaders in your industry as well as join groups filled with like-minded people.

Reach out to freelancers

If you already outsource work, such as your accounts, website maintenance or social networks, you should reach out to the people doing this for you.

People you outsource to are your primary connections for building up your own network. The chance is they’ll be more than happy to connect with you as you can leave them testimonials as well as act as a reference for new clients.

Whether they’re on LinkedIn or not, make sure you include this group in your business network.

Brand persona

Online networking provides a space where you’re able to convey the brand that you want, and put as much thought into it as you like.

You might be an anxious person who finds it difficult interacting with people in person and getting your point across effectively. This may change how your business is perceived by others.

Instead, by growing a network online, you’re able to explain your business from the comfort of your own space, without having to worry about meeting new people. This will allow you to articulate what you do successfully, as well as build your brand’s persona.

Online forums

Online forums are an easy way to jump straight into conversation with people who have similar interests. They’re also a great way for promoting your brand by finding people who are having the exact kind of trouble your service or product can prevent.

For example, if you own a freelance graphic design business, you can search on forums for people struggling to find a graphic designer and point them to your work.

Alternatively, if you’ve created a pen that never runs out, you can search for people speaking about their relentless pen problems and point them to your invention.

Have you got an online networking strategy for your small business? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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