How social networks can help your small business

Knowledge base from Boox

By Jonathan London on 21st April 2014

How social networks can help your small business

Whether online or in the real world, social networking is a major driving force behind many a small business. Of course, the ultimate aim of networking is to win new business, however, we’ve discovered that many contractors’ businesses have also benefited in less direct, yet equally valuable, ways. Here are five of them.

How social networks can help your small business

1 – Getting free advice

Whether you need technical, financial, marketing or industry-specific advice, the chances are the answers to your questions are only a few clicks away. Specialists in all these fields, and many more besides, are on hand across all the popular networking sites ready to expand their own networks by helping you. Their reason for this kindness? When you need the sort of help that costs money, they want you to choose them. Offering free advice is their way of demonstrating their expertise and helpfulness. Make it one of yours, too.

2 – Finding quality suppliers

When you need to source specific services or products, from legal advice to office stationery, social networks give you access to a wide range of providers. They also enable you to check their credentials and gauge their reputation among their existing clients. Asking your business contacts how satisfied they have been with their supplier will help you make the best decisions for your business.

3 – Identifying suitable subcontractors

When the opportunity to quote for a lucrative contract arises and you know it’s too big for you alone, don’t lose out for want of quality help. Work your networks to identify people who can do the tasks that you can’t. As with 2 (above) contact people your potential subcontractors have worked with previously to get a feel for their skills, experience and professional integrity.

4 – Getting good press

Trade and professional journals need to fill space with relevant, meaningful material. To give their editorial features credibility and weight, they will often accept offers from industry specialists to write articles about topical issues in their sector. Exploit your growing reputation and unique insights by offering the relevant editor your 900-word take on say, Upcoming legislation: how it will affect our industry. A by-line will do wonders for your reputation. A link to your LinkedIn or Twitter page would be the icing on the cake.

5 – Getting in front on influential people

It’s one thing to be at a networking event, trying to cram in as many conversations as a 15-minute coffee break will allow. It’s another entirely to have the undivided attention of every delegate for 15 minutes or more. Yet, with a strong social network helping you build a reputation as an expert consultant, writer (see above) and thought leader, don’t be surprised if opportunities to address conferences and other business events follow.

How else has Social Media benefited your freelance career?

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