Coronavirus pandemic make was a lesson for every one of us. Lockdowns, quarantines, and remote work have not only impacted our lifestyle but also justify us feeling isolated.
We have all been experiencing isolation and while we work from home many feel like networking can only be done in person.
Well, if you are a person who thinks or feels the same. You need to probably think again. In this competitive world, everyone needs to expand their professional network continually. This can either happen naturally or with a lot of wholesome effort. So, don’t let yourself get stuck in the same old social network.
The only thing you need to remember in networking, according to the expert J. Kelly Hoey, are the three Ps of networking: 1) people, 2) people, and 3) people.
Networking has become an important part during the time of the pandemic. Some of the best networking done has been online and while working remotely.
We have moved past the days when shaking hands or meeting in person was required to form a meaningful connection. Nowadays, it’s more convenient to form a connection virtually with fellow professionals that exists online.
So, in this blog post, we are going to give you 15 tips on how to network virtually from the comfort of our homes or offices.
1. Virtual Events
We are stuck at home. Even buying groceries seems like a task and in such an environment events are a far cry.
But, with technology, companies and organizations are collaborating to organize virtual events. Such events can be excellent for your virtual networking and can be attended from the safety of your homes.
COVID-19 has opened up an opportunity to attend all kinds of webinars and conferences, most of them for free. These online events dive deep into all types of work, from all types of experts – marketing, pivoting one’s business, leadership, and financial topics.
These events give you a great platform to learn and the best is that some of them are specifically for networking.
For instance, Zoom webinar allows participants to form intimate connections through breakout rooms.
Use them for networking, and you never know who you’ll find.
2. Virtual Coworking
Virtual coworking debuted only around 2019 or at least became powerful around that time.
However, virtual coworking spaces have become one of the highlights.
You can join already formed coworking spaces or you can host one it’s up to you. Here you have a huge change of networking as you will be introduced to new people during working sessions online.
If you’re interested in starting your own virtual coworking session, consider it as the seed that can potentially start a tree of networking for you. There you can invite friends and in turn, ask each of them to invite a friend or colleague working remotely.
3. Social Media to Form Connections
You might have heard people say, “Yeah, we met on Instagram”. Do you think it sounds crazy?
Well, if you do, then don’t, this might very well be the networking style of the future.
Many of us are certainly making friends over the Internet and it is no longer a ridiculous thing anymore. Social media has become a hotspot to form professionals and use their accounts as portfolios.
But before you start with it, you need to make sure that your social media account demonstrates who you are. You need to be transparent about yourself and your business goals.
If you are someone who prefers to keep their social media private, you can start by creating a new public account for your business.
From there, you can then use your business account to connect and learn about your audience and engage with them in a meaningful way.
4. Join Instagram Live
Instagram Live has become a new webinar and the best part it’s hassle-free and at your fingertips. After the lockdown, celebrities, influencers, and even business professionals have become more active on their grams.
Lives can be an amazing opportunity for you to interact with the people you believe in. For instance, when a professional goes “live” on Instagram you can ask them field questions from the audience. This will allow you to ask them how they got their start, their recommendations, how to move a career forward and so much more.
At the end of their live session, you can also shoot them emails and take follow up. This might open doors for a strong connection, especially if you are contributed meaning to the chat and asking thought-provoking questions.
5. Follow up of Webinars
We dive into detail for something that we have already discussed. You can join webinars on all sorts consistently from professionals, but to connect to the professional skillfully you need more.
Through the webinar, make notes and if possible, write down a question that might add to the conversation. This might seem like a small step but it can take you a long way.
At the end of each webinar, you should bring your points to the table and ask the questions you jotted down earlier. In case, the speaker is on a time crunch and couldn’t answer all your questions, they’ll probably give out their personal email to continue the conversation afterward.
You can later contact them for further discussion and this might lead to a healthy virtual network, or give you a chance to connect with an entrepreneur on LinkedIn.
The worst that can happen when you happen to reach out is you’ll end up not receiving a response. But it is the best way to try and network from home.
6. Use your Alumni Community
We all have some of the best high school and college memories. But, now, it’s time to make those years useful. Network with your ex-mates has become easier than you realize thanks to LinkedIn.
For example, when searching for a job on LinkedIn, the website also shows you “9 alumni of your university work at this company”.
Take some time out and reach out to a few of the alumni suggestions. You can politely ask them for an inbound referral to their company’s hiring managers.
More often than not, fellow alumni don’t say no to such types of favor. But remember, this works both ways, so if you received a similar message from someone who graduated from your college, you’d probably feel the need to help out!
This method of networking is worthwhile and works like a charm. We wholeheartedly recommend it as it takes no effort and can be life-changing.
