Advertising and promotion are simultaneously known as key players in the active growth of an online business. As well established tools to steer companies into the public eye, many affiliate business associates feel that both time and money are best spent in this arena.
However, with the growing community distributed globally across the Internet, it is becoming hard to ignore the vital role that this theatre of consumers play. The Internet is made up of a plethora of bodies and organizations who have the potential to provide a platform to springboard your business; from promoters to critics, from customers to bloggers. Networking with these people both online and in person allows you to build a credible reputation through third party validation, as well as having a support network to assist you in the progression of your brand.
But Why is Networking So Important?
Networking is the creation of a support base surrounding your business comprising of both a social media following and a series of personal connections. As communication streams often do, networking creates a spiderweb of potential contacts to which you begin to have access to as a professional in your own right. Each person you connect with, opens a channel of communication and experience, as well as a pathway to their personal network. But why is networking so crucial?
Firstly, the general public prefer to have a personal recommendation than to have to actively search for something to meet their needs. If given a good enough reason to choose your brand over another equally sufficient product, people will gratefully snap up the chance to have someone else make the decision for them. These recommendations can come in the form of online reviews, magazine critiques or just face to face appraisals.
Secondly, networking allows you to establish a forum of professionals working within the same or similar disciplines to the brand you're attempting to coordinate. Through creating professional relationships with those experienced in the field, you can use their knowledge to understand the processes you need to follow to extend the brand, access their professional network and to build a reliable reputation amongst reputable individuals.
Lastly, Tammy Morales, a business women in the midst of building an online scrapbooking business, spoke of how networking not only helped her to solve a merchant issue she was encountering, but also opened her up to opportunities she had never previously considered for her company. Through meeting with the head of ShareASale at a corporate event to discuss an issue Tammy was having with closing sales, she found herself embroiled in an unexpected yet successful project organized by her new found contact. This chance meeting had given Tammy a chance to embark on something new and exciting to further the reputation of her brand through a forum she hadn't previously considered.
What are the Best Methods of Networking?
1. Social Media Websites
Building a solid online platform is crucial when creating a successful image for a brand. Through social media, it is possible to not only present your business and the products or services you offer, but to work the ethos of your company into the posts you present. This personal touch makes people feel as though they can trust your brand and the promises you're offering to deliver.
Gaining 'followers' or 'likes' through this method creates a snowball effect of recognition. The more people that join your online networks, the more coverage your brand receives and the more consumers will come to you to be a part of what you're building. It is vital that your social media avenues are easy to use (this includes your website), otherwise users feel discouraged to actively pursue your brand. Reviews of StudioPress Genesis Themes showed that an easy-to-use framework is enticing to customers exploring websites.
2. Online Reviews and Critiques
An excellent way to build the reputation of your brand whilst simultaneously creating an online network, is to encourage customer reviews of your brand. Customer review websites such as www.tripadvisor.com have played a key role in developing several businesses in the tourism sector.
Additionally, press releases and letters to professional critiques within your field can be advantageous in urging those people to write about your brand from a business standpoint. This creates a professionally recognized network online to complement a consumer based network.
3. Corporate Conventions
In addition to an online network,face to face introductions with complimentary professionals within your area of expertise can open up opportunities which they can create for you through their own network of contacts.
The best way to meet people within this arena is to attend conferences, conventions and summits which are related to the area your brand is focused in. A good example of this is The Affiliate Summit, hailed as the premium marketing conference. At this and similar events, speakers, experts and promoters are available for you to increase your network and expand your opportunities.
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