Posted on Aug 23, 2013

Four Unexpected Places to Network and Grow Your Business

We all use social media to keep up with what our friends and family members are doing. With a few taps and clicks you can tell thousands of people what's up in your life, and prevent FOMO. Fortunately for those with small businesses, there are a number of amazing social media outlets that you can use to grow and drive visitors to your website. These social media sites will not only grow your business and solidify your existing fans and customers, but will also expose your business to tons of potential customers as cheaply and easily as possible. Here are four unexpected places to network and grow your business.


1. Google Communities


Google Communities lets you create and join communities online. These communities reflect interests, passions and talents of their community members. You can connect and network with people in your neighborhood and all over the world. For example, say you own a small dog-walking and pet-sitting business. You could start a Google Community in your neighborhood or city for both pet-sitters and pet-owners. You could also join dog-walking communities all over the world to help broaden your insight into the worldly world of dog-walking and pet-sitting.


By interacting with others in your industry you can promote your business and make a name for yourself. You can also learn from others who are involved either as fellow business people or as clients. After you make your Google Communities page, anyone in your area who searches for a community about dog-walking and pet-sitting will be taken to your page and can interact with you and learn about your business and services offered.


2. Meetup


Meetup is a fantastic way to network with people in your area. If you've ever wanted a way to physically meet others in your area that are interested in what your business has to offer, look no further, and welcome to Meetup. With Meetup you create a group and hold events that anyone can attend. Say you want to have a Meetup to find new clients for your dog-walking and pet-sitting company. You could start a Meetup group for pet owners in your town. You could then create an event, maybe a dog-walk or pet-owners happy hour.


When people are at your event you'll have the opportunity to talk to them and make a great impression on them so that the next time a dog-walker or pet-sitter is needed, you'll be first on their list of whom to call. I'm not saying to trick people into attending a self-promotional seminar. Mix a fun event with your message. If you hold an event at a bar or restaurant, consider putting business cards on one of the tables near the main entrance. If you hold an outdoor event, consider some sort of business banner, and maybe wear a t-shirt with your business name on it to spark conversation. Meetup is a great way to get people face-to-face and in the same room.


3. Twitter


Twitter is the best when it comes to getting a concise message out to thousands and thousands of people. Run a business Twitter account and post a ton of good things throughout the day. Say something funny. Give an interesting fact. Run a promotion. Say something that will make people want to retweet what you said. Always link back to your business' website in the tweet so people can easily find you. An even better way to use twitter is to link to other people’s content too.


To get followers for your business on Twitter, do a search for other businesses like yours. Follow a lot of the people who follow these other businesses. You'll be reaching out to people who clearly are interested in the industry you're in and who may become future customers or clients of yours. Following a lot of relevant strangers will inevitably mean that a number of them will follow you back, and some of their friends may follow you back, and so on.


4. Quora


As mentioned in this article, Quora lets you use the internet to tell others what you know. At Quora, you answer questions that others have submitted. The better you answer them, the better your ratings get. In our dog-walking and pet-sitting business example, if you answer every question on Quora that relates to good dog-walking techniques, how to deal with stress of leaving an animal home alone, and anything else related to your field of work, you'll soon be the go-to guy on Quora for all related questions. This great reputation will give your business credibility and clout and help expand your customer base.


As you can see, social media networking is great for businesses looking to grow and network. You can reach a ton of people in a number of different ways by utilizing as many social media tools as possible.