The Make Me A Guest Blogger Series, by Shona Chambers, Marketing Consultant

We all know that having friends is important.

If you are a parent then you probably spend time hoping your child will make new friends every school year. 


As a small business owner it's a similar thing. Your business needs friends to thrive and be well.


Psychologists have observed that life during the lockdown was hard on us, we forgot how to socialise beyond a Zoom square.  Many people are finding they are tired and drained and thinking about networking is just a step too far right now.


So how do we get back to it if we have been away for a while?


Here are 5 simple tips that might help you make networking a habit again.

1. Listen to podcasts you like & interact with the host & guest


This is such a gentle networking tip it practically isn't, so it should suit anyone who is feeling very low on energy.

So many small business owners have podcasts now. Many of them are fairly short (from 15 mins) you can listen in on a range of small business topics from specific how to do something to the more emotional side, resilience, mindset, boundaries etc. 

If you genuinely enjoy the show, leave a comment on the social media of the host when they advertise the episode, and why not reach out to the guest too and tell them what you most enjoyed.  


Everyone loves feedback and they will appreciate you taking the time.


2. Line up a coffee and a chat call


Networking doesn't always have to be one to many, it can be one to one. 


I know a coach who offers coffee and a chat calls with 4 different people each month.  These are not the standard discovery call that you might have had before but an opportunity to simply chat and see how you can help one another. 


In her case she does a 45 minute session but it could be even less than this.  


Why not think about who you could ask to do this with you? If you have made contacts on social media but never spoken, actually talking to them could take it to the next level.


3. Host an online session yourself


If you have a social media account or group, why not set up a regular time when people can come and interact with you and each other. Many people do this at a set time each week, give it a name that is welcoming, and let the community build up.  You could try posting a question at the start to focus everyone's answers 


4. Find interest based Facebook groups


If you are a freelancer or self employed, there are lots of different groups to get involved with. You can go even further with that and choose groups for self employed people with children, freelancers that want to accelerate their business quickly, there really are lots. 


You are much more likely to enjoy networking when you find a group of people who have the same life experiences as you, and if you don't like a group, you can just leave. 


5. Use Linkedin


Many people feel Linkedin is too corporate, but as a platform it has changed a lot.

New features like stories, the 30 second profile video you can now post, the ability to publish articles, or go live if you are approved.

Even if all you do is pop on for 1 minute per day and comment on your existing contacts posts this will extend your audience, because more people will see your name and get an idea of who you are.

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