Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Holistic Web Marketing - Step Two, Network Building

We've already talked about one of the first benefits and goals of creating an online presence and that is controlling the message people receiving about your brand.

Today we will talk about the next benefit anybody can achieve using online tools and that is building a network. Depending on the client we call a network an internet army, brand advocates, referral partners, and even friends.

Offline people rely on a support network for many personal and business goals. Parents rely on trustworthy neighbourhood kids to babysit. Men and women rely on other club members to fill in their golf foursomes. Business people rely on BNI or Rotary or Chambers of Commerce to get referrals. Some people even rely on the people they meet at pubs to come over on weekends and help them build decks and fences.

Any person in your life that you ask for help from is a person in your "network". The word networking has a bit of a bad connotation, bringing to mind smarmy used car salesmen types with business cards they hand out everywhere from their kids choir recitals, to funerals. In reality it is every single person you know, some are smarmy, and some are genuine and lovely people.

As a business person you need a network to help you spread your message, to refer you when someone is looking for your business, to help you find the people you need when the pipes burst in your retail store and spew water all over your product.

I've never read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, but I will admit to learning from the television show
Dawson's Creek, that he was not alone out there in the woods. In the book most held up as a celebration of self sufficiency there are often mentions of borrowing tools from neighbours,and inviting visitors to occupy the three other chairs in the cabin.

Everyone needs a group of people to help them attain the goals they desire in life.

Social media is just that, social. I have made friends locally who share my love of food, but I have also made friends in far away place who share my love of certain television shows. I have built a network so strong that I know if I visited other places I would be surrounded and supported by friends. Not only that, I have been contacted about doing business by people from far away places who recommended me.

Often I have clients who don't want to start using social media until they have their website up, or their song, book or film released. And I also have clients who start accounts and then ask me "Okay, how do I get people to retweet this or share it?" You can't ask your network to do something for you if you have no network!

Start now, start building something. And then, when you have something you are really proud of, when you want the world to see your work, you have a group of people who care about you and are happy to help you tell the world.

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