Networking 201 – Targeting Your Networks
So far this week we have established i) networking is work; ii) it works best when you are authentic and interested in the needs of others; and iii) networking is most effective when you approach it with a well-defined plan. Now let’s look at some specific strategies you can use to amplify your networking efforts in your local community.
Firstly, target people who can increase your circle of influence. For example, if our networking efforts introduce us to a local newspaper reporter, then we have also enhanced our prospects for better public relations efforts, right? If our networking efforts result in meeting the owner of a local photography instructor, the possibilities for marketing to a lot of photography students arises. Look for contacts who, in turn, have a lot of contacts.
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Simply put, seek out people who know people. In every community, there are influencers. These are the people who by virtue of their status, position, offices or reputation are well situated to assist you in your marketing efforts. Again, be prepared to first offer your assistance to them in some manner.
This sort of targeting demands a bit of research. Ask people who belong to the group about its membership, the tenor of the group and its general demographic characteristics. The more you know about a group prior to your efforts, the better results your networking will yield.
Importantly, network now. Don’t wait until you “need” to network. Establish a relationship with a reporter before you want to get a press release published. Offer your services to the local bike club, get to know them and socialize with them long before you suggest a cruise to the group. The longer you work with people in your community, the better they know you as an individual, the more likely they are to think of you as someone to turn to when they decided to travel.