Networking is still the gold standard for success in a professional career or business. Why? Networking allows you to build relationships and create deeper connections.
Cash flow is the life blood of a business. Without positive cash flow a business will die or in other words fail. In order to achieve positive cash flow, you must have sales. This is where networking comes in to play.
Leads are needed for sales. Networking is a great way to gain quality leads or partnerships for your business. It can be difficult to network successfully when you can’t get out to physically meet up. However, you can still have success networking virtually.
How to Network Virtually:
1) Virtual Networking events
Find quality networking events that have moved online. Quality is the key word here. The great thing with networking events is everyone is there to network and are expecting to hear about your business.
This does not mean try to sell everyone at the event. No one wants to be sold to ever. This is your chance to have organic relationships and naturally inquire about someone’s business and vice versa.
At the Brave Entrepreneur Un-Networking Bashes, we facilitate the conversation with structured activities that will allow you to showcase your expertise and business. The ability to use video and text in smaller groups will help you create connections. You will be able to organically establish a know, like, and trust factor and capture quality leads.
(Enter the giveaway to claim a FREE ticket to a Brave Entrepreneur Un-networking Bash. Answer this question and those with a sincere response will get a FREE ticket to the bash on August 6th 2020.)
2) Facebook Groups
You may find yourself spending even more time in Facebook groups. These are places where like-minded entrepreneurs or side hustlers are congregating.
A great way to show expertise and bring awareness to your business is to post helpful comments in the groups. Don’t try to spam groups with offers about your products and services. Read and adhere to the group rules. Or else, you’re likely to get kicked out.
Remember everyone has something they are selling. You have to authentically and sincerely interact with other group members to network successfully. Otherwise, no one will want to hear or read about what you have to offer.
It can be difficult to be seen, especially in large groups. It depends on the algorithm showing your post in the feeds of other members or other group members going into the group and scrolling through long enough to see your post.
The more you share and comment the more likely it is for your posts to be seen.
3) Twitter Chats
Entrepreneurs, companies, and brands schedule Twitter conversations a.k.a. chats around certain topics. Some are on a dedicated day and time every week.
These are usually a question and answer format. The hose pulse a question and you reply with answers using the dedicated hashtag. These chats are a great opportunity to showcase your expertise, bring awareness to your business, and network with others participating in the chat.
You can join and monitor the chat by the dedicated hashtag. I can still be difficult when there are a lot of people participating.
I suggest using a Twitter chat platform. There are several that can help you easily organize all the tweets related to the chat so you can easily reply and interact.
4) Social Media Posts
Share relevant news, tips, and inspirational stories on your personal and business pages. These can help foster conversation. Reply to each of the comments made on your posts. You’re not really networking otherwise.
Again, you are dependent on the algorithm of the social media platform to show your posts to those who follow you. You are also reliant others to comment in order to have a more significant interaction.
The goal should be to share helpful tips, showcase your offers, and get people to want to connect with you off of the platform. Hopefully, they will join your email list in order to stay connected. This is how you gather leads.
If you post consistently, then you will build up a following over time. It can take a while to organically grow your following. Think months to years.
5) Social Media Commenting
Put a capital S on the social for social media. Follow the people with whom you want to network. When they share something that resonates with you make a comment on the post.
Don’t make spammy comments that have nothing to do with their posts. I’ve heard of some people telling their VA’s (virtual assistant) to make the same comment on lots of different posts. This simply makes your account look like a bot posting spam.
Actually, read and authentically interact with any posts. Leave a real comment or question. That’s the only way to actually network virtually this way.
Again, you are reliant on others posting something that resonates with you in order to spark the interaction.
6) Virtual Conferences and Workshops
Many events have transitioned to be virtual. This is a great opportunity to attend and network at desired events at lower costs since you no longer have to pay for travel and accommodations.
Make a list of virtual summits, conferences, and webinars that you would like to attend. Most of these types of events have a chatbox available during each session where you can interact with other attendees.
Maintain the same etiquette of not spamming the chat box. Post authentic and relevant commentary to successfully network.
7) Email contacts
Email is a great way to network virtually with warm leads or current contacts. Send checking in and following up emails.
Stay connected with by simply reaching out to see how this person is doing and how business is going. You may be able to share resources or other information that may be beneficial.
With current contacts, you’ll also get the chance to share what’s going on with you and what you may need.
You’ve probably heard the saying “the money is in the follow-up.” This is very true.
8) Virtual Coffee Meeting
This is the virtual equivalent of “let’s grab coffee.” This is another great option for checking in and following up with warm leads and current contacts.
Schedule a time and day to have a virtual chat. Each person can sit with their beverage of choice (which is the great conversation piece) so it stays with the grabbing coffee idea.
This is a great opportunity to bolster the relationship or connection. You can see what is coming up for that individual and share what’s coming up for you.
9) Online forums
Online forums are still very much a thing. There are general or broad forums and industry specific. Two very well-known forums are Quora and Reddit. You can find almost any topic. You can join to post questions, answer other people’s questions or simply comment.
I would suggest also searching for industry specific forums in order to network with people in your field or people that are very interested in your industry. An internet search or asking around will help you find the industry specific forums.
1) Be authentic!
You saw this theme throughout this article. Your goal with networking is not to push your products or services. The goal is to help people discover your solutions to their problems through conversation.
Leaving sincere comments, making helpful posts, and having organic conversations as a way to network. Networking in this manner will result in more leads and sales.
2) Everyone won’t respond.
Not everyone will not want to exchange information with you. Some will not want to engage in a lengthier conversation or interaction. That is okay.
Expect this and don’t take it personally. It is likely that they are not a good fit for a potential collaboration or as a customer. Things i.e. your message may have gotten lost in the shuffle as they do. Don’t take it personally.