Networking doesn’t stop. It just doesn’t. Regardless of our current situation which has extended beyond our wildest expectations, the need to stay connected — in whatever way connected means to you — is still very real and important.
So, while we all practice social distancing (or should it be called physical distancing), use this time to take advantage of the free social networking platforms available right at your fingertips. Why? There are so many reasons why but most importantly, it keeps you connected and the benefit of an active and present network is huge.
Need more convincing? Challenge accepted.
Obvious. We know. But sometimes the most obvious things, sitting right in front of us, are the least obvious solutions.
The list of networking platforms is extensive. Start with something traditional like LinkedIn. Explore platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even TikTok! Why? Because ‘You can reach hundreds, even thousands, of potential customers online’.
Look at LinkedIn. We’re all on it but few of us really understand how to utilise it. LinkedIn works best as a career management tool. Platforms like Twitter are contrastingly more about real-time relevance, where you vocalise and share feedback to a wider, global community. On the other hand, TikTok offers you the opportunity to build brand awareness and engage younger audiences ‘by showing off a lighter, more relatable side’.
It demonstrates an active presence!
Before you ask “why is an active presence important”, remember that ‘LinkedIn rewards people who are active by propelling them up higher in searches’. You also reap the benefits of inadvertently becoming a regular feature in people’s newsfeeds, putting you front of mind for any and every opportunity.
Even the smallest things like congratulating a connection on a birthday or anniversary demonstrates a commitment to nurturing a relationship. Being kind doesn’t cost you anything, remember that.
Have you ever looked someone up — a friend, colleague, client or industry leader — and noticed that they’re oddly quiet on socials? It’s not appealing and commonly deters people from connecting. Don’t be another regretful case study! Commit even 10 minutes a day to sharing, reacting to and commenting on content that is relevant to you and your circle.
It helps plan for your future!
This benefit is two-fold. First, by networking online you’re subtly building up a wealth of knowledge on what’s trending with your connections (current and potential), the overall attitude toward topics and where you stand. By remaining at the forefront of trends — appropriate to what you’re interested in of course — you’re giving yourself a headstart when it comes to meaningful connections, discussions and employment.
Second, by utilising online networking opportunities, you’re taking advantage of platforms that are actively planning for and responding to the future of the workforce. Take LinkedIn for example, who have released the following statement:
‘Ultimately, [LinkedIn] will have a profile for every member of the global workforce, a profile for every company in the world, all open jobs at those companies, all the skills required to obtain those jobs, a profile for every educational institution or training facility that enables people to acquire those skills, and a publishing platform that enables every individual, every company, and every university to share their professionally-relevant knowledge if they’re interested in doing so.’
Save yourself time and energy and enjoy platforms like LinkedIn, who give you hassle-free access to everyone and everything you could ever want to be connected to!
It increases brand awareness!
This also relates back to our earlier point, that online networking demonstrates an active presence. Invest in a fruitful future, today, by investing time and energy into your personal brand. The beauty of social media is that you can freely develop and fine-tune your own brand, in your own time.
If we use TikTok as a case study, the power of being topical, humorous and/or relevant whilst also releasing video content is almost limitless, especially considering that ‘Consumers now watch an average of 16 hours of online video per week, a 52% increase since 2018.’
Wyzowl also reported that 86% want to see more video content brand brands, with an additional 36% seeking out educational videos and 14% after product demos. Give the people what they want, right? Look at The Inspired Unemployed, two self-professed ‘Aussie battlers’ who use their account to simultaneously find themselves and deliver light-hearted, relevant content. They’ve only been active for just over 12 months and have already clocked up 6.3 million followers.
There are so many success stories out there! No matter which platform you pick, the power of networking when harnessed properly and consistently delivers exactly what you need.
It increases ROI!
Basically, ‘The more time you invest in networking opportunities or groups, the greater your return will be’. Like the age old saying, ‘you only get out what you put in’, so invest in ‘interactions you have with people who can make an impact on your business.’
Fostering a mutually beneficial relationship is very important. As we already mentioned, sometimes the most obvious things we can’t see are right in front of us. A recommended method of discovering and fostering these beneficial relationships is to touch base with new acquaintances 48 hours afterward to help them remember you, check in with your contacts quarterly or even just reach out to connections with an article or content that may interest them.
Entrepreneur noted that even just partaking in networking events helps ‘Develop certain networking skills that the average business professional does not possess, and that these skills in fact result in more referrals to other business professionals, leading to substantially more new clients’.
It’s a win, win!
There are so many different positives to be reaped from online networking. So, there’s never been a better time to start than right now! If you’re looking for a safe space to kick off your journey, join our Waterman Business Community.