As a fresh entrepreneur, you likely hear a lot of advice about what you should do to make your Pakistani startup thrive. One of the most widely heard suggestions: network with others via social media. Okay. You understand that, but connecting with anyone and everyone isn’t going to help you if you don’t connect with the right people.
Who you network with is an important ingredient to making social media worth the effort. When networking on social media, make sure to include the following types of people in your circles.
Experienced Business Professionals in Your Industry
Clearly you want to create a professional network, and that means building connections with people who are already in the industry. The problem here is that connecting with experienced individuals can be intimidating, which leaves a lot of people shying away from these opportunities.
Even though your business is based in Pakistan, it’s a good idea to network with industry professionals outside of the country. This can help you gain valuable insight into the global market, open you to new ideas, and present you with opportunities your business otherwise wouldn’t have. This is especially useful when you own a web-based company since these connections can foster business deals and partnerships.
Why connect with experienced professionals?
- You can learn a lot from them, either by discovering what they learned from their mistakes or by tapping into their expert advice.
- You might discover extraordinary business opportunities. For instance, your connections might invest in your startup.
- You can boost your own authority by being connected with people who have already built their own authority in the industry.
Other Pakistani Startup Business Owners
After you have a few connections across your industry, you’ll want to spread out from your own niche and connect with other people who are in the same stages of business as you are. These types of connections will help you learn and grow in the business side of things. Together you can teach other what you’re learning about business regardless of what types of products or services you sell.
It’s a good idea to connect with other Pakistani startups since these connections will help you learn about the business atmosphere close to home.
Why connect with other Pakistani startup business owners?
- You can both learn the ins-and-outs of business together, such as by sharing content, ideas, and lessons.
- Other people’s startup business success gives you something to measure your own success by.
- Together you can encourage each other since you’re going through the same venture at the same time.
Potential Customers or Clients
A lot of people starting out get so caught up in connecting with people at the top of the industry that they forget about the people who will really make their business thrive. One of your most valuable connections will come through potential clients and customers since their reactions will tell you the most about your business’s success.
For instance, one of your business connections might tell you that your new idea is sure to succeed, but if customers come back saying they don’t like the idea or wouldn’t use it, then you know you have to come up with something new. And guess what. Social networks offer the perfect platform for potential customers to voice their opinions, making it the ideal place to connect with them.
But how do you find potential customers and clients to connect with on social media? Stick to your traditional marketing methods, and when someone shows an interest in your business, such as by visiting your website or purchasing a product, prompt them (tactfully) to follow you on social media (whichever network you prefer).
Why connect with clients and customers?
- You can convert your connections into leads.
- You can gain a better understanding of how to shape your product or services in a way that will speak to customer needs.
- You can use social media as a marketing tool to keep customers coming back.
Pakistani Locals in Your Industry
Now that you have a wide range of connections, it’s time to narrow things down. When connecting with Pakistani locals who already work in your industry, look at all types of workers, anywhere from entry-level positions to CEOs. Those people in entry-level positions could become your next employee and the CEOs your next business partners.
Why connect with locals?
- Local connections can lead to business deals that you can easily conduct face-to-face.
- You can gain a better understanding of the full scope of the local industry by connecting with people of all job descriptions.
- Those people at the bottom of the industry might rise to the top quickly, and if you’re well acquainted, these connections can lead to serious business success for you, too.
How to Spot the Good and the Bad
Clearly some people in these groups will be worth connecting with more than others. How do you know who in each group you should spend your time getting to know?
Start by connecting with people who:
- Are interested in your business for the long-term
- Help you out rather than consistently self-promote
- Show their expertise through their profiles, posts, etc.
Stay away from contacts who:
- Lack credibility
- Don’t show interest in you or your product or services
- Focus only on their own needs
- Won’t explore the possibilities with you
As you look for people to connect with, keep in mind that they’re thinking these same things about you, so it’s important to present yourself as someone worth networking with. This means that along with your own marketing techniques, you should also promote others. Create connections by offering others something of value instead of asking them for it. You might share interesting articles, offer your own expert advice (only if you’re an expert!), or spark discussions with thoughtful questions.
Networking on social media isn’t all about throwing your profile at whoever comes your way. Be selective and smart about the people you network with, and you’ll notice the time you take to be worth the effort.
What types of people do you currently connect with on social media? Let us know in the comment section.Feature image via Flickr by Frau Hölle