7. Interviews Over Zoom
Recently, virtual/remote informational interviews have become a thing and maybe you hadn’t yet considered asking for them. They are popular nowadays and many industries are openly welcoming such type of outreach.
In an informational interview, you interview either a professional or a leader in an organization. This might be either because you’re interested to work with them, or if you’re looking for a career pivot.
If you work remotely or live far from the person that you want to interview. In that case, we will highly recommend you schedule an informational interview with that person. For that, you should consider asking them or their company for an informational interview over Zoom.
8. Attend Virtual Job Fair
Many of you might still have no clue about a virtual job fair. Don’t worry, even we got to know about it a few months ago.
When we first signed up for a virtual job fair, we received an itinerary and schedules of five different companies who will be presenting to the virtual job fair attendees.
This was specifically based on the types of companies and the types of positions they were hiring. You can select companies and sign up with them for the continual webinar platform and hear from the hiring managers. They will be interviewed by hosts about their company’s culture, goals, and types of qualities required in a candidate.
We are in the era of remote jobs and remote companies, to adapt to the “new normal” people are switching to taking remote interviews.
Another point you need to remember is always follow up with the hosts or hiring managers if their contact information is made available.
9. Host a Webinar
When you can’t find a way, make one!
Webinars are amazing and it’s even amazing to host one. Everyone has something to offer and everyone has something to learn.
You can combine your professional skill set and offer it through a simple webinar.
Why was this a great way to network?
It works because you will not only be introduced to the leaders but afterward, you will receive many professional connections of people who had attended your webinar.
10. Join Professional Facebook groups
You can find a Facebook group for everything. So why not for professionals like you and me?
You can easily find Facebook groups for essentially every topic which can provide you with value and help you answer some answered questions.
Another things this group helps with other than professional topics are jobs post or freelancer opportunities with projects.
11. Join the Lunch Club
Lunch clubs are a decade-old concept that still works tremendously. They can connect you with like-minded professionals.
To join one, you just need to input your personal information and information about who you are looking to connect with. They will automatically connect you with them or send requests.
12. Host an Online Social Event
Some companies consist of a small staff while some companies may have hundreds, if not thousands of employees. At the end of the day, you are bound to not know them all.
If you want to network within your company, you can host a webinar, a gameshow over Zoom, or a speed-networking event.
This can prove to be a great way as there are so many ideas to try and you can always meet someone who’s on staff. This can be a great way to stay connected remotely within organizations.
13. Use Reddit
Reddit is a great way to connect with some of the best minds in the industry. The website has so much to offer and if you are a newbie, we’ll say get yourself familiarized with it. Here, you can post questions and get answers to them, you can even share photos and information.
This website can be incredibly helpful, as it opens you to network and connect with people around the world. You can also publicly give opinions or help solve a problem.
They also have Reddit forums that allow you to talk about different professions. This way you can connect with other professionals in the same field and gained substantial knowledge.
Reddit is an amazing platform with an extensive amount of potential. So, dive in and try it out for networking and expanding your connections from home.
14. Browse Through YouTube and Connect with Youtubers
Through the years, Youtube has become a very big platform. However, it has been underestimated by many as a one-way communication channel.
But it is not the truth, the truth is that the platform has to offer much more.
For instance, you can watch helpful professional videos on YouTube and then reach out to the YouTuber by commenting or emailing them.
Connecting with them via YouTube, LinkedIn, and mail can be great as these experts are typically well-connected. You can further ask professionals in the field who’d be happy to help you with some type of project, specific knowledge, creative outlet, or further connections.
People are always looking to connect, so, it never hurts to reach out to YouTubers via the email addresses in their “About” section.
15. Use your Network
Life is constantly changing and you might forget the many people among you know. Well, admit it or not but it’s true. For us all, it’s hard to keep track of who works where or who changed career.
If you want to learn a need a new skill or find a new job, it’s always better to start small. You can reach out to your immediate family and close friends. If they are not able to help you then you can move on and ask your close friends and their networks the same question.
This way you might wind up with a meaningful connection for a lifetime.
What is the Purpose of Virtual Networking?
The purpose of virtual networking is to meet new people in your profession or industry and establish mutually-beneficial connections. The goal of professional virtual networking is to build a professional network with a group of people who help you with favor and have some favor done by you.
How does Virtual Networking Work?
Virtual networking works by establishing your credibility and interest in the same profession.
Shreeya Chourasia is an experienced B2B marketing/tech content writer, who is diligently committed for growing your online presence. Her writing doesn’t merely direct the audience to take action, rather it explains how to take action for promising outcomes.