Whether you connect online or meet in person at an event, networking is a necessary business investment. You can be a social butterfly or an awkward conversationalist, it doesn't matter. You need to network. The relationships you build are critical to your personal growth and business development.
We asked 12 entrepreneurs to reveal their top pick for apps that do everything from instantly pulling key contact information to connecting you with locals during your travels. Check out their best answers below and get ready to network your face off.
I run monthly networking events for young professionals, currently in six cities across the U.S. We searched high and low to find a useful tool to help facilitate our in-person connections digitally. We chose SummitSync, which has been a great resource for our attendees to see who is coming before an event, see who is there during, and connect for 72 hours after an event.
– Darrah Brustein of Network Under 40
Shapr is a new app that makes it possible to connect with people in a targeted way, whereas most social networks try to connect you with thousands of people. You can set up your profile so only relevant profiles are suggested. I think as more people start using this, it's going to prove to be a very valuable tool for business networking.
– Shawn Porat of Scorely
Facebook Mentions allows influencers to connect with fans and field business opportunities. It's the ultimate business networking tool because it allows you to separate yourself as an influencer and your business as distinguished. In turn, you can leverage Mentions to promote yourself and your business and connect with people who are interested in you and your products or services.
– Kristopher Jones of LSEO.com
Meetup is a must-have app for business networking. It lets you identify relevant meetings near you that you can attend and get the word out about your biz, as well as meet some of your local fellow small business owners.
– Andrew Schrage of Money Crashers Personal Finance
Nothing beats face-to-face networking and communications. Eventbrite is a powerful way to stay apprised of local industry events. Attend them when possible, whether small or large, to give yourself the opportunity to meet and connect with new people. Virtual connections are great, but at the end of the day, having face-to-face encounters is much more powerful.
– Marcela De Vivo of Gryffin
When I get a few days between meetings and flights, I like to network in a similar industry and learn how others are doing business in a tough climate. I just turn on my GPS and Wi-Fi along with Aloqa to find out if there are any industry conferences, expositions, etc. It also has pretty decent restaurant recommendations.
– Cody McLain of SupportNinja
Nudge aggregates everything about the prospects in your network on a single platform to let you keep tabs on what's going on in their world. Use it for regular networking and take advantage of opportunities to let them know you're actively paying attention.
– Dan Golden of BFO (Be Found Online)
I love that Rapportive shows you the social networks, photo and last posts of the person you are emailing. I like to snag the email of the person I am talking to and send them a quick email note. Then they're automatically added to my database with notes of who they are and what their focus area is. Golden.
– Kim Walsh-Phillips of Elite Digital Group
Pushdot is a great way to share contact information because it's easy and effective — much better than trying to organize paper business cards. It's connected to numerous social platforms so you can select how much or how little you want to share.
– Angela Ruth of Due
Most of our customers and influencers have Instagram so it's the best marketing tool for us. Since people are used to scanning photos and videos, we can have a successful networking and marketing plan with simply an interesting and educational photo.
– Daisy Jing of Banish
LinkedIn is most relevant for the workplace and has tools that make it great for business networking specifically. For example, not only can you see someone's resume, skills and references, you can use a publishing platform to syndicate content there. And, most importantly, you can find common connections.
– Eden Chen of Fishermen Labs
GroupMe is a fantastic way to business network and stay connected. It allows you to self-select your group and quickly create a meaningful community. It’s free, works on any device, and you can even use it over text message. It has helped me tremendously!
– Roshawnna Novellus of Novellus Financial
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.