There was a time when business cards did all the work for professionals looking to network or connect. These pieces of paper contained all the information a person looking to do business needed, but in this age of mass communications, are they still as effective, given the much larger business arena?
The digital age has enabled us to reach more people at the touch of a button and in less time. Thanks to the internet and the rise of various social networking sites, there are more ways to connect and many more opportunities to explore.
While the business card does its job of relaying information up front very well, if your goal is to attract and be available to a more global audience, it is no longer enough.
The social networking site LinkedIn was created for the purpose of connecting professionals all over the world. With more than 300million members, it’s intended to help people look for jobs, hire employees, generate sales leads and connect with possible business partners. Your business card is not very likely to reach even a fraction of that number, is it?
Business cards do work in a personal encounter. But they won’t find themselves in the hands of someone in another town, or country, unless they are physically handed over to them. A more surefire way to get your professional information to someone you have not met yet is through a professional networking site.
LinkedIn is your best bet when it comes to furthering your opportunities. A business card can only take you so far, in some cases, nowhere at all when stuck inside a wallet or a filing cabinet. The vibrant and real time community of LinkedIn keeps you updated, informs you of the latest business trends and makes professional contacts easier to reach.
If you still haven’t looked into creating a LinkedIn profile for you or your business, it is best to look into working with a digital marketing agency to help you power up your presence online.
A digital marketing agency can also help strengthen your Integrated Marketing Communications strategy. Business cards and LinkedIn profiles are only a small part of the puzzle - you also have the rest of your brand image to think about, which translates into all your marketing materials, both traditional and non-traditional.
Mass communications has never been more challenging to the aspiring business. Yes, the digital age has made it easier to reach out to a large number of people, but along with this convenience comes the greater need for caution.
Business cards with errors can be corrected by replacing them, but an error made online is not so easily forgotten. Remember those 300million LinkedIn users? Any mistake you make online has the potential to be seen by them.
That is why your online marketing tools matter. You may want to consider hiring a professional digital marketing agency such as this one to streamline your Integrated Marketing Communications for you. After all, in business, consistency in branding matters a lot.
Having a business card on hand is still important. They help you make contact physically with another professional. However, it doesn’t stop there. Nowadays, people tend to go online to do further research on a business they are interested in.
It is usually through sites like LinkedIn that you will provide a potential client with more information about you. Oftentimes, it is through further online research on your social networking sites that the deal will be sealed, or not, for you.
An experienced digital marketing agency will ensure that your branding is effective and consistent throughout your online channels. If you wish to be successful, you must take Integrated Marketing communications seriously to ensure that you are speaking to your market in a consistent voice.
To sum it up, a business card and a LinkedIn profile are similar in goals, in that they both strive to connect and to network, but are not entirely comparable. The business card is the instrument that sparks the exchange, while LinkedIn represents the online facet of your business, the extension of your brand. It carries the rest of the information your business card can’t contain.
The card and profile work together, so if you wish to find a responsive and large audience, no matter what networking method you use, remember to find a unified approach for all your marketing materials through your different channels.