Navigating Networking: 4 Tips For The Small Business Owner

When you set your sights on growing your small business, the task may seem daunting. Looking at larger businesses in your market may give you some ideas on where you see yourself in the future, but taking the appropriate steps to get there requires taking advantage of the opportunities available to you now. Networking via digital media is a great way to start. Here are a four tips on creating a larger digital footprint for your small business.

Make networking a priority

It’s one thing to know that you should be using various online and digital platforms to get your message out, but another to take action. Make someone in your company accountable for the task. Assign an individual to spearhead the initiative and remember to give support. This may include a small team or assistant to help out if needed, as well as a reasonable budget. Some ad placements or sponsorships will cost money. If you are self-employed, be sure to add it to your schedule. Carve out real time for the task instead of considering it an afterthought. The difference will show. Finally, be sure to track what’s happening. Check your website traffic and be aware of who is commenting on your social media or leaving feedback via reviews or ratings.

Connect with professional agencies in your area

As your business grows, you want to present yourself as a company or service that is reliable and trustworthy. Not only will it serve to endorse you with potential customers, but also with other businesses in your area. Make connections at your local Chamber of Commerce and register with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). When you join an agency like the BBB, you agree to adhere to a certain standard of conduct. If you are in good standing, you’re able to use the BBB logo in your marketing. This can help you gain a certain level of trust in your business community. Having this type of connection will be especially useful if your business is ever the subject of negative media attention, like during the supposed ACN scam.

Create a strong digital presence

As you cultivate a digital presence across all platforms, be sure to keep it up-to-date. This is not an instance of “if you build it, they will come.” Sure, potential customers may be able to find you online or through your social media accounts, but if you don’t entice them and keep them current on what’s happening in your company, you won’t attract any kind of dedicated following. Not only is this an opportunity to build your client base, but with a stronger online presence and a larger social following you’ll be in a better position to negotiate symbiotic relationships with larger companies. This can help grow your business significantly in larger circles.

Collaborate with a blog

For a while, it seemed like everyone was creating his or her own personal blog. While blogging and vlogging have changed over the years, one thing has remained constant: it can be a very powerful tool in reaching an audience in a “real” way. If it suits your business model, you may want to start a blog for your company yourself. However, partnering with a larger blog, or offering a sponsorship is also a good way to network with someone who has a larger stake in the business world. Make no mistake, some bloggers and vloggers have spawned large empires. Getting your small business associated, even in a small way, may lead to big gains in the future.

Whatever your approach to networking, remember that significant growth usually takes a good amount of time. It’s rare for a company to become huge “overnight.” Start by taking small steps, but keep your plan in place. Use partnerships and agencies that are already in place to get your name out there in a bigger circles.

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