Social capital (value behind your social contacts) can be developed through investment in your social relationships, it also can be derived purely from a sense of belonging.
The key to improving your social capital isn’t the number of contacts you have on your phone or make. What is important,is making contacts that become lasting relationships.
Imagine if you were trying to do a research and you called five close friends to ask them for help to either a refer you or work with you, they will be easily convinced to help you. Imagine asking strangers who have never heard of you. It won’t be an easy task would it?
People do business with who they know and also refer who they can trust. So start today to horn your networking skills and make your contacts work for you.
Here are some steps to get you moving in the right direction:
1. Engage with your friends, followers on social media and people on whatsapp groups. Everyone is watching and getting to know you through the content you share.
2. Give your clients a personal call. Find out how things went with the project you were involved in, ask if there isanything else you can do to help. It is very important for you not to ask for a referral at this point.
3. Call the people who have referred business to you.Check how things are going. You can also refer businesses to them from your contacts.
4. List 60 people to keep in touch with (and rotate the list). Include anyone who has worked with you in the last 12 months, everyone. Call or send them greetings from time to time. I have an alarm set to text them weekly. If you know their birthdays, send them a card, wish them happy holidays during any holiday. This will keep you on their minds.
5. Follow up. Oh my gosh this is very important. Reach out to them, contact them to check on them and see what’s going on (not in an offensive way). If the contact is a former client or just someone you talked to before, this might be the perfect time to ask for new business or referral. You can also set an appointment to have coffee and find out if their plans might include using your services again.
6. Follow what’s going on in your industry. Educate yourself and apply the knowledge you gain.
7. Cultivate the company of people who are good for your growth. Don’t waste time and energy with people who are not heading in the same direction as you.
Stay away from people who talk about other people, not growing and always negative and complaining.
8. Be a person of value. Do and share your good work, quality content. Prove your excellence through your work.
9. Be an expert. Write a book, blog, speak at events, these activities portray you as an expert in your field and will get you noticed. Do these often.
10. Let others shine. Celebrate people, mention them in your posts, shinning the light on other peoples work will also benefit you. Plus they will return the favour at some point.
Social capital is the international currency of networking, especially business networking. After just a few weeks of putting these steps in motion you should have more than enough social capital to tap into the rest of the year and beyond.