Expect major changes in networking and referral marketing (formerly word-of-mouth). The signs are already there. It is difficult to find a millenial with a business card. They just pull out their cell phone and send you their information (business card). And, it probably has a video included in it. We are now mobile or even wearable. We know that social networks and integrating with digital experiences.
The networking process has increased in speed. Instead of meeting someone for the first time, building rapport and agreeing to contact each other soon, we now check out calendars on our cell phone and set a date, time, and place for a 121 session. And, rather than face to face, it may be by Skype where we can still benefit from seeing the body language. So, in addition to eliminating delay, we have also emliminated travel.
Many of the networking changes will be in the areas of social media. The proof is in the numbers.
Ten years ago we had no knowledge of posting photos and videos, and daily checking socia media. Since Mark Zuckenberg founded Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard, social media users have grown to more than 2 billion users with the vast majority from outside the U.S and growing at 25% each year. 90% of companies are active in social networks. Almost 8 billion videos are being viewed on You Tube every day and 1 billion Twitter tweets and 100 milllion Instagram photos. Many new technologies are popping up every day like Slack and Facebook for Work, increasing the ability to communicate. LinkedIn is evolving with chats.
How do you contact someone today? If you call them you get voice mail. When they call you back they get your voicemail. Experts say only 1 out of 17 emails are read. So, the solution is texting, where, at least right now, you get almost an immediate response. And, there are now tools available where you can send numerous voice mails and texts at one time without being considered spam. It’s a new way to build rapport.
If video is missing from your list of tools, you may be losing business. Videos are a better way to tell you story. Teenagers are showing adults how to use Snapchat.Permanent photos may be going away. Google Hangouts was the leader in the field of live streaming, but now there is Periscope, Blab, and Facebook Mentions. And, one you may be unaware of “YouNow”, a real-time video broadcasting app, where teenagers are watching each other, even sleeping.
Two other futuristic tools are already available. One is Virtual Reality like Google Cardboard where studies show people watch videos for 14 minutes as opposed to regular videos for 2 – 3 minutes.
organizes it by date, place, people, topics, etc.
So, what should you be doing to prepare for Networking in the Future, which is already here?
- Find a mentor who is knowledgeable of state-of-the-art networking tools.
- Learn about Inbound Marketing in addition to outbound marketing.
- Use videos. People like to see you. Get up to speed on virtual reality.
- Excite, Engage, Entertain and create an Experience is what the best networkers do.
- Combine digital and physical for better experiences
- Social Networking will be contextual – learn Instagram, Whatsapp, Nextdoor
- Companies are turning to employees to network to get the word out.
- Continue reading, learning, and practicing.
See you at the next networking event – online or offline.