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Love it or Hate it, Networking is Necessary

So many of you in the Xojo community are independent developers and though you are smart for choosing Xojo for rapid, cross-platform development, you probably aren’t focused on marketing and promoting your app.

I’ve shared some tips on using Twitter to market you apps, and Dana has talked about other ways to market your app for free. These efforts do not live in a vacuum. Let’s discuss ways to integrate all these forms of marketing to make the greatest impact…let’s talk about Networking.

Delicious business cards aside, networking is simply the building of business relationships. For some of us, extroverts I’m looking at you, this may come naturally and you may genuinely enjoy it; but for others, networking can be a true effort, a constant struggle to get out there and be authentic in every interaction.

Regardless of how you feel, networking is necessary. From independent developers, citizen developers, small business owners and CEOs, networking leads “to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority” as discussed in HBR’s article Learn to Love Networking.

Love it or not, here are 5 ways to network, IRL and online.

  1. Cross-posting sometimes gets a bad, spam-y reputation but used responsibly it can be a simple solution to promote your app to different audiences. The key, both to reaching more people and to avoid being considered spam, is to tailor each message for the individual network and only post to the networks you are active in. For example, I have a blog post, “A Modern Alternative to Visual Basic” and I want to post it across all our networks. On Twitter I might tweet a question hoping to start a conversation: Even with 280 characters, I tend limit the hashtags on Twitter more than I would on other networks. On Facebook and Google+ I would expand the post to include more details, multiple images and additional hashtags: On LinkedIn I will tailor the post more toward to specific audience, ie Visual Basic developers: And that’s how you cross-post the same content, even the same image, to different networks while still tailoring the message to each audience.
  2. Use your signature block. Your signature block is simple, silent networking (so appealing to us introverts). Share a little about yourself and your app in your signature block. Make sure to link to your website and the social network you are most active on. Don’t write your life story, don’t include 7 inspirational quotes, do keep it short and do include a direct link.
  3. Attend events and show your strengths. You’ve developed this app, your input is valuable and you are likely more knowledgable than you think. Know what your strengths are and work out how you will talk about them and how you can use them to help others. Shameless Plug: Each year I’m reminded by developers at the Xojo Developer Conference that networking is the greatest benefit in attending.
  4. Share and listen- don’t make it all about you and your project. Offer your expertise but don’t forget to listen to what others have to say. Your next great idea or that missing piece to your project could be a conversation away! Keep in mind, you’re probably not the only one in the room who isn’t 100% comfortable networking.
  5. Be nice, you aren’t the only “expert” in the room. Your goal is conversations and engagement. People will remember and share generous and kind interactions. Ask actual questions, not statements showing off your experience. It may seem like a silly or obvious list, but these 10 conversation starters for introverts can really help break the ice. Keep the list handy on your phone and check it right before you enter the room.

To learn even more about using social media and other app marketing topics, come to XDC or email me at with questions or suggestions on app marketing topics you would find helpful!