When in Doubt, Network!

So thanks to the economy and those pesky things called bills, last year I went looking for a full-time job and got one doing tech support towards the end of the month. Oh, I still have my occasional freelancing gigs, but it’s all about paying the rent and getting out of debt, you know. One of the good things about coming back to the workforce, especially when phone tech support, is that you meet a lot of new and interesting people.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has or is doing some office work and freelancing on the side, so you’ve probably encountered folks who may have been interested in what other things you do – this can certainly be family and friends, but I’m talking about co-workers and yes, even clients. Working tech support for an ISP, I of course speak to a lot of different people, every minute, of every hour, of every day that I’m working; many are just regular folks having issues, but once in a while I speak to folks that are doing what I am – freelancing/work at home/small business – and I basically make a new friend.

Was lucky enough to speak to someone this week who runs a great radio program for vets and those who are currently serving in our military. The show was something I had heard of, so actually speaking to the founder and host was a once in a lifetime event; we got to talking, while waiting for his equipment to power back on, and we started talking about social media, which of course led me to mention G+ and my blog. Within a fifteen, twenty-minute conversation involving rebooting devices and equipment, I just made a new network buddy. Something similar happened when I first got started with the company, where I managed to speak to a published writer, who also used to be a freelance grant writer; in fact, a similar process is how I managed to become a writer for different companies. I’d like to think I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time and talking to the right person, but you can certainly do the same in your everyday life.

Being Social

Obviously, the trick to networking is being social. You can’t meet new people if you don’t open your mouth to engage in conversation; I’m not just talking in person here, but I’m including social networking too. A lot of people complained when Google+ came on the market, mostly that it wasn’t like Facebook or worse, that their Facebook friends weren’t on it. As you may have gone through life, friends don’t always follow you – through school, college, or the workplace; did you not go to a school because your friends weren’t there or not take a job because your friends weren’t there? Of course not, so why would you do the same thing on social networking, especially if you’re trying to get more exposure for you or your business?

Best advice – get out there and get to talking! It doesn’t have to be on Google+, but Facebook is limited as you can only speak to folks within your network; there’s also Twitter and LinkedIn, which can be great in finding new contacts and followers.

Find the Best Network

Some people may tell you to get on every social network possible, but that’s really not the best way to go about things. There are so very many social networks now – from Facebook to Twitter to FourSquare to LinkedIn to Google+ to Klout, etc. Now with that said, some times you can’t get enough exposure with just one network, so adding one or two may help you. This will of course will require some thought and research, as you don’t want to just choose a social network just to choose it or because ‘everyone is on it'; for example, while over a billion people are on Facebook, they certainly aren’t visiting this blog or my website. I have over a hundred people on Facebook, but my analytics don’t lie – most of them aren’t coming to see my work, so I don’t utilize it to get the word out about what I do. I have found that G+ and Twitter are much better avenues for me.

That could be different for you – perhaps Pintrest is the place where your business signs or maybe you’re a LinkedIn all-star, whichever network is working for you is the one you need to work on the most.Best advice – use the network that’s working for you, without getting caught up in the whole ‘everyone is using it’ mentality.

Be Mobile

I of course am I big supporter of mobile tech, hence why I just got a new phone to help with that. If you’ve got a smartphone, you should probably think of having a social media app on it; this isn’t to say that you need to post every hour on the hour about what you had for lunch, but interesting things that will get people’s attention. For instance, if you’re out at a convention, make a post with a picture or video about the convention or what you’re doing there, especially if it’s related to your business. Certainly, if you’re out and about and see something interesting, totally post it! It shows that you aren’t just business all the time and that you like having some fun on your off time.

Best advice – post, post often, but don’t go overboard on the things you’ve had for lunch.

Be Available

You’re doing business, you’re a one man (or woman) band, and you’ve got things to do. I got it, makes sense obviously. But don’t get so tied up in work that you forget the other things around you; I’ve certainly found myself glued to my desk or phone and tunneled into whatever I’m doing, but I’ve also recognized that I need to get out and about with other people. That’s just me, but the same can be said for others, so make sure that you’re answering the person who just asked for the time or you noticed the interesting article you’re reading. A random conversation in the line at the grocery store could be the open door to your next client or a business collaborator; an off-hand comment during a party can introduce you to someone with a like mind or similar business.

There are of course plenty of advice on how to get businesses and others to follow you on networks, how to get more leads, etc bu again, that all depends on what your business is and what you want to achieve when it comes to gaining the exposure that will guarantee you success in all your ventures. Good luck!

About Regina Woodard

A beginner in freelancing, writing has always been a part of my life. In 2010, I embarked on a new life as a part-time freelancer to earn extra money; in 2011, I'm hoping to take this further by being an actual freelancer.

Posted on April 13, 2014, in Beginnings, clients, Interludes, social media, Story Time!, The Business Side and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 174 other followers

%d bloggers like this: