One very important lesson in a business setting is the way to properly network. Social media has opened up a world of connectivity, but if not used properly it can also bring about disconnect amongst people through inappropriate greetings and interactions. Today, Untamed Publishing has the honor of having guest blogger, Timeless V, two-time published author to write about the importance of Networking and the proper techniques and etiquette to use. If you’re serious about your business and brand, now is the time to be serious about networking. It is one major key ingredient to any successful business.
We present to you…Timeless V's Networking Blog
By definition network means a group or system of interconnected people or things.
When it comes to mingling and trying to converse with others, I’ll be the first to admit, I struggle. I’ve always considered myself a good "people reader" by being in someone’s presence and watching their movement as they speak…taking in their vibe. Yet, in a world that is social media driven, people can be anyone they want or need to be. It’s become a little harder to get a good vibe on people through the vast world of the internet and social media, but it is not impossible.
Being in the literary world going on four years now, I am introduced to new outlets and people all the time. I’ve met some great people as well as not so great. I’ve also learned that people will say what they have to, to get what they want and then they are done. It takes time to shift through what category to place people in. It can be difficult to connect with people, especially when you feel someone has reached out to you under false pretenses, in order to connect with you and get the knowledge that you have to offer and then leave. However, you have to be mindful that business is business and personal is personal. It’s all about the approach. Sometimes, approaches create lasting associates or even friendships and sometimes, it’s simply networking for a reason. Yes, unfortunately, some approaches, as stated earlier, are simply someone creating a fake persona for their own personal gain. However, good networking is what great businesses and brands should strive for. It is all about your intention and your approach.
So how do you approach someone professionally without seeming overbearing or desperate? It’s really quite simple.
Research: Anyone who has a business can usually be found on the internet, especially if they have done socially based work such as modeling, writing a book, or releasing a song. Understand what their background consists of. If you follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, then it’s fairly easy to see if they are consistent in what they do. Just because someone says they offer a service, doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. “Likes” don’t equate to knowledge. Check out their reviews, their work, read what they post or discuss to help determine if you feel they are a business you wouldn’t mind networking with. Give good businesses whether small or large, a chance. Yet, exercise caution. Always remember: you can’t do business with everyone.
Engage in Conversation: It costs absolutely nothing to add/follow someone on the many social sites so take a moment of your time to simply say hello and thank them for the add or follow whichever it may be. Social media shouldn’t replace common courtesy. You wouldn’t walk into someone else’s home unannounced and tell them to come support you. Don’t do the same on social media. Speak to them, thank them for the add or follow, and show interest in what their business and brand is about.
Be Direct: If the only way you see to reach out to them is by Facebook messenger or Direct Message (DM) then write a quick and simple message asking is there any other type of way to connect with them (i.e. email) Again, this is after doing your research and having no other way to communicate with them. Some people don’t have IM on their phone and may not get on their computer to see a message so another way to reach out is to ask your question or questions on a post of theirs that you come across. Just remember to be courteous, especially when you aren’t acknowledging what the current post is about. Most importantly, if you are looking for a business connection, say that.
Be mindful: Although technology has made communication easy, understand that people are busy and some have come to understand that not everyone is serious. It takes time to get back to someone. However, when they do connect to you be prepared. Businesses (especially small business) may not have the time to go back and forth with emails, so have your inquires ready and thank them for the time they’ve taken to respond to you.
Show That You're Serious: Save yourself time and energy by making sure what you are asking of others (i.e. Who is your publisher?) can’t be found without simply doing a little clicking of Google search. Refer to tip number 1…research. Asking a question that can be answered by simply taking a few moments to look, can give off the wrong impression. The thought process in this is, the person or company that you're hoping to do business with may assume that your intentions are ill-willed or may call into question your work ethic. This could cause the person or business to shy away from venturing into projects with you. Don’t misconstrue this with someone who offers services to do research for you. You are paying for this information so that you don’t have to search. In this case, it’s perfectly acceptable.
Of course, there is always a list of "Do Nots" when conducting business or connecting with people. These “do nots” extend to both the inquirers and the business.
Do not take it upon yourself to tag someone in your advertisements and promotions when you have not spoken to them or properly engaged with them.
Do not offer services when you do not have your own information together. How much is it going to cost? How will payment be exchanged? A potential client shouldn’t have to pull teeth when they approach you or vice versa.
Do not put off tomorrow what you can do today. If someone contacts you, respond in a reasonable time. Most businesses will give you a Reply Message that states to allow a certain amount of business days (usually 1-3) which is fair enough time for both parties involved.
Do not take it upon yourself to add everyone from one person’s friends list to yours, and it’s definitely a no-no when you don’t plan to speak, but do plan to ask for support or advice. People do research and if they see a mutual friend, they have a tendency to reach out and ask about you. What do your credentials say about you?
Most importantly, do not approach anyone from a “friendship” angle about business. They do not know you and you do not know them. That is bad business etiquette. Even if you do know them, when speaking about business, keep it professional. There may come a time when the rapport you’ve developed amongst each other will allow you to speak on personal terms, but definitely not in the beginning.
The list can go on and on but this should start you on the right path.
No one can make it in any industry without networking with others and putting themselves out there, but your true intentions will always come out. You don’t have to step on anyone or shade anyone to get to the top. There is enough room at the top for everyone.
Even though your intentions may be good, be mindful of other’s actions. Not everyone you come across is going to be genuine.
Keep in mind: NETWORK DETERMINES YOUR NETWORTH
Having good business sense and keeping a positive rapport with others is how your business grows, if you leave a slew of bad reviews or negative feedback in your wake, it will come back around with no shade needed.
Timeless V is a traditional turned self-published author of the Amazon Bestselling poetry books, Timeless Clock and Timeless Ink. Follow her on Instagram at Timelesseverything and on Twitter @soulsista_101.
Until Next Time…