How to Find Local Networking Opportunities and Make the Most of Them

Could networking increase your word-of-mouth marketing? Here’s how to find the local networking scene.

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We live in a digital world, but word of mouth is still a main driver of purchasing decisions. In fact, 20%–50% of these decisions are influenced by word of mouth. As a small business marketer, this means networking is as important as ever—especially local networking. Local networking can help build new relationships and uncover new opportunities for the business. There are several ways to find local networking events near you that can benefit your business.

Explore Associations and Organizations Related to Your Industry

Most industries have associations that cater directly to them. For example, if you are a marketer, you can join the American Marketing Association. From dentistry to fashion, there is likely an option to fit your niche. By joining an association, you can meet like-minded individuals who may have interesting ideas about how to grow your business.

The relationships you form can also lead to additional business. For example, if you are a real estate agent who sells residential property, you may meet a real estate agent who specializes in commercial real estate. When the day comes that the agent’s commercial clients are looking for a new house, he or she may refer them to you. Joining an association is a great way to expand your network, and some associations allow you to give them a test drive by attending an event or two without actually joining.

Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce

By joining your local Chamber of Commerce, your business builds credibility and increased brand awareness. Most chambers usually offer a variety of networking events every month, and your business can probably even offer to host an event. If your business services other business owners, the Chamber of Commerce is likely an ideal fit for you.

Search Facebook Groups and Events

Facebook can be a great resource to find events while on the go. On Facebook’s event page, there is a category for networking. Explore your local options, and let others know when you’re interested. You can also join professional Facebook groups that share information about networking events.

Make the Most of Networking Events

Now that you’ve found relevant local events, it’s time to make the best of them. At the core, networking is about building relationships. As you network, be prepared to offer as much as you’d like to receive, and focus on creating relationships that are mutually beneficial and long-lasting.

Bring your business cards and a smile! Prepare to share a little bit about your background and the business you represent. After the event, follow up with your new connections. Relationships take nurturing and commitment to flourish. Then, enjoy the fruits of your networking labor.