Networking in the digital age can present something of a challenge as it requires a totally different approach to the old school way of making connections. The era of face to face contact, office visits and business cards has all but been replaced in most industries by email marketing, digital selling and social media networking. Even some of the most traditional of professions have taken to digital networking, seeing the advantages both in terms of cost savings and the extent of the networking possible through digital means. For business networking groups this has meant an attitude adjustment in order to stay on top of the needs of members and to remain technologically competitive. The newest weapon in the networking battleground is the business networking group app – one of the most effective ways of creating a digital networking forum and extending the reach of a business networking association in the virtual world.
Business app developer Insight Mobile is one company that already has experience putting together apps for exactly the kinds of organisations – law firms, independent financial advisors and accountants, for example – who rely on networking as an important part of their businesses. The company sees the app as key to business networking associations that focus on professions like these and that are looking to expand their numbers and grow at a competitive rate. The company has looked at the kinds of features a business networking group app could contain and the benefits it could offer to a business networking organisation. These include:
- events listings including GPS locations and the ability for a user to add an event straight into their diary
- a selection of networking tools that are specifically designed to function via an iPhone or Android networking app – such as quick and easy ways to add business card contacts and handle members organization contact details
- push notifications for use by business networking group and association organizers to communicate important reminders, such as paying for subscriptions and events or notifying attendees of last minute changes to schedules or event content
- useful handheld tools that members can use within their own businesses, such as employment law features, tax calculators and business reminders
- the opportunity to raise funds through offering members the chance to buy advertising within the iPhone or Android networking app
- option to have cross platform functionality (Blackberry, iPhone and Android) and automatic connections to networking sites like LinkedIn.
One of the biggest advantages that a business networking iPhone or Android app with these kinds of functions offers to those networking groups that are smart enough to develop one is efficiency. Most businesses nowadays are time poor and everything has to be done ‘yesterday’ – networking associations risk falling by the wayside if the processes they employ are plodding and it is difficult to either become a member or reach out to other members. With a business networking app, networking can be organized and carried out whilst on the move at the touch of a button, which is a big selling point. There is no need for networking activities to take time out from a member’s working day, which provides a networking association with a considerable competitive advantage over those groups that do not make life quite so easy for members.
There is also an image issue for business networking groups, as clients across most industries are more likely to favour an association with an organization that is on top of the latest technology and has a dynamic profile. Business networking organizations must keep pace with the lives of their members and in today’s business world that means acknowledging the important role Smart Phones play in daily life. Huge numbers of people now use an app to search for information and to select everything from a restaurant for a client lunch, to a taxi home from a networking event so the business networking group app is the logical next step for those networking associations with the drive to beat the competition.
If you would like more information on developing a business networking app for your business networking group then please contact us.