Networking Tips: Why Facebook And LinkedIn May Not Pay Off

Relationships that lead to new business can happen just about anywhere -- even in bars and bathrooms, according to a new survey from Manta. In fact, some of the most profitable relationships come from places you'd least expect. When asked where they formed their most beneficial business relationships, just 1 percent of small-business owners surveyed cited LinkedIn, only 4 percent cited Facebook, and 11 percent cited networking at events. In contrast, 17 percent made connections through friends and family, and a whopping 55 percent cited referrals from clients.

Where were the most unusual places business owners reported having made a connection that helped their businesses? The top answer (cited by 15 percent) was "at a bar." Eleven percent said it was on an airplane, 10 percent said at a wedding, 4 percent cited an elevator and 3 percent a bathroom.

Why it matters to your business: When asked how they chose partners or vendors, 56 percent of small-business owners surveyed by Manta said they simply ask people they know. So if you're beating your head against a wall working social networks or attending networking events with little to show for it, try shifting gears and simply ask your nearest and dearest friends and customers for referrals instead. (And if you get invited to a wedding held at an airport bar, be sure to bring plenty of business cards!)