No matter what stage in your career you are at, marketing is pivotal. No matter whether you are starting your first online business or your company has been up and running for several years now, you need to make the most of all leads that present themselves. The Internet has changed the face of networking. If you are to master this important art and take your online business to the next level, you need to make sure you avoid the common mistakes that a lot of people make, which are covered in further detail below…
This is a contributed post. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.
Not being clear in your intention
One of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make when it comes to online networking is failing to be clear in their intentions. You need to be upfront about the value you can bring to others. Don’t over-promise and under deliver. You need to engage with others in a genuine and authentic way. Avoid hollow promises of success and gimmicks if you want to establish yourself as an authority in the field. If you do this, you will soon need no introduction. Sell your knowledge and be true to yourself. You will set yourself up for failure if you network based on false pretences.
Not having patience
This is a difficult one. You are passionate about your business and you want to get things up and running as soon as possible. However, building a professional relationship can be likened to building a romantic one. This is not to say that you should start flirting! But, think about it: you wouldn’t dive in head first with a new partner, would you? Endless texts screams desperation, and it puts people off. The same sort of effect happens if you non-stop pester a lead and expect to build strong relationships overnight. Yes, you need to work hard to build these relationships, but you also need to give them time to grow and develop naturally.
Failing to stay in the know
As a business owner, it is important that you stay up to date with all the trends and activities that are going to take your company to the next level. This is definitely the case when it comes to networking. Websites like Yoobly provide lots of useful tips and advice on networking, and you should also keep up to date with any events that are happening in your area. By being in the know, you will always be one step ahead.
A lot of online business owners make the mistake of assuming they can have a more laid back and informal approach, especially when trying to connect with leads over the Internet and not face-to-face. Of course, there will be some circumstances whereby this is acceptable. However, you need to create a professional image.
Jumping the gun
Jumping the gun too soon is an easy mistake to make, as you are in a rush to get your business to the level you want it to be at. This is something you have probably experienced yourself. You may have liked a company’s social media account, only to immediately get cold messages as a consequence. This breaks trust and will leave your network looking very bare.
Get to know your network
Thanks to the Internet, you can find almost anything about a person, which makes it easier to network online. Before you connect with someone, do a bit of research. Get to know their personal life, accomplishments, and interests so that you can build real connections with the person. Of course, don’t let them know that you have been researching them online. Simply use this information as a platform for fast-tracking your relationship.
Not following through
This is another common mistake that a lot of new business owners tend to make. They expect other people to come to them. However, this does not always happen. The other person may be waiting for you to contact them, or they could have simply been too busy. You need to follow-up with all of your contacts if you are to build strong and meaningful relationships and a good network. Every now and then, schedule a call with your contact or drop them an e-mail. Don’t go overboard, but keep the relationship flowing.
Not adding any value
Why are you networking? Of course, you are looking to grow your business and find opportunities to increase your chances of profit and success. However, a business relationship is a two-way street, and so if you are to expect this, you also need to give something in return. As an entrepreneur, you should always be looking for ways to connect with other people by enriching their life and adding value to it. You won’t build trust or likeability if you expect something without giving anything of value back.
Make the most of technology
Last but not least, there are many different platforms, tools and software solutions that can help online business owners to network more effectively today. There are powerful communities that can help you to build successful relationships, so make the most of these. This may be a general business platform, or it could be something that is specific to your industry.
If you can avoid the mistakes that have been mentioned above, you can master the art of networking. Networking is vital for any online business. You can’t simply create a website and expect it to happen overnight. It is all about building up valuable connections and getting word out about your business, and this is where effective marketing comes in, and where it will continue to come in as you try to grow and expand your business.