As small business owners, you know that networking is of utmost importance to building your business and credibility. Word of mouth endorsements are invaluable and you never know the connections you will make at an event or during an online networking hour. Yet, as a small business owner, attending hours-long events to establish relationships and potential partners is just not part of your daily routine because they’re a major drain on your most precious resource: time. Luckily in this fast-paced digital age, there are a number of professional networking apps that help you to network effectively on your own time.
Read on for the top networking apps to install today!
Think of Shapr as the Tinder of networking apps. After completing your individual profile, a curated list of like-minded people is generated for you. Swipe right if you want to connect with them over the messaging platform or in person. If that person isn’t who you’re looking for, swipe left and more profiles will appear. Communication is only allowed once both parties have accepted one another and shown mutual interest in connecting. This way you know the person you’re reaching out to wants to hear from you and will be responsive. Think of the time you’ll save by using this app instead of spending it writing following up emails to or leaving numerous voicemails for new acquaintances.
Meet someone at a conference or while waiting in line for your morning coffee? Use Contxts to quickly exchange contact information. You have the option to send a text or email with your complete contact information to your desired recipient. If the other person has the app, you can bump phones and that transfers your information to one another’s devices. The app is compatible with any mobile phone, so there are no limits as to who you can sync with. Contxts helps you create a growing digital rolodex that is up-to-date, easily accessible, and paperless. You’ll never be without a contact’s information again with this tool.
Are you protective of your inbox? Install Rapportive and instead of having ads on the right-hand side of your screen, the sender’s LinkedIn profile populates, complete with their photo and other relevant profile information. Having the sender’s professional information at your fingertips makes replying in an informed way simple, and allows you to quickly determine if this is someone you want to engage with from the get-go. It also lists your common connections on LinkedIn and their location. All of this information is available within your inbox and saves you the effort of Googling them or looking them up on LinkedIn. That’s time well spent.
1 Million Cups
Looking to connect in person with other local entrepreneurs? 1 Million Cups can do just that. It was founded as “a weekly, national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs.” With 77 communities in over 35 states, you’re bound to find a group that meets your entrepreneurial needs. At each weekly meeting, a handful of startups present their companies and business ideas to the group for open dialogue, and a question and answer session. It’s a way to glean unbiased feedback from those in the know. Sign up to find your closest community today.
Have a last minute meeting cancellation? Use CityHour to find someone to fill that space on your calendar. Log into the app to see who around you wants to meet in the next two hours. The location parameters are limited to a 50-mile radius, so meeting with someone on such short notice is feasible. CityHour fills any downtime or unexpectedly free time during your jam-packed days. You can set specific limitations in the search function to help you maximize your time. You can filter by industry, location, and even desired meeting outcomes. What better way to utilize otherwise unproductive time than connect with someone new; you never know what could happen!
If exclusivity is what you’re looking for, apply for a membership at Weave. They pride themselves in accepting only 28% of applications to their elite professional networking pool. Once accepted, you complete a profile indicating your interests and who you want to meet. From there, you’ll receive a weekly introduction with an opportunity to meet in person on a Friday or Saturday. This is a more location-based service as you’re encouraged to meet in person, and plays nicely into developing entrepreneurial ties and connections in your business’s local setting.
We hope this list is useful in your networking efforts. If you have other app suggestions, share them in the comments below!
About the Author: Julie Chomiak is the Content Marketing Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not scouring the web for small business trends, Julie loves traveling, interior design, and animals of all kinds. Get more from Julie on the Webs Blog and the Pagemodo blog.