Of course, one thing that is always certain in our lives is transition. When we grow as individuals, time and place often comes to separate us from those we once knew, and the things we became familiar with. We move from neighborhood to neighborhood, high school to college, or occupation to occupation. When our plans and purposes change, we are naturally forced to re-adapt and build new identities within a community and acquaint ourselves with new people.
However, these new phases in life can present some very real and complex challenges. We face the challenge of “fitting-in” with a group of new people. Or we may face the challenge of connecting with a group of people who are similar to us or who we are comfortable with. Sure, it can be quite the struggle. But it is a valuable life lesson that tells us to change, adapt, and advance. It is the essential basis of learning to “network”.
The Inherent Capability of Networking
Whether you realize it or not, “networking” is a valuable life lesson that we all know. In your individual life, you have created many social networks with people you know and have come into contact with. It is your personality and perception from others that drives the creation of this network. Similarly, these things also drive business social networks and relationships. This skill that many know inherently and individually is actually a core lesson in the world of marketing and public relations. Whether an organization is new, a start-up, introducing a new service, or re-branding; it is absolutely necessary to successfully learn to plan, organize, and prepare for networking and potential transitions.
What Is Public Relations?
Networking is the integral part of public relations. But to come to a better understanding, we must focus on exactly what public relations is. Sure, some consider it to be “the nurturing and creation of lasting relationships with the public; It is a way to build a much more personal and engaging relationship with clients as opposed to traditional advertising and marketing.” At the surface, this point is correct, but when you look deeper, the true meaning of PR is much more than that. Respectively, it is made up of two parts; “publicity” and “relationships.” Your goal is a “relationship”, and “publicity” is how you obtain it.
The last time you transitioned to a new phase in your life, how did you build new relationships? How did you network? Well it is likely that you did not just present yourself to anyone. You did not just say hello and “be my friend.” It took time to develop. It may have started directly with one person who had similar interests. But the network itself was created indirectly. The network was created through those who knew this person or who they were connected with. The same scenario applies to business. Only an organization’s audience and client base is built through a network of frequent referrals.
PR Events and Social Networking
Of course, the term “social network” has grown into a term that implies a network built from social media. However, that does not always have to be the case. In fact, the most effective public relations strategies build social networks from special PR marketing events and face to face interactions. Events such as conventions, trade shows, and seminars are surefire ways to directly formulate and attract new organizational social networks.
Since relationships are your goals and publicity is how you reach those goals, special PR events are only intended to encourage publicity. But an event does take strategy. Obviously if you go into a grocery store without a shopping list, you are bound to forget something. The same thing applies if you do not formulate an event strategy.
“Publicity” Is Key
Your event must start with research, knowing the target audience, and by knowing what you are promoting. Yet, you are not exactly promoting your organization; you are promoting an idea, a cause, or a program. The strategy is to encourage publicity; to attract publicity for those who attend the event. Just as your personal social network was built through referrals, the event supporters are the ones who will drive the creation of your social network.
Certainly, there are various ways to enhance your PR strategy, but events are still the best ways to openly and directly formulate a social network. Strategically planning a PR marketing event is a direct way to build a network of people who can benefit from you and who you can benefit from in return.