Online Networking Tips in a Virtual World
Maintaining and building great relationships is important for career development, but the good old days of handshakes, client dinners, and conference meet-and-greets are gone – at least for a while. Here are some tips to help build a strong professional network, even when working virtually.
- Keep in touch and reconnect with former colleagues, managers, and clients. After over a year of hibernation and not seeing people, it’s time to reconnect. Zoom fatigue is real, so many people may prefer a phone call. If it makes you more comfortable, send an email or text ahead of time to schedule the call. Start the conversation with a simple “how are you?” or “how is business?” to show you’re interested in hearing about them.
- Take advantage of social media platforms. Social media is a cornerstone of modern networking – 82% of Americans have a social media account, according to a recent study. Use social sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with acquaintances, build on mutual friends’ networks and find like-minded colleagues across the world. When connecting, indicate how you know an individual or what you have in common, with a short and engaging note. Once you establish a relationship, nurture your connections over time and communicate consistently.
- Establish credibility by creating and sharing content. First, post content to your social media platforms based on your area of expertise. Share newsworthy topics in your industry or commentary on industry happenings to foster ongoing conversations about news of the day. Then engage with content posted by other respected experts in your field – post a witty or thoughtful comment, or simply click a reaction button.
- Attend trade events. Now that many trade organizations and networking groups are offering virtual conferences and events, you can attend without the limitations of travel or scheduling conflicts. Conferences used to be a multi-day commitment, but now you can pick and choose the topics and groups that interest you most. These events can be a welcome splash of social interaction with people beyond the colleagues you are interacting with online each day, which will help broaden your professional network – and your perspective.
We hope these tips can help you expand your social and business relationships.
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