When you’re running a business you need to be visible, so you meet potential customers and they find out how amazing you are!

When I say ‘meet’, I don’t necessarily mean physically meet people – that’s only part of the process; you also need to meet people digitally – and you can meet many more people digitally than it’s possible physically.  That means that whatever you publish or present is well-focused and helps people to understand the benefits of what you do.

Strategy first

Before you rush out and start posting and joining networking groups it’s important that you know where your tribe hang out.  For instance, if your target audience is stay-at-home Mums, you probably aren’t going to meet many of them on LinkedIn – but Pinterest might be a great place to get involved.

This means you need to have a clear vision of your ideal client, who they are, what they do, what they are worrying about, what they like to do best, their personal style and what they want – and anything else that will help you to get your message on target.  This will ensure that everything else you do is laser-focused on reaching people like this and delivering information that engages them.

Content is King!

The secret of gaining a good reputation is to share loads of value.  This ticks a number of boxes:

  • It engages people who may become clients at some point
  • It influences what people say about you (and may result in a recommendation or two)
  • It sets you up as an authority or thought-leader in your industry
  • It shows you know your stuff and positions you as an expert

So aim to deliver value in most of what you publish online – whether that’s posts on social media, articles and blog posts, your website content, newsletters, lead magnets and email communications.

The people who post thoughtlessly quickly tarnish their reputations as they post things on social media that may not put them – and their business – in the best light.  The concept of having a ‘personal’ account on a social media platform doesn’t work any longer – everyone sees everything.  If you choose to be on social media, you must be aware that everything you post or share says something about you – whether it’s a political news story or a cute kitty video.

Networking for business

During the recent period of being locked in our homes, networking has moved online.  In fact, networking has been online for a long time – that’s what social media platforms are for.  [Mini-rant: I’ve never understood people who don’t have a good headshot on their social media profiles – it’s the equivalent of walking into a networking group, making eye-contact and saying ‘Hello’.  You don’t go to a live networking event with a paper bag hiding your face!]

For some networking groups networking online, using Zoom or Remo or something similar, has been a temporary solution and as the rules relax many are going back into the room.  However, some have now got a hybrid Room & Zoom approach and some will never be ‘in the room’ as it’s not geographically feasible with people from all round the country – or, indeed, all over the globe – coming together digitally.

Regardless of whether you meet physically or digitally your reputation is built on what you say, not only in your one minute pitch or 10 minute presentation, but also in every conversation in breakout rooms or 1-2-1 situations.

It’s important to be authentic – it’s difficult to maintain a persona that isn’t natural, but you must also remember that, however friendly you get, you are always representing your business and may need to consider what you tell people – and what you don’t.

Every time you have the opportunity to speak to the group whether that’s for 30 seconds or 30 minutes, it’s an opportunity to educate them about your services and the problems you solve for clients – don’t waste it!