What is professional networking and why is it important for your brand?

Business people shaking hands greeting min
13th Apr 2021
Posted By Rachel Knibbs

In today’s interconnected world, professional networking has become one of the most powerful tools in business.

As Porter Gale once said, ‘Your network is your net worth.’ The opportunities that come alongside professional networking are endless and if done correctly, it’s a great resource for businesses collaboration and building brand awareness. Engaging with other like minded individuals within your industry (and beyond!) is one of the best ways to share knowledge, nurture leads, develop partnerships and so much more.

What is Professional Networking?

In short, a professional network is a number of people who have connected for business and/or career-focused purposes. This can be anyone from experts in the field, to business owners and potential suppliers - there are no strict rules as far as connecting goes, but the more varied and relevant people you have in your network, the more benefits you can expect to see. Broadening your network can increase your chances of success as you never know who or what is around the corner - for instance, a supposedly ‘random’ connection could just turn out to be the biggest partnership opportunity you’ve had in years, which is why networking should be an integral component of any business strategy. Networking for business can also help brands to identify new opportunities, whilst harnessing the power of getting recognised and referred via reputation and recommendations (for the right reasons of course!) It is, however, important to remember that it does take time and energy to form these relationships - you can’t expect to reap the rewards if you aren’t willing to engage and maintain frequent communication with your network. If you invest the right amount of time into people and develop genuine bonds, then you're much more likely to see the benefits of professional networking.

How does it work?

There are a lot of different ways that you can expand and enhance your professional network. Pre-COVID, networking events took place all over the country, and these were an incredibly effective way to interact directly with people and follow up further down the line for pretty quick results. However, the pandemic has introduced a new era of networking - people have had to divert their efforts to the online space and social media platforms are now heavily relied upon to forge new relationships. Though these methods were very much alive beforehand, the effects of COVID-19 took social networking to new peaks, specifically on the B2B platform LinkedIn.

‘722 million users are now on the professional network in more than 200 countries.’

As the pandemic pivoted the networking landscape, people began to seek and develop more meaningful engagements across social media, which in-turn has resulted in professionals building business communities and groups online. It’s an accessible and financially do-able way for businesses to expose their brand and its story, reach out to other specialists in the field, connect with potential sponsors and partners whilst also showcasing the people behind the brand. Throughout 2020, LinkedIn saw a 55% increase in conversations between connections as a result of people not being able to network in-person. Whether it’s sharing interesting content that resonates well with your network or interacting frequently with your connections’ posts, you can successfully build your network, position yourself as an authoritative figure in your field and enhance your business’ exposure in a multitude of ways.

Why is it important for your brand?

Dedicating time to create a strong professional network can allow you to draw on resources as and when you need them, not to mention the collaboration opportunities that are available with other experts who can help you grow your brand and acquire new business. One of the most obvious benefits is the potential to secure new clients - this could be through effectively utilising personal branding (more about that in our blog here!), being referred via recommendations and mutual connections, having access to more knowledge about your brand and its services/offering - and much more. Remember though - it’s super important to be visible and active, that way your content is much more likely to be seen on a variety of feeds and you’re much more likely to stick in people’s minds as a knowledgeable, approachable and authoritative figure in your sector.

Aside from growing your business, your professional network can also provide inspiration and ideas from external resources. People from different industries and backgrounds will each have something unique to bring to the table, so utilising the ability to interact with these individuals (and pages and groups too) can often shine a light on new business ideas whilst also keeping you up to date with the latest news, trends and topics within your industry.

Enable the possibilities of professional networking with CCM Group.

The effort you put into your professional network will reflect on the benefits and results that you see. We understand that you may not have the time or resource to build and maintain your business network, but our brand specialists are on hand to help. Ready to unlock your business’ full potential through effective networking? Drop us a line at marketing@weareccm.co.uk.