Business networking is a method by which many of us generate referrals, get support, great business ideas, generate sales and I could add many more. Each of us network differently and some dislike the idea of networking changing. They hold onto the way they are comfortable and don’t use some of the newer tools that are available. How do you use the newer tools?

Do you remember Teletext?

A Ceefax page, as a metaphor for how business networking is changing
Ceefax (BBC’s teletext service) started 40 years ago today (23/9/74). I remember the excitement and sheer WOW of watching the news, not by listening to a news reader, but by choosing which page I wanted to read. The strangely (and nowadays laughably) pixelated screen full of words.
Ceefax and stopped transmission a couple of years ago after 38 years, I felt a sadness at that ending. Of course, if we think about it there is no surprise. The internet surpassed the need for Ceefax, as mobile apps seem to change the way we use the internet now.
The same basic principle is going on, information about world news is being given out; the delivery mechanism has changed. There is a sadness with passing, and the earlier days may (to oldies like me) feel sad.

What’s this got to do with business networking?

Networking, (my favourite definition – using the people you know in order to get something you want. But you only get them to do what you want when you do something they want) has changed over that period too.
I was talking to a group of business owners yesterday about business networking meetings and how they remain the core of their networking activities and how social media is a waste of time. Here’s my question, is this just another example of same principle, different delivery?
To maintain a healthy network you need to interact with the people in your network. There are a variety of ways of doing that:
  • Business networking meetings
  • Catching up after work
  • Trade association meetings
  • Phone calls
  • Discussing issues using social networking sites
I’ve seen the biggest, profitable, gains come to business owner’s use of social media when they view their activity as networking with their colleagues, rather than some strange way of advertising themselves.

How do you network using social media?

The majority of business owners will use LinkedIn to connect with people they know and do little else. In doing so, they are at least adding somebodies business card to their electronic rolodex. LinkedIn can just act as a self updating address book.
At it’s core networking works because we get on with people, we talk to them about elements of our lives, mix that with a bit of business and understand what each other are doing. Do you do that on Social Media? It doesn’t have to be about pictures of cats and over inflated claims of prowess – any more than a business breakfast meeting does.
If you want to think about this some more, read 4 ways of getting leads from LinkedIn, by networking.
The way the news arrives for our consumption changed with Ceefax and data services. They didn’t replace the newsreader, the supplemented it. How could you do that in the way you use social media sites?
What do you do on Social Media platforms to manage your network?
Jon BakerWritten by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Networking is a key part of getting great results in small firms. If you want great networking tips sent to your desk once a month, click here and I will start sending them to you, so you can make a real difference to your referrals.