Room full of business people talking at a local networking groupNetworking is a divisive topic — some people love it and others hate it. However you feel about networking, it’s a powerful tool for helping your business to grow. By getting out into your community through local networking groups, you can raise awareness of your company or brand. Here are a few different ways that networking can grow your business success.

Create a Personal Connection

Humans are social creatures, but with so much of the business world now happening digitally, creating a personal connection isn’t as common as it used to be. By establishing a personal connection, you’re doing more than putting a face to a name for potential customers or clients to recognize, you are setting the foundation for a relationship. 

Networking can help you to establish those relationships, but an important part of successful networking is maintaining them, as well. Connect on LinkedIn. Exchange business cards. Encourage people to follow your brand or business on social media and do the same for theirs. Maintaining a networking relationship doesn’t have to be time-consuming or include lengthy lunches or rounds of golf. After establishing a personal connection, it’s much easier to continue that relationship digitally.

Build Trust

One benefit of networking that can have a big impact on your business success is your ability to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. As you build awareness of your business, positioning yourself as a thought leader is a tried and true method of establishing trust in your brand, products, and services. 

So how do you build your reputation as a thought leader through networking? Seek out opportunities where you can speak or present at a local networking group. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you’re building trust in your business as potential customers and clients learn something new or find a solution to a problem they’ve been experiencing. 

Speaking at a networking group is also a great opportunity for those of us who aren’t as comfortable with cold introductions to strangers. While public speaking can be daunting, think of the last speaking event you attended. Everyone wants to talk to the speaker afterwards, and you have your presentation and expertise to fall back on as conversation topics. And there’s no better opportunity to share your knowledge and represent your business than speaking before a captive audience.

Get the Word Out

Word of mouth is a very effective marketing tool. How many times have you bought a product or service because it was recommended by a friend or family member? When networking locally, you may not be meeting people who will immediately become your clients or customers, but they might know someone in need of your product or services. Or they remember the cool colors on your business cards and give you a call down the road. 

Networking is all about growing your network. As you interact with more people, businesses, and local organizations your network will continue to expand. As more and more people know your business, you can become a community name. 

Ready to get started? Find a group near you today and build your network and your business.