Things have been going digital for years now, but since the COVID-19 pandemic hit about a year ago, things have dramatically turned virtual and many businesses continue to run in a purely remote form. In-person events aren’t as common as or as safe as virtual calls, but they were the heart to networking. Now what? How do you make new connections?
Consider joining your local Chamber of Commerce. These organizations have done a great job of converting over to purely virtual events that meet weekly or monthly. They usually have multiple groups available. There is an annual fee to be a part of your local Chamber, but ends up being well worth it.
Be active on your social media, especially LinkedIn. Build up your online presence by posting regularly, engaging on others’ posts, and directly messaging those you’d have interest in learning more about. Don’t forget to be authentic in your messaging and post things that bring value to your audience. You’d be surprised how any connections can be made with just a simple message.
Reach out to old and current contacts to see how they’re doing and how you can support them. They say all about who you know, but you may not need to find this person - you may already know them. Reaching out to your own network is one of the easiest ways to expand your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but never forget to give, as well.
Attend webinars. Webinars have gotten big within the past year. Since events have been put on hold, people are turning to virtual events. Some webinars are free and open to the public while others may cost a fee or require subscription or membership to the host’s organization. These are a great way to learn more and keep you in the loop on your industry, your competition, and your clients.
Be consistent and don’t give up. Networking can be daunting during normal times, but when everything is virtual, it can seem almost impossible. Keep pushing forward, stay in contact with your connections, and something will come your way.