This week’s blog is not an exercise in time travel however anti-sickness tablets may be desired as we will be remembering and paying homage to some of the late and great business development tools that have thankfully evolved into not only more aesthetically pleasing and user friendly models but also street cred worthy counterparts…

Who remembers the filofax…the trusty contacts bible?  How about the mobiles that made everyone who owned one resemble a builder with a penchant for holding bricks up to their ears each time they used it? Thankfully braces were optional!  And who could forget the circular mounted business card holders that manoeuvred with a certain cumbersome air only to surrender the required details with an eager yet questionable slapping sound?

business cards

All these things shaped the way business was done, contacts were made and how follow ups ensued yet thankfully stayed in the 80’s and 90’s to be replaced by digital equivalents such as the ubiquitous apple products and social networks of connections.

This is the modern way of doing business which makes building connections, making new ones and keeping up to date with existing ones as simple a task as ordering a Chardonnay in a wine bar…or downloading an app.

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn share residence at the top spot for being the most accessible and user friendly ways to bolster your business standing and provide three main areas of development:

  • reconnecting with old contacts/companies

  • keeping in touch with existing peers

  • connecting and finding new people to develop business

Each of the aforementioned platforms has its own unique benefit too:

  • Facebook is great for establishing/re-establishing connections with individuals you know and would like to get in touch with but is more personal than business

  • Twitter is good for getting to know someone informally but cannot really be classed as a book of contacts

  • LinkedIn is quite simply great for business and therefore earns itself the place of ‘featured platform’ this week and warrants me giving you some basic usage info. below….

Simply put, LinkedIn is a digital networking event with millions of potential business contacts and leads which puts paid to making links worldwide.  Here are some simple points to get you started…

  • LinkedIn works like a cascading domino effect, you connect with people you know which opens doors to other people that your connections know.  The wider the range of friends/contacts you meet then the wider the potential network of associates you can access.

  • Make a list of companies you want to target – who would you like to be introduced to? Or who could you work with to grow your customer base?

  • LinkedIn allows you to speak directly to the person you need to at a company without you having to go round the houses or wait for someone to return your call.

  • Introduce yourself with an email. LinkedIn allows you to send a message directly to the right person.

  • LinkedIn is a business.  Don’t to be too friendly and always ‘speak’ like you would in a business situation.

  • Make your LinkedIn page detailed and promote yourself and business with key skills. People will be looking for you so you must sell yourself.

  • Persevere, persevere, persevere – if someone doesn’t get back to you or accept a connection request immediately then keep on trying.

  • Invest time in building connections and relationships, you will get out what you put in.

If you haven’t got a page on LinkedIn already then take a few minutes out of your day to set one up and fill in the basic information requested so that you can get started.  Next week I will talk about how to customise and personalise your page so that you are in the best position to connect and get noticed.

Social Media as a Business Connection Tool

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