One of the ways you can use social media platforms to promote you and your business is for social networking. The most common platforms for this to exist on is Twitter and LinkedIn and, in certain circles, Google +.
Twitter, especially, is very good at enabling micro and small businesses to connect with each other. This is due to its completely open format (anyone can see any tweet at anytime, without even having an account) and also its viral nature.
What online networking can’t get away from though is people’s need to connect in a more personal way, or in a face-to-face situation. Business relationships can be started and strengthened online but there is still no taking away from getting out and meeting those online contacts in real life. Whether it is at a networking meeting that has grown out of the social network, or in a one-to-one meeting.
My experience since I have moved to Norfolk reflects this. I have met other businesses and business professionals who I had already started to follow/communicate with on Twitter before I moved here, and now have strong relationships with. I am in no doubt that by regularly seeing these contacts at business networking meetings and Tweetups, and communicating with them online in-between, that my business relationship with them has been accelerated.
I am a regular attendee of the Fabcom Final Friday networking meetups. At the last meeting I met a new member who I didn’t have a chance to exchange business cards with, but I found and introduced myself to him through LinkedIn and have subsequently already refereed some business to him.
I am also one of the organisers of Norfolk Tweetup. Tweetups happen all over the world as an opportunity for Tweeters to get together and the Norfolk Tweetup is no different. It has now been running for nearly a year and is well attended. I have seen Tweeters strike up an immediate rapport with a fellow local business at these events, that they have never physically met before, but have engaged with on Twitter.
Social media and social networking are now an integral and essential part of any business marketing plan. Like any tools they need to be used properly to achieve the best results and combining online social networking with face-to-face networking is the best way to promote you and your business.