Initially, teaming up in the business world may feel counter productive. Afterall, why would you want to help the competition? We definitely understand that instinct. However, consider the benefits you could enjoy by networking with other businesses and marketers. If two businesses have a common interest or goal, they can help each other achieve it through networking and create beneficial marketing partnerships.
Networking is important for meeting new contacts and maintaining those relationships. Networking is something we do every day on the phone, over social media, and via email. Conferences, marketing events, and meals are other important opportunities where networking happens. While networking, be friendly and confident without pushing your business too hard. Exchange information, and follow up with the other person as soon as possible.
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Once you’ve established a relationship, reach out to the other party and ask if they would like to collaborate to achieve common goals. With any collaboration, it’s imperative to clearly communicate the plan and the expectations of both parties.
Here are some ways to collaborate together:
At first, sharing information with a fellow company feels like handing over the baton to the opposite team. Nevertheless, you’ll be surprised at how advantageous exchanging information can be. As you network with other marketers in your industry, ask them how they deal with specific situations or what trends they are noticing in the business. If you’re friendly and open, most people will be happy to have a dialogue in which you’ll both come away learning valuable information.
Social media is the perfect place to collaborate on a promotion with another company. In these cases, both companies can share the cost and double the audience of the promotion by working together across each entity’s accounts.
Meanwhile, make sure you’re always networking on social media. Create lists on Twitter (using a social media organizational tool like Hootsuite). From the list, you can follow specific hashtags and keywords being talked about. You can also use lists to follow Twitter Chats being held by influencers in your area. Join the conversation and make your voice heard. Make relationships and follow one another, retweet, comment on each other’s tweets, and engage with each other.
In general, share your news on social media; post about conferences you’re attending and new products you’re launching; and hashtag your posts so others can find your content and follow it.
Content is king, but we all know how much time and effort goes into creating valuable content. That’s why it’s a great idea to exchange content with another group. Guest blogging is an easy and excellent way to get your information in front of another company’s audience (as well as getting a backlink). In a guest blogging collaboration, you’ll write a blog and the other company will post it on their blog and vice versa. This helps keep your blog content fresh and helps you develop working relationships.
Other ways to exchange content include sharing each other’s posts on social media, guest posting on each other’s accounts, and writing guest content in one other’s email marketing newsletters.
If you network with companies who are in your industry, but who aren’t direct competitors, you can join forces to market to each other’s audiences online, also known as cross promotion. For example, airlines often cross promote rental car opportunites to online customers. Another example would be distributors cross promoting graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow brands during the summer to encourage people to make s’mores while camping or sitting by a fire.
-Thank You’s & Following Up
Thanking a collaborator is crucial to maintaining a working relationship. Thank the other company, and follow up with them to see if their expectations and goals for the collaboration were met. You can then stay connected, continue to share information, and plan future collaborations together.
Are you interested in learning more about effective networking and online marketing strategies? Our team at Square 1 Group is dedicated to providing customized and individual service for our clients. We specialize in social media campaigns, web design, and website management. Contact us today for a consultation.