5 Tools For Developing Your Business Network

Diem Do

Developing your business network is essential in growing your company. However, 21st Century technology has changed the way we all network. Instead of cold calling or sending out unsolicited email, we’re seeking out connections on social media and referrals to help build our networks – and ultimately business. In other words, networking is more than just throwing your name out there like in days past; it’s about creating meaningful relationships in your industry and proving that you’re a trusted resource.


While maintaining a blog, attending industry events and being active on social media outlets are all apart of networking and building your status as an industry leader, it can become a bit overwhelming. That’s when you need to rely on tools to help make networking more efficient and effective.


Since there are so many tools out there to help develop your business network, I’ve put together my favorite five tools that will help you construct a powerful business network.


1. LinkedIn


If you’re looking to develop your business network, then the most obvious place to start is by joining and being active on LinkedIn LNKD -1.04%. Besides being the “world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories,” LinkedIn can be used to store your online resume or to show-off some of your work.


However, it’s a great social network for business professionals to connect by joining groups, asking questions and participating in exchanges with your colleagues or influencers. Furthermore, having a complete LinkedIn profile will help others find your more easily when they Google GOOGL +0.17% your name after meeting at industry events or conferences.


If you haven’t joined LinkedIn just yet, then I suggest you review Pamela Vaughan’s cheat sheet for mastering LinkedIn on HubSpot. It’ll help you to never cold call anyone again!


2. Rapportive and Alternatives


Rapportive is a neat Gmail plugin that allows you to see the social media information of contacts without leaving your inbox – which is essentially just LinkedIn profiles after LinkedIn purchased the tool. This simply means that you have their profile image, employment information, location and mutual contacts that you both have. By having these details, you can begin exchanging emails to expand your network by establishing a rapport based on similar interests.


The biggest issue with Rapportive is that it’s just not the same after LinkedIn acquired it. So, if you aren’t a fan of the changes that have been made, you can try alternatives like Vibe, Ark, Connect6 or Rapporto (this one probably won’t last too much longer). I personally love Marketing.ai to schedule out content.


3. Lifeograph


If you’re an entrepreneur or an up-and-coming tech company, then you absolutely have to use Lifeograph. Lifeograph is putting together an encyclopedia of the who’s who in Silicon Valley, and the tech industry in general, so that you can connect with VC’s, angel investors and fellow entrepreneurs.


What makes Lifeograph really appealing is that you have access to a graph that illustrates how people in the industry are connected to each other. Also, there’s a handy timeline so that you can explore the success and fails of tech companies before investing any more time in growing that connection.


4. Let’s Lunch


While there are a lot of incredible tools and resources that make it easier to network with people from all over the world, there’s still nothing quite like meeting someone face-to-face. In fact, Dr. Richard D. Arvey, a psychologist and professor at the National University of Singapore, shared in his report for Hilton Hotels called “Why Face-to-Face Business Meetings Matter,” that 83% of all respondents believed that the developing of a personal relationship is one of the most important elements of doing business.


That’s why since 2010 Let’s Lunch has been helping schedule face-to-face meetings.


This tool is extremely simple to use too. All you do is connect with your LinkedIn profile, tell them when you’re free to meet and then have lunch with a possible contact. Let’s Lunch will also suggest places to meet that are convenient to both parties and asks for feedback so that you can build a reputation on this service.


5. CircleBack/ScanBizCards


CircleBack is helpful app that makes sure that you address book is up-to-date. But, the app also consolidates all of your contacts by removing duplicate entries and repairing errors like typos. It can also locate missing contact information or updated information from outdated contacts.


While the CircleBack app helps keep your address book current, the app also offers another useful tool called ScanBizCards. This app scans business cards and places the contact information into your address book. It’s available for iOS and Android devices and can read 23 different languages.


Since business cards remain a favorite assist in the business world, the ScanBizCards app ensures that you’ll never lose or misplace this valuable information again.


There are many new technologies out there to help us connect and better network online. Take full advantage of all the tools available to become the best networker possible.


What additional tools have you found to be useful to network better?

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Source : forbes.com