In the good old days, the best way to build your business was quite simple. You networked. It was the core strategy of any good networking professional. You went to an event, you connected with some folks, followed up with them, kept in touch with them and perhaps sent them info periodically (which made you look really smart). This is a great strategy that worked for a long time. And still does.
Today, people think that LinkedIn is a the new way to network. I think it’s a social media play with a slight networking component. But I’m not really sure I would call it a “networking strategy”. Honestly, that feels kind of hollow to me.
To me, the most effective new networking strategy is blogging. It's the smartest, most effective way to connect with other professionals and it directly helps to build your own personal brand. I am sure some folks will say that nothing can replace a face-to-face meeting. I get that and agree... to a degree.. But what I am talking about is more of a networking strategy to build relationships with a wider audience. And also be able to actually engage in a dialogue with professionals in that audience.
Writing is the new schmoozing!
It’s really simple to do and incredibly effective. Plus, it positions you as a leading-edge pro in your particular market. While blogging is relatively under-utilized in real estate, it’s something that big time CEO’s and thought leaders in other sectors have been doing for a while. Just look at:
- Virgin Records' Richard Branson
- Blog Maverick by Mark Cuban
- Marriot on the Move by Bill Marriot
- GatesNotes by Bill Gates
- Craig Connects by Craig Newmark
So, how does blogging and social media actually translate into networking? Here are five effective ways…
1. Writing weekly blog content that you are an expert in. Creating inspirational and educational content will help position you as a thought leader in your industry, providing you with the tools you need to develop an online following of likeminded individuals.
2. Building a database of professionals that want to read your blog weekly. Adding an email sign up form on your blog will allow you to easily grow your database. Viewing your email statistics will show you who is engaging the most with your content which is a good way to figure out who to connect with.
3. Sharing it on social media in highly targeted ways that reach your target audience. Using appropriate hashtags like #CRE will expand your reach outside of your followers but still target your audience.
4. Engaging with other professionals who are blogging and sharing via social media. Define who the influencers are in your industry or niche. Connect with them, share their content with your followers and engage with them through social media.
5. Guest blog on sites that your target audience is reading. Once you form a relationship with the other bloggers and influencers, offer a guest blog exchange to reach an even further audience.
If you follow these five basic steps, you will be able to build a really good following of exactly the type of professionals you want to reach. There is so much false perception about social media and that it is just a gigantic sea of people commenting and sharing. That couldn't be farther from the truth! When used correctly, sharing your content and engaging with targeted professionals can really build an amazing database of fully informed and engaged prospects for your business.