In the business world, there is a phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. This phrase neatly sums up the power of networking. Networking can grow your personal brand like nothing else. When you are serious about building your personal brand, there is really no alternative to networking. The important people in your network can support and sustain you while creating a win-win solution for you and the people you network with. Your message reaches them. Personal branding establishes who you are and this is done by constantly reinforcing your life and career message. Networking is a great tool that can help you grow your personal brand because it is one of the best ways to grow contacts. It can put you on the front foot by enhancing your personal brand image within your organization and beyond.
What is Networking
Networking, when used in the context of career advancement is understood to be a process that lets professionals working in the same industry build meaningful relationships. You may think of it as an invisible web connecting you and multiple others in a similar profession. Each connected strand in this web is a platform of assistance and information. The web is a living entity so long as you continue making connections and feeding the connections through regular interactions. The web shrinks only when regular interactions end. Your goal should be to go on constantly enhancing the web through new connections, information sharing and seek the support of networked professionals when necessary. It is a two-way street that must be assiduously maintained and nurtured.
Networking has several goals such as build relationships, create new avenues for your business, attract and retain customers, standout, and several more. Relationship matters because it helps the business grow on trust. Networking lets you experiment with new business models, while your original model might not have worked. Networking allows you to stand out. Clients begin to recognize you.
Online business is ubiquitous with its flexibility and ease. This has also led to the emergence of stiff competition. With too many online businesses, the need to stand out and beat the competition is the best strategy. The consumers will definitely prefer to do business with someone they trust. Building relationships, therefore, matter.
Here’s how you can use the networking tools to build a great personal brand.
This is a great tool to build your personal brand along with enhancing your web of networking. It is a social media site, way too professional that attracts a large number of professionals from diverse fields. You begin by building a great profile followed by joining the right groups within this social media site. Communication is the key tool in building and strengthening your brand. When you actively communicate to and fro with the other members, you are also simultaneously attracting them to your brand. The important thing to note here is that instead of selling to the people in your network, you need to send personalized messages.
Interview Style Podcasts
Podcasting, especially interview-style podcasting is a highly innovative tool to promote name and network. It creates a win-win scenario for you and the person you interview. You develop a relationship with the person and both of you get more visibility among the growing audience. Over time, both your professional network and audience grow. For those who think this could be a complex process, the good news is that tools like Anchor.fm let anyone without training or support create, manage and distribute powerful content from the comfort of your home computer or phone.
Other Innovative Approaches
There are several other innovative approaches to build a great network for personal branding. For instance, you can organize local meetups, host private group dinners, and contribute to industry publications. There are platforms like Meetup.com that helps you create local events. You are considered a thought leader when you take initiative to organize a meetup while coming into direct contact with likeminded people from your industry.
Hosting private dinners for small groups of likeminded people is a great way to network and gain branding. The food and socialization often go well. People will remember your message in the background of the delicious meal and the chosen venue provided an open and engaging discussion with the select number of people take place.
Contributing to publications is an honor that positions you as the thought leader in the industry. In addition, you begin to be recognized and taken seriously for your ideas. In effect, you are continually reinforcing your brand and attracting more followers.
Networking is a great tool to build and enhance your personal brand. As you master the skill of networking you emerge as the thought leader in your niche while continually growing your relevance and followers.