Remember when Toastmasters was the ultimate form of networking?
The world of business networking is wholly different from what it was fifteen years ago, or even five years ago. Back in the day, you had to actually be in the same room with someone in order to effectively connect. Today you can do it from literally anywhere, forging beneficial relationships with potential contacts no matter where you are.
Life today is lived through smart phones. Love it or loathe it, the reality is that those little technological wonders that we all carry in our pockets are the most powerful tools at our disposal for making connections. There are dating apps, social apps, fitness apps, gaming apps, productivity apps, etc. The 21st century is all about apps. For those of us in business, there are networking apps that create replacements for the hotel ballrooms that used to be the bastion of connection for business people.
Some of these apps, can help you make those in person networking opportunities more productive. Others are more like social networks that do the connecting for you. Still another way that apps can work with networking is through facilitating in person meetings, think Meetup.
Learn more about what networking in the age of smartphones looks like by checking out these five best mobile apps for networking.
Best Mobile Apps for Professional Business Networking
1. Full Contact
The Full Contact app allows you to quickly scan all of those business cards that you’ve been hoarding since your last conference, digitize the information for easier access, and then clear out the physical evidence.
You can take a picture and the app will upload the information into your contacts, no need to type anything out! It’s a modern day Rolodex that fits into your pocket.
This app is easy to use and helps you get more out of connections that you’ve already made – no wasted networking here!
Though the online world can be a fruitful one for business relationships, there is simply no substitute for being in person. Shaking hands and making eye contact creates a human connection that engenders trust and fosters the emotional attachment that compels us to reach out again and again. The face-to-face experience remains the best way to network.
That all being said, technology can go a long way in making those face-to-face experiences happen. Meetup helps you locate gatherings in your area that are of interest to you. This is a social networking that brings the social into the real world. You’ll find meetups that focus on business, tech, social media, marketing, entrepreneurship, fitness, etc. Nearly any topic you can imagine. These meetings then take place in public venues like coffee shops, where you can connect in person.
This one is well worth your time, particularly when you remember that there are constantly new meetups being planned, affording lots of new chances to connect.
Another app that’s on the front end of facilitating physical meetings is MeetMe. This app solves the problem of trying to find a location to meet with colleague who doesn’t reside in your area. You can choose Point A (where you are) and Point B (where they are) and then get a list of locations that are between you. Once you decide on a meeting place, you’ll both get directions to it from your current location.
For most of us, working with people who aren’t in the same office building, or even the same city, has proved to be beneficial to everyone. MeetMe allows you to get even more out of those relationships by facilitating face to face meetings.
What’s that guy’s name again? The one with the curly hair? Geez, you met him last month at the conference on social media. If only there was an app to help you remember his name so that you could make a positive impression.
That’s exactly the situation that Namerick seeks to solve! You can quickly record any name, write down notes about the person, like what they’re wearing, when and where you met, what business they were with, etc. After the event is over, you can go back and review those names and notes to give you a second chance to remember them. There’s never a need to wrack your brain for a name again and entering the info only takes a few moments.
This excellent app is easy to use and solves a major networking problem that many of us face. No more being at a loss for words because you can’t remember someone who you should know!
Kindling a business relationship isn’t wholly unlike kindling a romance. The best relationships in both cases often come by chance meetings and are based on matching personality characteristics. Online dating has taken off in the last few years thanks to the ease with which technology allows us to meet people who have similar interests. Imagine that same kind of matchmaking power being turned on for business relationships instead of just romantic ones.
Shapr does just that. It’s a way to find the right matches for business people. Rather than shooting in the dark through a sea of contacts, Shapr connects you to vetted individuals and others in their network to help you find the right networking matches. Innovative and new to the marketplace, this kind of networking is likely to be the future of business.
There has yet to emerge a dominant business networking app in the marketplace that give you everything you need to be successful in keeping track of everything. In fact, there are dozens of apps out there that offer different options, each with strengths and weaknesses. What really matters on these isn’t the app themselves, it’s who’s on the other side. Think of these best business networking apps as a jumping off point for your needs. At the end of the day, it’s your job to work hard to maintain those relationships. If you do, the rewards are phenomenal and no matter what business you’re in, you’ll be able to take advantage of new opportunities.