As a business developer / Sales person one of the most important things I do day in and day out is build and correspond with my network. The more times I can put my name and the name of my company in front of my network, the more likely they are going to be thinking of me and the company when a potential project comes around.
When you watch the Superbowl, one of the most watched sporting events, have you noticed that the same people advertise every year? Why is it that Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Ford and GoDaddy -some of the most well known names in their industry- are spending millions of advertising dollars for a couple minutes on the television every year? They are already household names but they still feel the need to name brand. It's pretty obvious; they understand that continuous contact with their network is beneficial.
But there appears to be something of a disconnect when it comes to social media. Browsing through LinkedIn and various networking sites, I always come across plenty of sales, marketing, business owners and other people who would thrive through contact with others, but they commit a fatal mistake. They don’t provide any contact information. Why would anyone in these positions not want you to get a hold of them? The most important part of business is your network of potential clients. So why wouldn't you make it easy for people to get in contact with you? LinkedIn is a free way for people to get their name and company seen, you are not paying for this free advertising. So again I ask, why would you not make it easy to contact you?
Throughout my tenure on LinkedIn I have managed to build a good network. I have referred many potential clients to my network. This is how it should work. There should be mutually beneficial interactions occurring at all times. I send you customers, you refer people my way. Even if it is not for the benefit of financial gain, but for something as simple as putting someone with common interests, or even someone needing advice in touch with another person with real life knowledge of their issues, use the tools that are available. Use your network. What use is it to have all of the social media avenues right at your fingertips if you are not going to use them effectively? Anyone who is on LinkedIn and is only networked with close friends or people that they already work with is not doing themselves any favors. In fact, they’re doing themselves a disservice. They are failing to build up a network and thereby might miss out on good opportunities. In other words, use the tools for their intended purposes.
I cannot emphasis how important social media is to building business. The use of free tools such as LinkedIn has eliminated thousands of dollars of print advertising, hours of endless telemarketing and the need for large ads in the phone book. Moreover, it enables another means of network, whereby you can get your name and that of your company in front of more people. It may seem like a lot of work, but believe me, it will pay off in the end.