[tweetmeme source=”LessonsInBiz” only_single=false]It’s great that amidst the social media hype, there are still social networking activities which do not only focus on a business’ online reputation. Local businesses have as much chance to meet with like-minded people in their community in a face-to-face setting. Don’t get me wrong, social networking sites are a great help since it has a larger scope but it is equally important that small business owners get more involved in personal commitment within their own community by being physically present in both general and exclusive events.

  1. Attending any social event isn’t just a meet and greet affair. It is a chance to bolster your presence in the industry as well as maintain your business relationships. You have to stand out. You’re not just the face on a business card. You have to make yourself memorable enough so that people around you would be familiar with who you are and what you do.
  2. First impressions may not always last but it sure feels like it so you have to ensure that from the get-go, people do not have any false perceptions of who you are and what you represent. Have you ever attended networking events? In a room full of people, the challenge is not only to stand out and be recognized. It’s also about recognizing how much of an asset you and your business are to the community.
  3. Let’s be honest, not everyone we meet in any networking event is going to be a customer. But they could be great referrers and referrals are vital to any business.
  4. Networking isn’t a one-off deal. It’s about being consistent and timely. The contacts you have gathered from social networking events aren’t just a bunch of business cards, they’re not just a group of people that you hope and wish and pray would come knocking at your door any moment. Creating relationships are fairly easy, that’s what social networking is about but maintaining and cultivating that relationship is what effective social networking is all about.
  5. Brush up on your communication skills because just standing in one corner, nodding your head at people who barely know you isn’t networking, it’s just hanging out at a networking event. You have to engage and socialize. Be active in group discussions and be confident.

Social networking is about giving and receiving. It’s a marketing strategy for people to know how you and your business are beneficial to each one of them so that you would also benefit from them. It’s supposed to be a busy, two-way street that business people need to cross in order to gain success.