Business networking is an important aspect for any existing and new business to grow. Networking can range from virtual online networking tools such as blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook and even Twitter to face to face meetings.

Which form works the best? I have found that a mix of real and virtual networking (social networking) is best. An important aspect to consider when networking is to research the age of your targeted customer. Once done, you can determine which way is best. Always match the preferences of your targeted customer with the networking strategies that you feel most comfortable with.

Determine the age group of your target customer that you would like to network with.

Baby Boomers

These are people in their 50’s and 60’s and will always prefer face to face meetings. They usually tend to be less comfortable with computer communication and they like to interact verbally and when possible, always in person.

Generation X

These are people in their 30’s and 40’s and they tend to be more comfortable with technology. They usually prefer keeping it simple and will most likely use LinkedIn and other business social networking tools to network with other people sharing the same interests.

Generation Y

These are people in their teens and 20’s and they are most comfortable in using all forms of technology. This is due to the fact that they have been exposed to technology most of their lives. They know what they want and they will find you. They usually have a good presence on Twitter and Facebook.

Targeting your message to your readers (business or social networking) is the key to growing your audience and reaching interested people. It may sound like a contradiction, but directing your message (sales pitch) to the people most interested will greatly increase the number of interested readers that will actually read your website or blog and respond.

How are you going to network?

Face to face networking

Face to face networking can include lead groups that meets your industry and niche. If you want to connect with senior level readers, attending a pricey plate dinner may be a better investment than attending a dozen networking breakfasts.

Many professional associations have terrific opportunities for face to face business networking.

Virtual Networking

There are thousands of good social networking tools and websites found online with new ones created every day. The best ones with some research, are those that can get you in front of your targeted customer. LinkedIn is a professional networking tool and it seems to be the most accepted internationally. Other popular tools includes Twitter and Facebook.