Whether you are looking to advance your career, take on a new role, or just simply connect with like minded individuals, networking is a very powerful tool. During the COVID-19 pandemic many aspects of everyday life are moving to a virtual environment and it is even more critical to continue building professional relationships by networking online. Here are a few ways to continue growing your connections virtually:
Engage on social media
Social media is one of the most significant components when it comes to networking online. Making new connections and relationships can be valuable on all platforms, with LinkedIn and Twitter leaning more towards the professional side. The industry you are in and where your target audience spends most of their time will dictate where you take your networking efforts, like a trade association on LinkedIn versus an online fitness coach on Instagram. There are many ways to engage and start a conversation on social media whether it be posting your own organic content and interacting with others who engage with it, or by liking, commenting, and sharing other’s relevant content where you can directly strike a conversation with someone about a particular topic or industry. You can also easily move a conversation on a public post to a private direct message if you want to continue networking with someone.
Use video calling for conversations
Speaking with someone face to face, whether it’s after an initial introduction online or the first time talking with them, can immediately enhance your relationship and set you up for success with reaching your goals of connecting with a specific audience.1 Being able to speak as if you were in person with an application like Zoom can help you learn more from people in your industry within just a short period of time. It can also help you make a lasting impression and develop a personal connection to where the person will want to continue speaking with you in the future and stay in your network.
Join online communities
While video calling is one of the most effective ways to create a connection with someone virtually, joining an online community can be another great way to meet people and continue to grow your contacts. You can leverage chats and group functions on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Reddit. Some research on where the best online community lives for your specific industry or business is crucial when deciding where to spend your time networking, but can be very rewarding once you find it and interact with other members.
Start a blog on relevant topics
Blogging can be a great way to support your online presence and take your networking further within the target audience you are trying to reach and connect with.2 Not only can a blog be personal allowing readers to immediately get to know you better, but it can also be a direct invitation for someone to reach out to you for more information or to start a conversation about your expertise. Keeping up with your blog so it stays relevant, as well as sharing it across multiple platforms, is key when trying to catch the attention of potential like minded individuals to network with.
Although it cannot completely replace in person meetings and conversations, networking and making personal connections online is still very important when enhancing your career, trying to learn new things within your business, as well as keeping yourself a relevant professional in your industry.
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1 Forbes, Frances Bridges
2 Entrepreneur, Ivan Misner