Networking is a powerful marketing tool, particularly if you are looking to grow your business on a local level but it can sometimes be hard to find the time to go to events, especially if you’re trying to run a business. It may seem like a bit of a catch 22 but luckily there is an alternative for busy business owners who want to make new connections in the local area but don’t have time to go to networking events, or who find walking into a room full of complete strangers intimidating.
Social media sites like Facebook offer some great opportunities for business owners to network, showcase their talents and connect with others in the area, at a time that’s convenient to them, without having to leave their office. It’s been our experience that business owners in the area are keen to take advantage of the opportunity.
When Next Marketing moved to Moonee Ponds in 2013, we were keen to meet and get involved with the local business community but we noticed that, even though the local council was very supportive of local businesses, there just weren’t a lot of networking groups around.
This led to us starting the “I’m a Business Owner in Moonee Valley” Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1415541565371108/) in April 2014. A few months later, the page is now an award-winning, thriving community of over 700 businesses and members have benefited from the chance to build connections among the local community and showcase their talents.
Joining a networking group on social media offers a number of advantages for business owners. Most of them are free and very quick to join, and they give businesses a way to get noticed and increase the traffic to their website, as well as providing a platform for owners to meet and chat to other local business owners online.
Attending networking events can be intimidating for some, but once you’ve talked to a few people online, it’s easier to meet face to face as you already have a starting point for the conversation. We’ve organised a number of informal events through the page and they’ve been a great success.
If you’re a business owner in the Moonee Valley area (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1415541565371108/) and you’re interested in building connections with the local community and raising the profile of your business, it’s well worth joining the group. You never know where it may take you!