Going Cardless: 3 Ways to Network Without Business Cards
A recent article written by senior online editor Kyle Richardson suggested the era of the business card may be over, citing a 13 percent slide in total card sales over the last five years. While an obvious concern for those who sell them as print products, the decline of business cards also raises another issue: Is your networking in need of modernization?
Business cards are of course a vetted and practical tool, but new (and potentially more efficient) ways to connect and exchange information with business partners are popping up every day. Looking to take your networking into the computer era? Here are three ways to make business connections faster, deeper and cheaper.
- LinkedIn. If you aren't using LinkedIn, start now. I'm a fairly remorseless cynic and delight in finding flaws in anything hyped as "the next big thing," but I have to admit that LinkedIn is a wonderful networking tool. Granted I use it for writing and not for selling, but I've found it an absolutely amazing way to connect with strangers. I'm only up to about 430 connections, which really isn't that many, but it's already made getting the interviews I need about 4,000 times easier. I've found users to be really attentive to messaging and open to connecting to strangers, but also there's just so much more information. I can search by company, position, and if they have a semi-detailed profile I can even narrow by industry and market of focus. Plus, I can see if a contact is still with a company, or if they've been promoted or moved on. LinkedIn has so much more depth and currency than business cards, it makes saving cards pointless beyond using them to look a person up on the site.
- Smartphone Apps. There are about a billion smartphone apps out there boasting that they're the last and final business card killer. I have never used any myself, being maybe the last 20-something on Earth who doesn't have a smartphone, but there are a whole bunch out there that are apparently quite popular. Bump and LinkedIn's Cardmunch are the big ones, but plenty more are only a Google or Mashable search away if those two aren't to your liking.
- The Mobile Web . Even without an app, the internet is still everywhere. Want to get a client to your website? Email them the link, show them on your iPad or web-phone, add them on Facebook or Twitter and message them. QR codes, text- and smart-messaging services, and even a pen with a web address on it are all vastly more effective ways of connecting with someone compared to handing them a card and saying "let's be in touch!"
That's all for this week guys! Thanks so much for reading, and see you all next week!
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MONDAY MIKE FACT: I had the best vegetarian buffalo wings over the weekend. Philly Vegs, hit up North Bowl for their wings if you haven't already.