To say networking is important would be a massive understatement. When you operate a company, who you know is often more valuable than what you know.
It can be important to continually reach out and make connections with new people, especially those within your industry. Studies have shown that the bigger and more diverse your social network, the more likely you are to have career success. A recent study, for example, shows that your career success is 50 percent attributed to the network you’ve built around you.
Here are some of the best networking apps and services out there that can help you find new business connections.
The best feature of LinkedIn may be the sheer size of the service. Odds are, you’ve probably already got an account or at least been invited to use the service. This can greatly increase your chances of getting an introduction through a connection to just about anybody.
Rapportive is an app for Gmail that allows you to quickly see information about the person you’ve just received email from. It connects your LinkedIn profile and gives you data about the contact's job titles, location, etc. It’s a social CRM that can help you put a name to a face, as well as company and other useful information.
Happening provides help with the other side of networking: meeting people in real life. The Happening App allows you to find events in your city that you and your friends may be interested in attending.
I’ll be the first to admit that the concept for Weave may be a bit unusual. Weave is essentially a matchmaking app for professionals, but in a non-romantic way. The service’s algorithm matches you up with people who you might have similar interests in and are near your location. You swipe through profiles until you find some interesting matches (a la Tinder) and then initiate the connection.
Weave also has a concierge service to match you up with other professionals every Friday, but it’s invite only.
Conferences can be an incredible opportunity for networking, and Lanyrd can be a great tool to have if you’re trying to find one.
Lanyrd is a social conference and event directory. It uses data from social profiles and LinkedIn to show what conferences your friends and connections are going to as well. You can browse conferences by location, date, industry and other criteria.
Meetup is in the same vein as Lanryd, except the scope is much more focused around location. Meetup helps you find events and groups that are happening around you. This could be small to large groups of people, ranging from a myriad of interests.
If you’re in the tech industry, Caliber could be an interesting app to try. You sign in through LinkedIn, designate your role in the company and start swiping through relevant profiles. You can also filter and search for profiles, if you’re looking for something specific, like “designers.”
8. 1 Million Cups
1 Million Cups is a growing movement to help and connect entrepreneurs. Every week, entrepreneurs give presentations in their communities across the nation. Afterward, the audience has a Q&A session with the presenter and gives feedback about the business and presentation.
While 1 Million Cups is focused around entrepreneurship, there can be a great opportunity to meet like-mined people at the event. Not only may they have potential interest in business, they’re also geographically located close to you.
CityHour is an app that helps you find people in a 50-mile radius willing to meet face to face within the next two hours. You can find people within a particular industry or who have similar business goals, and if you’re on the road and don’t know the area, you can have the app suggest local meeting venues.
New York-based startup Shapr provides an interesting twist on networking within your industry. Shapr allows you to choose 50 people who you know and trust well enough to share access your network of connections. You’ll receive up to five introductions a day through the app, allowing you to accept or reject each connection. Once both parties have approved the match, they’re then able to chat.
BranchOut is much like LinkedIn in the way that it connects professionals, but it instead uses Facebook data. You can use the service to find new leads, jobs, and hires all through the social graph data provided by Facebook.
For more insights on getting the most out of networking opportunities, access the exclusive guide, Networking That Works: Connect Your Way to Business Growth.
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