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How to Start Building a Community as a Brand

group of business people planning on building a brand community

Networking is a key part of personal and professional development. It creates opportunities for you to connect with people in your industry, gain insight, and expand your knowledge base. Networking tips from seasoned professionals are a valuable commodity when it comes to making a positive and long lasting impression within your community.

We’ve all heard the saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” That’s true. But there is more to a successful networking event than just that. You need to make a good lasting impression. 

Your primary goal when networking should always be to learn and grow. But, a close second should be to make sure people remember you.

Professional & Social Networking: A Strong Combination for Community Management

Professional networking can have a strong social component. A lot of what draws us to other people is shared interests or hobbies, and commonalities in lifestyles and other community and social involvements.

It’s important to keep both the professional and social factors of networking in mind when making connections and following up with new acquaintances and colleagues. Connections on a  personal level may be valuable in leveraging future professional relationships. A comprehensive approach with the long game in mind may be an effective strategy in terms of networking. 

Below are 4 tips, from preparation to post-event follow up, for a successful networking event.

1:  Research 

Get familiar with the event ahead of time so you can have the right expectations. Who are the keynote speakers? What are the topics? Get on social media to search for event details and see who is interacting with the posts about it. Make notes of people you’d like to meet in person so you can maximize your time at the event. 

2: Business Cards 

Having business cards on hand can streamline your networking approach. They don’t need to be fancy. In fact, simple is usually better. Just make sure you have plenty on hand to exchange upon meeting your potential connections. Have a digital business card, as well. You never know how people are organizing their professional connections and you don’t want a paper card to get lost in the shuffle.

3: Self Perception & Awareness 

One of the best ways to make a positive first and lasting impression is by learning and practicing self perception and awareness. Self awareness is defined as your ability to focus on yourself and how your thoughts and actions align with who you are intrinsically. 

Self perception, on the other hand, refers to understanding how we are perceived by others. Be an active listener, be authentic, pay attention to your body language so you can show approachability. Be intentional with making eye contact and remember to smile and have fun!

4: Follow up

Post-event follow up should happen within 24-48 hours of making your connections. Send them an email or a note on social media, letting them know you enjoyed meeting them. If the circumstances are right, consider asking if they’d like to get together for coffee or a social event to potentially strengthen the connection.

Building a Brand Community In A Digitized World  

Networking events are great opportunities for personal and professional development. The better you get at networking, the faster you’ll realize your full potential. Networking in the professional world today has evolved. Technology rules, which adds a new layer to creating, retaining, and maintaining connections. 

Having a strong online media presence helps you stay relevant in a fast-paced, oversaturated world . Social networking can be a valuable ally. 

If you aren’t big on social media sites or are more of a private person, you can still leverage social media in a way that benefits you. Think engagement. It’s not about how often you post photos or express thoughts, but more about interacting with posts that are aligned with business or news topics in your field. Spark conversations, inspire new perspectives, or just stay up-to-date on the trending topics. At the very least, it will better equip you for meaningful discussions at your next networking event. 

For tips like these, and more, visit StayTouch today.