Networking is an age-old practice that is undergoing a generational shift, as social media and the digital tools are disrupting the space for brands and entrepreneurs. Notwithstanding the medium they choose for networking with stakeholders, its importance in creating brand recall can never be overstated.
It continues to augur well for businesses that either wish to expand or make their presence felt. Be it digital or traditional marketing, the roots lie in first making the brand get noticed by industry players through conferences and networking events.
Potential investors, partners, and customers are often on the lookout for new possibilities, and a well-poised networking strategy can work wonders in raising the awareness for an emerging brand. In the current times, social media platforms have become indispensable in enabling seamless networking for entities, as accessibility to senior management has been made easy for every user.
Importance of devising a sound networking strategy
Abiding by the famous adage “do not put all eggs in one basket” will help brands immensely, as a multi-pronged strategy will provide the room to engage with varied sets of audiences. Be it social media, virtual conferencing, physical trade shows or the like, interactions need to be planned and calibrated as per the significance of the occasion.
On the flip side, the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the challenge of organising physical events and shows, as large gatherings are being prohibited in almost every country. Instead, virtual events and tradeshows have become the norm. Brands usually queue up chat requests with prospective customers, get onto video conferences to explore business opportunities, and promote themselves through virtual ads and stalls.
However, the intent of angel investors and venture capitalists to hold in-person meetings with potential entrepreneurs and startups cannot be missed. Even amidst a pandemic, they’d network with businesses at a personal level to learn about their vision and brand, rather than conduct virtual calls and read proposals alone.
Investment is a significant cog in the wheel for brands, and networking that results in funding can make the brand go places.
Effective communication is a key component of networking
Every event has a specific purpose, and that should help brands put their best foot forward in terms of communication. To be perceived as an empathetic and unique brand can help businesses go a long way in building recognition within the industry. In this regard, efforts to engage during networking events can help brands gain trust from new customers as well, who are usually on the lookout for a set of values and ethics.
Working your charm and spotlighting your brand with just the right kind of introduction could win you appreciation from investors and others. The desired results can be attained only if brands convey their vision with clarity, without having to oversell their idea.
Increasing the presence on social media and engaging with informed audiences on the platforms with a specific agenda for each, could help in meeting the brands’ objectives. Platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook have given a voice to several businesses, as setting up interactive online events for networking comes at almost zero cost. It has opened up conversations and idea-sharing between people, feeding the engine of economic growth.
Brands are now assessing traction with new customers based on the data analysis tools on social media by targeting specific audiences with limited marketing spends, while launching a brand or achieving brand retention. They are able to open personalised communication channels, reporting organic growth of customers, and exploring partnership opportunities with interested parties.
Take the case of any travel and adventure brand that attracts travel enthusiasts through interactive online events or personalised communication. It requires much less effort to find likeminded professionals who are keen to engage with a brand that has become a niche name in the area of their interest. Likewise, the brand shall find it easier to form online communities and groups for promotions and meeting individuals who might want to propose a business partnership.
Networking’s role in maintaining a brand’s social score
Businesses are now being assessed for the reputation they garner from customers, partners and the industry as a whole. The trustworthiness they elicit depends on the level of engagement over time, and the effort they have put in networking with the relevant stakeholders.
A brand’s social presence and communication determine how people perceive it. Effective networking will allow them to build a respectable social credit score, which, in turn, impacts perceptions and business opportunities.
The target audience of a brand will be attracted to any idea if they are impressed by their approach and the conversations they hold during the interactions. In such scenarios, brands will not have to hard-sell themselves, and can bet on ticking people’s curiosity instead. The impression a brand provides in these engagements can set a standard in creating the desired brand value.
Edited by Kanishk Singh
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)