When you ask someone where and how they grow their networks, most respond with LinkedIn. Many Millenials and other younger people might mention Instagram or Snapchat. There is nothing wrong with any of those sources, but I would like to suggest two additional places where you might find new people to join your networks - one old and one new.
Most people know about Meetup. After all, it has been around since 2002. However, just because they know about it does not mean that they actively use it. That's a missed opportunity.
Many BNI chapters list themselves there, but we are suggesting that you use Meetup to reach beyond BNI to grow your network and, potentially, grow your business referrals.
If you are traveling, you can leverage Meetup to find relevant events happening where you will be, including other BNI chapters. You can find many events and groups, not just business related, that could be of interest to you. How many business relationships do you have that came about through non-business interactions?
So many of us forget about Meetup because of other, newer platforms that get more attention. Don't abandon your other efforts for Meetup alone but consider adding it to your networking mix. Leveraging their mobile app will enhance your experience too.
Some of you may have heard of beBee already. It is attracting a lot of attention. Founded in Spain in 2015, beBee is very new. It is growing rapidly with 11+M members already. Supposedly, 40K US-based users are joining daily, and Bebee has already opened an office in NYC.
Understandably, if you don't do business in Spain or the US, beBee may not be for you. If you currently have or want to have an international business, then beBee could be a nice complement to your effortsn. It seems to skew towards entrepreneurs currently so be aware.
If you feel a little like you missed your opportunity to be an early adopter with something like LinkedIn and grow your thought leadership as the platform grew, you may want to consider extending and growing your personal brand on beBee.
You should know that it isn't like LinkedIn in every instance. You don't invite people to connect. You follow people aligned with your interests. Similarly, you can join affinity groups based on your interests. You don't have to connect literally with or friend anyone. You can share or publish articles as well as share, rank, and comment on articles from others.
They were wise to introduce a mobile version of it to increase the likelihood of adoption as more and more people do the majority of the electronic networking through their smartphone.
If you have not tried it, then take a minute to check it out. It is currently free and only takes a few minutes to sign up. Be sure to let us know what you think.
Now those are just two examples of networks or platforms that you can leverage for networking that you may not have thought or known about. If you have examples that have been valuable to you, then please share them in the comments below.
Good luck and good networking!