4 Ways to Use Social Networks to Market Even With Company/Industry Restrictions

It’s Referral Monday and every Monday I write a post on Referral Marketing. 

Today, I was speaking to a group of NAWBO members (National Association of Women Business Owners) who joined together to create a Power Partner Network.   Essentially, this is intended to be a Referral Marketing group where the members hope to pass referrals. 

 During our discussion, I mentioned the value of becoming a trusted source in one’s community and using social networking to increase that value.  People who are known as a source of information, a source for knowing the right people, being connected with people you can trust and add value, are people who carry a good deal of social currency within their community.  Community is important because if you become known as this trusted source who is able to facilitate a meeting of the minds of people who are better off connected, you become an invaluable resource to your community and therefore you become an invaluable resource to your strategic partners because you carry such social currency.

We then discussed the challenges for independent professionals that work for larger corporations or industries with certain restrictions on social networking and formal referrals. 

For many professional services individuals, there is a dilemma about participating in social networking.  Particularly for those that work for accounting firms, legal firms, as well as large financial advisory firms, there are some limitations and even restrictions on postings and participation.  There are still, however, some social networking opportunities that you can take advantage of, even if you only post under a personal profile.  Here are 4 ways to take advantage of social networking tools to market without marketing.

1. When attending networking events, post photos from the events and tag others in the photos.  Include their professions as well.  This helps to show the circles within which you participate and are connected.

2. Post professional development events that you might be attending.  This is a great opportunity to network with people in your industry from which you should be giving and receiving referrals.  Everyone should have a target market and we all encounter prospects that aren’t ideal clients for us, so as good community citizens, we want to refer them to someone within our network.

3. Post reviews or testimonials for other strategic partners that you might be working with.  Again, this can help you become a more trusted source within your community which then may naturally bring business to you.

4. Post a request for referrals that you might be looking for.  Doing this once in a while demonstrates that you value your network and are on the lookout for new and trusted professional sources.

For many professionals, social networking tools can be used purely on a personal level and still provide significant benefit to your business.  I’d love to hear any ideas you have as well.

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