Most people don’t like the term “networking”.
It makes you think of an uncomfortable experience, where you are supposed to be dishing out business cards or delivering an elevator pitch.
So, the starting point, whether it’s face to face or online, is to think about it as simply connecting with people. The best kind of networking is not directly focused on getting a new role – it’s a much more relaxed agenda around connecting with interesting people, giving as much as taking and asking more than telling. When the opportunity arises, however, you’ll need have a clear and succinct message ready so you leave a positive and memorable impression.
You only get a minute to make a lasting impression, so whether on the phone, face to face or through social channels – make them count. With most of us at home right now, this could be the best time to grow your online community. Online networking is a great way to increase your visibility amongst the right target audience and make those important and helpful connections.
Helpful Links: Map a Network & Connect with anyone
So now that you’ve set your goals, whether that’s finding a new role or building your brand, and you’ve decided on the audience and messaging - it’s time to get online with LinkedIn, Facebook, Bumble Bizz or whatever platform is best suited to the type of connections you want to make. (And if you’re going down the personal website route check out; Wix, WordPress or SquareSpace). Some of the same rules apply to building a website and a LinkedIn profile that will help you network and build your online presence.
Tip No. 5 | Networking from your armchair
Keywords in your profile/website are a great place to start if you want people to find you. As well as, generating content – blogs, vlogs, updates all relating to your brand messaging and including your keywords, can not only help attract visitors to your profile but prove you’re a credible source of expertise.
Make sure you fill out your LinkedIn profile fully. It sounds obvious but most people, especially those who have been in the business for many years, only post a job title and leave out job descriptions that could be full of valuable keywords. If you’re missing a background photo, an About section, or even the opportunity to post a blog, video or links in the Featured section, now is the time...
Otherwise, the easiest way to communicate with a contact that you’re interested in meeting is... Share. Like. Comment.
Whenever I notice someone new sharing, liking, or commenting on a post I’ve published I automatically click on their profile to find out more about them. You’ll also get a message from LinkedIn as to who has viewed your profile and it’s a good opportunity to connect with them on the basis that they were interested in you or something you were posting about.
Webinars are also a great way to make introductions. If you’ve just watched a fantastic webinar that’s a great opportunity to drop them a compliment to say how much you enjoyed it and ask to connect. Also keep the chat option open – if you see someone asking great questions you want to connect with, take the opportunity!
Reviewing your close connections and taking a look at who they are connected to can also open some doors, but be mindful that you’re not bothering people for introductions.
I wouldn’t encourage you to send a cold connection. Popping up out of nowhere with no clear purpose can generate a negative reaction.... and it’s a great way to set yourself up to fail. Rather, ask questions of people you know, ask for introductions, and give people a reason to connect.
Online networking perhaps doesn’t give you the same advantages of seeing someone face to face where you can gauge mood and receptiveness to your approach, but as long as you’re polite, professional and mindful of their time you shouldn’t have any problem growing your community. And remember the theory of six degrees of separation - you can reach anyone in the world in 6 jumps! So, target your desired individuals and find a way!
Finally, when COVID-19 has passed, there will be a chance to continue the conversation offline, but so much can be achieved without leaving the comfort of your armchair.
We have had many clients recruit throughout this crisis without ever being in the same room as their future employee – the hiring process has been done entirely online. So, keep connecting, keep building your network, and keep adding value wherever you can. Your new career awaits.
Talk to Denholm
We are a search, recruitment and employer brand consultancy that specialises in commercial marketing, sales & digital opportunities. If you'd like to find out more, call us on 0131 554 6191 or email email@example.com.