Networking will always be a vital part of business. Traditional methods play a significant role in this effort. Yet it’s also undeniable that the pandemic has changed the way we network.
Indiana State University Ph.D. candidate Elizabeth Swallow points out that virtual networking practices ease barriers to access by eliminating the risk of transportation restrictions, long travel times, and location inconveniences — all while accommodating a larger number of attendees. With increased networking potential, Swallow predicts that remote networking will continue to be used even after the pandemic.
Indeed, becoming adept in both traditional and remote networking can provide you with more avenues with which to build your professional network. That being said, we dive into some remote networking tips that you may find useful below.
Cultivate your online presence
The majority of remote networking inevitably takes place on social media, so make yourself someone appealing to connect with by creating a formidable professional profile. The best way you can do so is with LinkedIn, which has over 180 million users in the US alone. When using LinkedIn for remote networking, change management expert LHH recommends sprucing up your profile with an updated professional photo, an accurate and comprehensive job history, and relevant skills. Writing a concise bio for your profile can also give potential connections a better idea of who you are and improve your chances of meeting professionals in the same industry.
Utilize social media
Many social media platforms offer a variety of features that are perfect for remote networking. You can use Facebook to connect with people in your existing network whom you haven’t contacted in a while. Popular communication platform Slack hosts communities specifically geared for remote workers across a variety of industries. Artists, photographers, and professionals in related lines of work can use Instagram to showcase their portfolios and view others’. You can even reach out to YouTubers that create industry-specific content for referrals. The possibilities for networking with social media are virtually endless.
Leverage virtual events
Many organizations and institutions have shifted to virtual networking events, so leverage your membership in professional social media communities to attend any and every relevant webinar you come across. This is a great way to meet like-minded individuals from all walks of life and every corner of the globe. You need not limit yourself to networking events, either. You can stumble across your next important contact by chance while upskilling yourself with various talks relating to everything under the sun. You can even take the initiative by partnering with other organizations and institutions to host your own networking events.
Try the coffee chat
Here on The Navigator News Blog, we’ve previously discussed that great networkers never stop networking. Establishing connections is only one aspect of a successful networking strategy — the rest involves maintaining those connections over time. You can do so through coffee chats. Instead of heading over to the local Starbucks, try meeting up with a professional contact over Zoom and some coffee. You can start with small talk and build your way up to rapport-building questions, such as asking how they got into their current career path and what their typical workday looks like. Such laid-back and casual conversations can help cultivate more meaningful and longer-lasting connections.
Remote networking isn’t meant to be a replacement for traditional strategies — it’s meant to supplement it, instead. By increasing your options for making connections, it helps you cover more ground and create a stronger and more diverse professional network.