Everything’s Cancelled: Three Ways to Continue Networking Virtually
By: DaKenya Douglas
That amazing workshop, retreat, or conference with the amazing panel you saved for, cancelled. The in-person networking events that allowed you to flex your elevator pitch and put you in front of your ideal clients, cancelled. Your calendar that was once filled with in-person networking events, meetings, conferences, and workshops, empty.
Never fear, your favorite influencers and thought leaders are now shifting to online events. How do you leverage these online events to fill the face-to-face networking void?
Pivot and embrace the new normal. Virtual networking. I cannot say it enough: LinkedIn is the very best platform for keeping up with professional contacts.
Here’s how you can leverage LinkedIn to launch your virtual networking plan.
1) Carve out regularly-scheduled time to review and grow your network.
Use LinkedIn to connect to classmates, co-workers, and former co-workers, and new and existing clients. Reconnect regularly with existing connections, particularly your clients, checking in often.
LinkedIn makes it easy to reach out, conveniently notifying you when your connections are mentioned in the news, are celebrating birthdays or work anniversaries, or landed a new job or promotion.
Share often. As business needs change, share related articles that solve “new” business problems for your ideal client. Be a resource.
In an active job search? Connect with employees at companies on your “I would love to work here” list or reach out to people in your dream job/role and ask for an informational interview.
Be an active and daily user of LinkedIn, leveraging these touch points to maintain your existing connections and grow your network.
[Related: Ten Networking Tips For Career Changers]
2) It’s time to get comfortable being visible, because networking also involves being seen.
Ready to establish your expertise? Industry-specific groups are a great way to engage with others in your industry. Use LinkedIn groups to leverage your thought leadership by asking questions, sharing career related articles, and posting current information and resource-rich content.
Another option: Find an industry-specific online group that offers chat sessions and answer questions. Interacting consistently in these groups showcases your expertise while connecting you with others in your field and potential clients.
Own your own business and show up and participate in these groups, branding yourself as a thought leader and using keyword-rich strategies to become searchable by potential clients.
Facebook is a great resource to find robust groups where members ask questions, share resources, and engage regularly. Leverage these groups to identify where your ideal clients are most likely to engage.
Lock in on groups led by highly engaged hosts who regularly offer content through “live” sessions and recordings and who actively work to keep their community engaged.
3) Attend a career path-related virtual webinar or summit.
Many event planners are transitioning their in-person conferences, summits, and workshops to online platforms, offering you a cost-effective strategy to network without the expense of travel. Strategically leverage LinkedIn to connect with panelists and hosts ahead of the webinar.
Want to really make power networking moves? Connect with panelists during or after the webinar, tailoring your personalized LinkedIn invite to include a takeaway from their presentation.
Many of these online networking opportunities are strategically scheduled outside of normal business hours. Still can’t make the live event? Register anyway — most times the host will give you access to the recording if you register.
Of course, in-person networking has its advantages (and I hope virtual networking won’t be a permanent substitute), but the online community has pivoted to meet the needs of its consumers and created a new niche that can supplement your networking and visibility strategy when in-person events are back on your calendar.
Virtual networking allows for a customized approach to networking. With flexible scheduling, the ability to access recordings, and the affordability factor, virtual networking can not only maintain us through the pandemic, but beyond.
DaKenya Douglas is an experienced Senior Vice President with a demonstrated history in the education management industry. Her proven skills include strategic planning, enterprise operations and business process improvement, budgeting process and management, leadership development, professional development, results-oriented project management, and fiscally responsible operational management strategies. Want to learn more about how you can use virtual networking to grow professionally or to get in front of your target market? Message her on LinkedIn to get started on your unique visibility strategy to leverage virtual networking.
Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.