Business networking in the 21st century

Business networking in the 21st century remains a critical component of building and maintaining contacts with like-minded entrepreneurs and existing and potential clients.

Business Networking in the 21st Century

Networking in today's world can be a very different prospect to yester year. Technology has created a whole host of new platforms with which businesses can network effectively.

The internet and social media has made it easier than ever to communicate with people from relevant organisations and networks and share knowledge, attract new clients and recruit new employees.

The combination of new social media tricks of the trade with the traditional means of liaising with useful resources and forging new working relationships means business networking is multi-faceted in the 21st century.

Make use of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is arguably the largest business-related social networking site on the internet and consequently is a great platform to build and manage your professional identity. LinkedIn has over 10,000 groups that you can join and participate in discussions and debates whilst connecting with corporate blogs in an effort to engage with your professional network.

Shout about your expertise

Don’t be afraid to display your expertise to potential clients and fellow professionals. Use social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook to build a virtual contacts book and offer regular snippets of advice that add value to your followers’ day-to-day working lives. If you’ve got something more in-depth to say why not consider writing a personal blog that can be a great way of building contacts and trust in an informal manner.

Encourage word of mouth

One of the main benefits of social media networks is that they encourage effective word of mouth marketing for products and services. If the response is positive and it goes viral it can be a major coup for emerging businesses. Similarly, it can be a very damaging experience if businesses receive negative feedback. However, in the main it is great for brand exposure and for building trust with potential clientèle.

Show your face at events

In order to become a familiar figure to like-minded entrepreneurs and potential connections it is important to engage with local business networking organisations and show your face at as many events as possible.

Death of the business card? No way!

Although you could be forgiven for thinking business cards may be somewhat defunct in their purpose with the accessibility of the internet and social media, it is still a very successful tool for attracting leads and referrals in the 21st century. A business card still makes that all-important first impression of your business to potential customers and subsequently it should be eye-catching and memorable, whilst being a treasure trove of contact information without being mundane.

Be selective with new contacts

It is highly likely you will meet a multitude of names and faces when business networking in the 21st century. However, the likelihood of staying in contact with all your new connections is very slim. Consequently you should aim to be selective with the contacts you touch base with on a regular basis – ideally entrepreneurs and businesses that can offer you something extra.

Business networking remains a crucial skill for successful entrepreneurs and effective networking will certainly add an extra dimension to your businesses’ growth potential.

How to start a career in social media

Social media has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry and opportunities to build a career around it are becoming increasingly common.

If you’re looking to start a career in the competitive world of social media and digital marketing, setting up a blog is a great place to start.

A blog not only allows you to express your personality and offer your opinions, but also gives future employers an insight into your knowledge, skills and experience. Pick a subject that you are passionate about and blog regularly to attract readers and establish your credibility. Aim to be a unique voice in the ‘blogosphere’.

There are a variety of free online services available that can help you with the technology side of setting up a blog. Then it’s a case of attracting followers by creating interesting content, updating it regularly and promoting it through other social networks such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter's LogoPursuing a career in social media however is not just about knowing how to send a tweet, post a blog or set up a Facebook page. At the end of the day all businesses are looking at the impact social media has on their customer relations, business strategy, marketing and product positioning.

Demonstrate that you are serious by enrolling in a diploma in digital marketing and social media such as the one offered by the University of Middlesex. The postgraduate course combines theory and marketing practices to teach students how social media is contributing to entrepreneurship and innovation in modern businesses. Students attend guest lectures by professionals from some of the major organisations in web and social media including Google, Twitter and Groupon.

To have a competitive edge in social media, keep up to date with the latest developments. Understand the importance of monitoring, evaluation and analytics. You need to be familiar with the main social media sites but also the less popular ones as well which may have the advantage of providing a more targeted audience for the services or products you are promoting. You need to be able to spot trends and differentiate between up and coming sites and ones that won’t last the distance.

More than likely when you enter a career in social media you will be expected to be a good all-rounder and take responsibility for all areas of digital marketing. Job roles include social media officer, digital marketing manager or even director of social media. However larger organisations may allow you to specialise, so you could find yourself with a job title such as blog editor, analytics manager, designer, social media developer or content manager.

5 tips to help you recruit the right people online

Using the internet to recruit new employees for business has become the norm in a very short space of time. For people working in creative industries the internet is an indispensable tool and subsequently online recruitment appears a natural step in order to reach out to target markets.

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The internet has quickly become essential at recruiting the right people for your business.

Recruiting on the internet gives companies and candidates alike a great opportunity to secure the ideal employees and find themselves an exciting new job. Here are five tips to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access and recruit top talent for their organisations.

Use social networking sites such as LinkedIn

Career-focused networking sites such as LinkedIn are a goldmine of information for growing small businesses. It is a great way of viewing profiles of successful employees and entrepreneurs and engaging in discussion regarding their availability and/or interest in your vacant roles.

Many candidates choose to make their LinkedIn profile public, meaning they are indexed by search engines and can therefore be found in Google when searching for a particular type of candidate.

Extend your recruitment reach via job boards and online agencies

Don’t be afraid to submit your vacant positions across a number of online recruitment agencies and job boards. Instead of simply placing an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper, extend your reach online with the potential of millions of views rather than thousands a month offline.

A vast percentage of employers use the internet daily, almost exclusively and the ability to have your vacant positions online within literally minutes improves the efficiency of your recruitment campaign.

Reduce cost-per-hire and retain flexibility

One of the biggest challenges facing HR managers is to reduce the cost-per-hire within their company whilst at the same time maintaining the quality of new talent. It is said that companies who use online recruitment technologies save up to 90% more than those who use traditional recruitment agencies and methods. Online recruitment enables recruiters to streamline recruitment campaigns, whilst promoting the company’s brand and values to a wider, more diverse talent pool.

Recruit using your own company website

Depending on how your company website is built you may be able to advertise careers and vacancies through your own content management system (CMS). Your company website should explicitly portray the vision and values of your company and is one of the most underrated ways to advertise for new talent. Remember, your own website is your time to shine to new recruits as well as new clients.

Use Facebook to develop your professional identity

Facebook is increasingly used as an online recruitment tool, with platforms and solutions for small businesses recruiting via Facebook. Workplace groups, advertisements and profiles can be created to generate discussion about your company as well as encourage applications for vacant roles.

Now is the time to embrace online recruitment and social networking both as a research tool and as a cost-effective way of connecting users and potential employees to add value to your business.