I recently embarked into the world of networking and so far I haven’t cut off my hands in rage. Are you surprised? Only kidding. I think there is a lot of untrue statements said about networking. It can be difficult and time-consuming but in no way is it a waste of time or pointless activity.
I recently created a group on Facebook that I’m super passionate about growing and building a community. If I’m trying to boast, I want my group to become one of the most active Facebook groups within the near future. I have no idea how difficult this will be, but I’m committed and I’ve been receiving wonderful feedback on the group idea so far.
I started brainstorming a little bit because I was unsure how I would get people to join the group. I knew I needed to contact people somehow, although I didn’t really know where to start. The best way to figure out something is to just go for it and see what works. I have only networked or promoted my content through a cold message a few times before.
I went into networking with the expectations that it may not work and probably 98% of people wouldn’t even open my message.
After two weeks of cold messaging people, I had quite a few people open my message. Not only were many people reading my message, a lot of them were responding with kind and heartwarming messages. It fills me with joy when people like the idea behind my facebook group.
Right then and there my perspective on networking changed drastically and I began asking myself:
“Is networking really that difficult or are people just not good at it?”
I’ve managed to get 70 members to my new Facebook group within less than a month. For someone that is completely new to networking, I think that’s pretty dang good!
I decided I would write about my experience and what I’ve learned so far about networking. Hopefully, you can take away something from this and apply it to your future business marketing.
It should also be said I was networking through Facebook messages. While networking on any other platform wouldn’t be much different, I think it’s important to note that. To give you an idea of how I found people to message – I went to similar Facebook groups and simply clicked on “Members” which then brought me to a list of people who had just been added to the group recently.
I then go to their profile and see if they’re active and then see what type of posts they make. I used somewhat strict criteria to judge whether or not the person should be PM’d. In the world of networking, there’s really no way to know.
4 tips for improving your networking.
1 – Think long and hard about the message you send them.
First impressions last forever. These first few words you send the individual matter more than you know. Don’t overlook them.
I spent nearly 2 days on and off perfecting the message I sent to the people I wanted to inform about my new group. Funny thing is, I still don’t think it’s perfect. It’s getting a decent “conversion” rate, so I’m not disappointed at all. After reading it over and over again I was still unsure if it was even decent enough to send. Make sure your introduction message conveys your reason for messaging them. Your message should be very clear and concise.
2 – Before you link, ask.
This is probably the number 1 reason why people fail when cold messaging another person.
Out of these examples, which one are you more likely to respond to:
Ex 1: Hey here is my link for 10 ways to keep your business from failing. Please share it on your profile, bye.
Ex 2: Hey, (Name). I noticed you were interested in the topics business and entrepreneurship. I recently published an article that talks about 10 different ways to keep your business from failing. I think you could definitely learn something from this as a business owner, or even as someone looking to start a business. Let me know if you want to check it out! Thank you, I hope you have an incredible week.
The answer should be obvious. (Use Ex. 2 as a guideline for your messages) I once heard a term which I’m sure is popular called “permission-based marketing”. This means allowing the individual to decide whether or not they want to check out what you’re offering. It is 100x more powerful than shoving a link down their throat.
Nobody likes to be spammed or bothered with a request to share an article by someone who clearly doesn’t care about the person they are messaging.
Write a meaningful message and DON’T link your page until after they say “yes, I’d love to see it”.
3 – Build a relationship.
This is crucial and where I think I excel in networking. I love helping others and I love talking to others.
I’m not messaging people only so they join my group, of course, I’d love that but I’m also looking to form a relationship with this person. I want them to understand that I’m not purely messaging them so they do something for me, I’m messaging them so they become friends with me and feel even more encouraged to participate in my group if they join.
There’s no substitute for caring. You can’t fake it.
Whomever I’m talking to, I care about their career, well-being, health, etc.
You don’t get unless you GIVE.
That statement above is not just true with networking, but life itself.
Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with the person you are contacting. It’s obvious when you just want them to click, click, and click away. When you show you care about their week, day, life, family, whatever it may be, it makes them feel much more obliged to care about what you have to say, sell, or promote.
Since building my group, I’ve connected with at least 5 new people whom I am talking to throughout the week. In this world, when you build a relationship with someone they are more likely to trust you and support your creations.
ALWAYS FINISH WITH A QUESTION. (pro Tip)
“Always” can be a loose term. After you’ve started a conversation with someone and are messaging them frequently, keep the conversation going by asking a question at the end of every message.
This encourages you to not only think more but also show you’re generally interested in the person you are talking to. Be genuine and don’t fake it. If you feel the need to fake it, networking is probably not for you.
We all know how this feels. We get a text message or a DM and it just kinda leaves us blank. We don’t know what to respond so we don’t. A question will keep this from happening. If I ask someone a question, it’s pretty likely they are going to respond with a nice answer. Then and there you keep the conversation flowing and build more trust with this individual.
4 – Respect
If you learn to respect others, it’s going to take you further in life. It’s going to get you closer to your goals and help you associate with important people.
Because it’s the only option.
You want this person to respond to your message, and better yet, be willing to check out what you’re offering them right?
Respect who they are and also respect that you ARE messaging someone in which you’ve never spoken to before. Show courtesy by doing the 3 things I listed above.
After you start conversating with someone new, don’t be afraid to be yourself and throw out a “Pal”, “dude”, or “sis”. Something you would message your longtime friends.
The most important part of networking is to be authentic and show respect.
I think caring and generally wanting to connect with someone stands taller than anything. You won’t be good at networking if you can’t understand this concept. When you care, they care.
You must be willing to accept the fact that 98% of your messages won’t be read. (hopefully less if you’re doing what I said above) A lot of the messages will be opened but disregarded. It’s okay, move on.
That is the nature of networking and if you can’t handle those stats, let someone else do your networking. If 5% or even 10% of people are interested in your offer, that’s pretty good. Just understand that you might need to message 50 people for 3 of them to respond.
Being that I’m networking through facebook messages, the new one for me is people leaving thumbs down emoticons on my message. Since, apparently, you can emote someone’s message now. I’ve received several thumbs down’s or frowny faces on my intro message. It doesn’t bug me and I just ignore them. The game is the game and you can’t predict what people are going to think.
For every frown I’ve gotten, at least 3 more people respond back with a heartwarming, excited, and thankful message.
I’m no expert on networking. Not one bit. I think everything said above is pure common sense.
If you want to be good at networking, follow these steps but also adjust to what you think is working well and not working very well. The key to life is adjusting at every point of difficulty.
PS: Let’s connect? 😉