Click Your Way To Success
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Click Your Way To Success

Click Your Way To Success

Meghna Pant, features editor of Gulf Business examines how a company can maximise networking efforts both online and offline.


With ninety percent of corporates moving to social media to engage customers and build their brand equity, you can’t afford to be left behind. Philip Bedford of Referral Institute gave me his take on how to get the maximum ROI not only on your social media platform but also on other avenues.

Online strategy

Firstly, devise a strategy for online networking that encompasses the social channels of Linked In and Facebook, as these tend to be the most popular with many people favouring one or the other.

People mistakenly think Facebook is a purely social site, forgetting that people buy people. What a great way to get to know someone as you learn more about their hobbies, interests, groups and networks.

Linked In shows a more corporate image to the world and because it’s a more professional format, people are more willing to connect for business purposes.

Bedford sees a trend for the more transactional or task-based person leaning towards Linked In and a more sociable person being more comfortable with Facebook. Most organisations require clients across the board so it makes sense to have a strategy for each.

Farming online

True networking is about ‘farming’, a term used to refer to the action of growing relationships over a period of time as opposed to the ‘hunting to kill’ concept.  Examples of hunting are widespread both on and offline and it always leaves the ‘prey’ with a bad taste in their mouth. Of course, those doing the hunting don’t realise the effects of their actions, until they are subject to it themselves.

Bedford advices building relationships offline by using farming techniques, for example helping people and connecting them, to prove you are a person worth knowing. Online, provide value through group discussions and giving tips and advice, if requested. If you comment intelligently, people take note.

Balance your time

Your networking time should be selected for maximum efficiency. Think strategically by asking yourself the following questions:

  •   What is your target market?
  •   Where do you find them?
  •   Once you have identified them, how can you add value?

We should spend about eight hours a week networking in a maximum of three to four networks. Studies show this is the optimum amount of time to spend to achieve maximum results without diminishing returns.

It is easy to waste hours of precious time networking in the wrong place without the knowledge of networking skills. How much is your investment in networking at the moment? You can get an idea by using the following formula: calculate your hourly worth to your company, in other words, the amount you would bill a client for an hour of your time, and then multiply that value by the time you spend networking, travel time and membership fees. If you are not recording sales to justify this time spent, Bedford suggests investing in networking education, in order to make the most of this opportunity.

Networking is a skill

If you were ill, would you refer to a book and self-diagnose or go to a doctor? If your water pipes were leaking at home, you would you call a plumber. To fix your car, you would call a mechanic.

Networking is the same, in that it requires a person with skill to get the best results.

While some people are comfortable working a room, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are effective. After all, we can all shake hands and give out a business card to hundreds of people, but if you ever needed to leverage those relationships, how strong are those connections really?

These days we fool ourselves into thinking we have 2,000 friends because Facebook tells us we do. How many of those ‘friends’ would ever give you a lift to the airport?

We need to be selective in our networking. It’s not just about who you know; it’s about how well you know them and how well they know you that counts.




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