“My Top 3 Tips to Power up your Virtual Networking for your Business”
Our industry has experienced an incredible amount of uncertainty and challenge over the past few months, with many businesses struggling to navigate their way through the ever changing landscape we find ourselves in. I’ve been talking to colleagues, coaching clients and members of my Facebook group about the business activities they’re spending their time on whilst they’ve struggled with focus and perhaps motivation.
Perhaps not surprisingly, some have said they’re either not prioritising networking or have decided to dispense with it altogether, particularly given that meeting up in person just isn’t possible right now. However, I think networking and continuing to build your business network is even more important if your business is going to survive, grow and thrive on the other side of all of this.
Now is an opportune time to reassess what you want your life to look like going forward. To review your past goals and plans and come up with new ones for the business and life you now want. If you’ve found yourself with work cancelled or postponed, use some of your downtime to reach out, make new connections and explore opportunities to collaborate in a way that will help you achieve the changes you want to make. It’s time to embrace activity, like Virtual Networking, that will help your business to bounce back, grow or change and networking is one such activity.
“Get out there” even if you can’t actually get out there
Good networking is such a great resource for your business and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Surely there are suppliers, venues or other industry professionals you would love to connect or collaborate with and haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so.
It’s important to show up, have a presence and “get out there” even though in person networking may not be on the cards for a little while yet. We certainly can’t underestimate the power of meeting people face to face but that meeting could be a virtual one. Indeed, we’ve seen an exponential growth in the use of video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
Opportunities for Virtual Networking can certainly be fruitful and there are so many ways you can do so effectively without even having to leave your home, home office, studio or wherever you find yourself right now.
Here are my Top 3 for you to try:
1. Capitalise on your online group membership
If you’re in a Facebook group (or other online membership group) and you haven’t been engaging in the conversations in there, that’s a really good place to start look. Look back at the past posts in the group. What are people posting and talking about?
Are there topics that resonate with you? Engage in conversation threads and don’t just spam post with a link to your website and social media.
Review the list of members for the group and familiarise yourself with who’s in there. Is there anyone you want to connect with? Reach out to them and find out more.
2. Twitter is alive and well
I remember when I launched my planning business back in 2011 Twitter was THE social media platform for wedding industry professionals. I made so many great connections on Twitter with bloggers, suppliers, venues and journalists. Lots of those connections are still strong and have resulted in collaborations, feature opportunities and referrals.
I believe Twitter has made a bit of a comeback and is still a goldmine especially if you want to connect with journalists or other industries using some of the popular hashtags like #weddingwednesday #journorequest
3. Dust off your LinkedIn profile…but don’t forget your first date etiquette
No one likes new connections who jump straight into their inbox with a salesy message. Take time to see what your connections are posting about or commenting on and the topics of interest to them. Engage in conversation, get to know them and build a relationship. Invite them for a virtual coffee!
Oh and a little bonus tip…
If the word “networking” conjures up feelings of awkwardness for you or reminds you of walking into crowded rooms full of unfriendly people, then swap out the word try one of these on for size instead;
· relationship building
· getting to know people
· connecting or making connections
· growing your circle
· building your business community