I was at Ripon Racecourse last night as the guest of a private investment firm courtesy of my lovely accountant. To all intents and purposes it was a networking event with lovely food and drink, and the added excitement of a little flutter on the horses.

Among a group of ladies the talk turned to networking and the value that has. Interestingly it was an investment manager who was talking about the value of networking with other (employed) women in financial services as a way of creating a support system and sharing the challenges and frustrations of being a woman in that kind of role.

I have long advocated that SMEs should use social media and blogging as a way of establishing expertise, of positioning yourself and of sharing useful content with others. But there’s another, pretty compelling, reason to regularly use social media and write blogs – it helps people to know, like and trust you, even if that is in a virtual space.

Most people know the theory that using Twitter should be a way to start, or take part in, conversations, not just a broadcast mechanism. If you’ve invested in those relationships you are more likely to be able to rely on them when something goes wrong or if you need something.

It’s the same with blogging – and commenting on the blogs of others. You are creating another way for people to know, like and trust you, which might mean that you’re the one at the front of their mind the next time they need to recommend someone.

Someone who does this really well is Richard Kimber at the Customer Experience Coach. He not only blogs regularly about his area of expertise, he draws people [...]