Getting Known: Meaningful Networking
Standing alone in at a networking event where everyone seems to know each other, except you.... wondering "there has to be a better way to get my name out there". Depending on your industry and target customer there are other ways to get known in a new market.
Convention & Visitor Bureaus (CVBs)
Every moderate-sized city has one and their focus is connecting businesses with people in the community. Becoming a member of a CVB can be an investment, but a good one will help generate leads and make the right introductions [Find a CVB near you]
Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber is where businesses come together to promote commerce and the prosperity of the local community. This is where you rub elbows with other business people sharing stories and resources. Chambers are designed to be welcoming of new members and often recognize the achievements of their membership [Find a Chamber near you]
Local Chapters of Associations
National associations typically have local chapters of their organization. Local chapters are smaller and everyone tends to know each other. These collections of like-minded professionals come together to discuss local concerns and contribute to their field.
Local events are not only a great way to have fun, but also connect with potential customers as you enjoy a common interest. The key here is to be authentic- find activities you enjoy that your customer would attend. Events can be found in local newspapers, blogs, events websites and mobile apps.
Specialty Networking Groups
Finding a networking group that shares your interests can be the difference between standing alone and engaging in chatter. There are a variety of networks to meet every interest or background, e.g. Young Professionals Network, National Sales Network, Organization of Black Designers, LGBT Employees and Allies Network.
There are several mobile applications on the market that are for business networking. Try Shapr, BumbleBizz, or Clubhouse. As a newer concept people are still feeling out the social expectations and etiquette of applications, but if you ease into it, you'll do just fine.
Think out of the box and when you connect be genuine. It not about selling yourself or your services, but building relationships within your community. You'll be able to more quickly identify and connect the needs of your target audience. When a need arises, they are more likely to reach out or recommend you. The key here is being visible as a knowledgeable resource.