“No man (or woman) is an island” – why you need your network, and they need you!

On the completion of a campaign that drew on a client’s key network, Keystone Marketing Manager Katherine Hesketh reflects on a network’s impact and importance.

“nepotism”: Noun – the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends. In short – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

“networking”: Noun – the action of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

Are these two totally different concepts? Do we network in order to benefit from nepotism? Love it or hate it, most people recognise that networking can be a very positive activity that can lead to constructive outcomes.

Humans have an innate desire to make connections with other people, in order to learn from one another, to socialise and grow communities. Whichever way you look at it, your network – be it personal or business – is really important.

3 things you should always do with your network
How much time are you spending on your network?

  1. Are you growing it?
  2. Are you staying connected to it?
  3. And (here comes the one that might make you feel uncomfortable), are you maximising it?

How to grow and stay connected to your network
This is so simple. Get out there, either physically or online, and meet people. Make introductions, ask for recommendations and make new connections. Once you’ve made connections, keep them informed by communicating with them – talk about your business, share ideas, and collaborate.

The secret to maximising your network 
Why is it so hard to ask for help? Maybe it’s just a British trait, but it can feel hard asking others, especially those outside your organisation, for help can’t it? But what if you knew that the person you were asking wasn’t going to think of your request as a chore, or an inconvenience? Here’s a secret – if you grow your network and keep them up to date, your network will be packed with advocates who are informed, and (with a bit of luck) only too happy to help when you ask.

Our experience of maximising a network
We recently ran a campaign for a client who wanted to sign up new members to their membership organisation. On the face of it, it was an easy sell. Membership fees were £0 for the first year and the target audience was huge. But there was a big sticking point – there was no central database containing the contact details of everyone that we wanted to reach. So in this new GDPR world, how could we reach them?

The answer lay in the existing members of the membership organisation – we had to maximise the existing members, and use them to our advantage. “Member get member” is by no means a new concept, but it’s a good one! And here’s why – because your existing members already know people, like them – you don’t have to go out and find them. And here’s the crux, they’re much better placed to do the ‘selling’ because they’re impartial. They can speak from the heart about what they perceive to be the benefits, because they believe in them, and have already signed on the dotted line.

In our case, we were selective. We didn’t run the campaign as a complete MGM scheme, with incentives. We kept it small and personal. We built a personal relationship with each advocate through a detailed phone call and provided them with everything they needed to support the campaign.  As for the result, well I’m delighted to report that we smashed our KPIs!

You’re human – look after your network and it will look after you
Is spending time on your network high up your priority list? It should be, because that need for connection is hard-wired into our DNA – you can’t escape it, it’s what makes us human! Just remember, when you lay great foundations in your network, you can build great connections on top of it.

Drop us a line to find out how we can help you fully utilise your networks as part of your marketing strategy…