How can you build your network and boost your income? Sarah Clay is a qualified Social Media Expert who runs her own Social Media Consultancy, ‘Sarah Clay Social’.

Sarah specialises in social media for pubs, restaurants and bars and also hosts one-to-one training in social media and business growth for entrepreneurs, as well as workshops for companies teaching them how to grow their businesses using social media.

Here she shares, in her own words, her top tips for building your network to boost your income #LikeAPro

Q1. How can we find the best networking events for our biz?

Search for relevant hashtags, such as events, networking, geotags on social media and ask your local community.

LinkedIn is a good place to find local events. There’s LinkedIn Local as well as other groups talking about their events on the platform.

Look for relevant Twitter chats and Facebook groups too and be sure to subscribe to apps such as ‘Meetup’ and ‘Eventbrite’. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to the types of event you want to attend.

Q2. How can we ensure we maximise our potential before events?

Research the speakers and engage with them on the day.

Follow the event hashtag and post on social media about the event using the hashtag, tag in the event organiser.

When you’re talking about the event on social media, tag in the speakers, fellow delegates too and geo tag the event.

Q3. How can we get noticed during busy events?

Dress to impress – you’re hanging out with the top people in your industry! Also, take lots of photos!

Live tweeting is great for getting noticed at events and using Instagram stories too. Tag in the speakers and use the event hashtag.

Have some questions prepared for when the speakers ask for some at the end of their talk and do make the effort to engage with the speakers and delegates between talks.

As tempting as it is to have lunch with your friends, don’t! Use the time to get to meet new people.

Q4. How can we follow up sales leads  from networking events?

Get selfies with any likely leads and post them the following day/s, being sure to tag them in.

Take photos of their event badge with their social media profiles on so you remember them!

Research any leads and follow them up afterwards, even if it’s months after the event. You can perhaps arrange to meet or have a video call.

Q5. How can we optimise our digital platforms to stand out in a good way?

Pimp up your profiles! Make sure you have a clear and high quality profile photo.

Strong branding is essential – it doesn’t have to be bright but must be consistent with your branding and your colours.

Make sure your bio is punchy and relevant and tells your story.  

Q6. What are your top tips for building our online network to grow our businesses?

Consistency is key. Post regularly on social media, otherwise people will forget about you.

Always post good quality, relevant content and remember… engage, engage, engage. Don’t just talk, talk, talk.

Q7. How can we best interact with influencers to get in front of their audiences?

Remember, once they were where you are now. Interact with influencers in the same way you would interact with anyone else.

Don’t be afraid of them – they’re human. Send them messages and tag them in your social media posts. Share their work too – it’s such a compliment.

Has this given you some inspiration for growing that network of yours? Let us know in the comments and do share your experiences and thoughts in the free Facebook group.

It’s full of like-minded marketing and social media freelancers looking to take their business to the next level so if you’re not already in the group, check it out!