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Welcome back ladies! In the last episode, we talked about choosing your target market. Today we are going to talk about networking online and a little bit in person as well. I just did a Facebook Live in my MOMpreneur Success community group on networking online, but I thought I should also do it here as a podcast because not everyone is over there. If you aren’t in the MOMpreneur Success Community Facebook Group, and you want to join the community then go ahead and jump on over there.
So we are going to talk about networking online today. This is a topic I wanted to talk about today because in the last couple of weeks I have had a lot of people friending me on Facebook and wanting to chat with me via messenger. The conversations have been a little bit awkward. I have someone who started with Hi, How’s the weather by you? I had no idea where she was from, I had no idea how she found me and no idea what she was looking for. I kind of let this go back and forth for a little while before I finally said so how did you find me and what do you do? I found out I was a recommended person due to someone she knows that was connected to me. It’s still going a little awkwardly so pay attention to today’s podcast and don’t make the same mistakes.
I have quite a few other people that have friended me, started making some comments in my group and then messaged me. The messages went something like this, hi how are you? I saw that you are a Pinterest strategist- how did you get started in that? I go ahead and tell them and then say what do you do? They come back and say I’m a fitness or health or food or whatever their niche is and then they give me their life story. All in messengers right away. They say I’m not selling anything but is there anything I can help you with, any areas you want assistance with? I tell them I’m fine. I have tons of friends that do this, that and the other so if I wanted to work on that then I would go to them first because I don’t know you! I haven’t gotten a chance to like you or even trust you yet! Of course, I’m not actually saying all of this to them. I just say no thank you, at this time I don’t need that or I have tons of friends in my inner circle that work with that. Then it goes on to, is there someone you know that we can help together?
Again when you are networking please do not just pitch yourself the first time you are talking to someone. It turns people off. I don’t know you. This is the first time I have spoken to you. I haven’t talked to you enough to get to know you and like you. That means I don’t trust you yet. How am I going to refer you to people I know, when I have no clue who you are or what you do.
So, let’s talk about how to network appropriately online. The first thing you want to do is get to know a little bit about the person. If it’s someone that has their own podcast and you have been listening to them, or it’s someone that runs their own group and you have been in that group for a while, then you probably have a good idea about that person. If you are just starting to network and don’t know anything about the person see if they have a linked in account you can look at. Check it out. See what their history is, see what they are like. Jump over to Facebook. If they have a Facebook Page then like it. If they have a Facebook group then join it if it’s appropriate for you. Do your research and get to know the person, get to know what their personality is like. After that, you want to add value to this person. If you join their group, comment and like their posts, participate. It helps the group get engaged and I’m sure the owner will be appreciative that you are jumping in and commenting on the posts. When you do that it makes people a little less nervous to comment and like when they see that other people are doing that as well. When you are engaged in the group is shows that you aren’t just out for yourself.
Another way to add value would be to collaborate. If you are in a similar industry or a complementary industry, then maybe you can collaborate on something. There are webinars that you can do together, you can do challenges together, maybe a course together. Figure it out. It would need to be something that benefits both of you. You need to add value to their audience and they can add value to your audience. So remember, you want to be able to add value somehow. Whether you are liking, commenting, participating in their groups etc.
The next step would be to connect with them. You can reach out and say hey do you want to get on a zoom or a google hangout, which are both free, or my personal favorite which is Voxer. You don’t get to see each other face to face but it’s like a walkie-talkie app. Maybe the first time you are doing a coffee chat with someone you jump on zoom with them- it’s free for both of you- and you get to see each other face to face, get to know each other and have a little chat. Then if you hit it off on Zoom, you can create a relationship on Voxer. You can be business buddies, go back and forth to bounce ideas off of each other or just daily struggles etc. If you are in similar industries then that person is going to get it. You want to build some relationships with people before you are bouncing your ideas off of them.
If it’s someone who is local to you, see if they want to meet up in person after you have had a few chats. Get together for coffee or dinner or drinks or whatever it may be. Get to know each other a little better. Not local to you? Then continue to chat with them via google or zoom or Voxer and if there is a mutual conference that you both may be attending then plan to meet up in person. There is something about meeting people in person. It helps you connect better with them. You can have these awesome relationships with people that can end up being beneficial for both of your businesses.
I have a few examples of this. I’m going to use my favorite ladies in this podcast episode- Kirsten and Erin from Wit & Wisdom. When they started they had separate blogs, so separate companies. They met each other because (I believe this is correct) Erin was commenting and adding value in Kirsten’s community and they got to know each other. Kirsten invited her to be a guest podcast host, and it worked out so well that they started doing the podcast together. Then this past year, they combined businesses and created one new business they are doing together moving forward. That’s your definition of biz bestie right there.
Another couple people that have told their story are the All Up In Your Lady Business ladies. They have separate businesses but they do a podcast together. More recently they have started to do a few more business related things together. You have a biz bestie to bounce ideas off of each other. It’s really important you network the right way so you can meet lots of fantastic people. You are obviously not going to become biz besties with everyone that you network with. Getting to know people is a good thing! You can recommend business to them and they can recommend business to you.
After getting to know someone, then you can pitch your product or service. However, I’m going to tell you, if you have been networking and chatting back and forth, then they probably already know what you do. If they needed your services they would have asked you. It doesn’t hurt to ask but don’t get all hurt if they say I don’t need your services right now or I’m already using someone else.
In the long run, networking correctly with people is going to be good for you because just because she doesn’t need your services now doesn’t mean she won’t need them in the future. It also means that she may end up referring someone to you. Become friends. Quick rundown: get to know people first. Check out their facebook, check out their linked in, see what their personalities are like and what stage of business they are in. This is something I didn’t touch on earlier. If you are in the beginner stages and they are in the advanced stages of business, you probably won’t mesh well to become biz besties. You can definitely network and get to know each other but don’t expect to become biz besties who bounce ideas off of each other. That person is at a higher level than you and their goals are going to be different. You want to find someone that is at your level or a step above to bounce ideas off of so that you are adding value to each other. You don’t want just one person adding value to the relationship. Do a little background work, add value, like, comment, participate in their group, help add value. Collaborate with the person if it makes sense to collaborate. Do a webinar together. Do a guest blog post or ask her to guest blog post on your site. Bounce ideas off of each other. See if that will work. Connect with them: Zoom, google hangouts, Voxer: all great free products that you can use to connect with someone. Ask them if they want to have a quick coffee chat to get to know each other and build a relationship with them. If they are local to you, meet them in person. If they are not local to you, then continue to build that relationship and meet up at a conference. Refer people to them and they will refer people to you. Build a genuine connection with people and it will work out in the end.
Please PLEASE do not ask to friend someone and then immediately pitch them. It’s going to put a sour taste in people’s mouth and they are going to pass that along to other people. Someone that has connected with me recently has done that. I’ve seen them in a bunch of different groups just being overly pushy. Network the right way and get to know people and your business will grow organically.
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