We are in the middle of something most of the planet has never experienced before, and it’s hitting our businesses hard. With social distancing regulations and businesses told to shut-down, it feels like small businesses have no reason to keep the momentum of their marketing going—but as we start to open under certain restrictions, there’s more reason than ever to market and networking still provides the best ROI!
Even though we have to maintain the rules of social distancing right now, it’s still possible to keep a good amount of networking going. Networking is still a huge part of the working world and a great way to set yourself up for success. But how do you continue to keep networking while social distancing? Well, it’s not as difficult as you might think.
Update your online presence
Regardless of what you think, prospects, just like employers, care about how you appear online. If you are shut-down or experience a slow-down in customers, you have more time to update everything about you online—social media, your profiles on directory sites, and your webpages sales content and online brochures.
Give us a call if you need some help on the technical aspects of updating your website.
Take advantage of the time you have to clean up your Instagram photos and update your case study pages with any recent and relevant work you’ve been doing. Also, make sure that you have consistency across all the directory sites. When you have a clean and professional online presence, you are more likely to have fruitful interactions with the people you are connecting with online.
Join online groups
Social Networks like LinkedIn and Facebook offer a great opportunity to keep networking while you’re stuck in social distancing. There are hundreds of networking-focused LinkedIn and Facebook groups out there, so you are bound to find one that suits your purpose. A simple Google search for ‘best local business groups to join’ or something more specific to your industry should also turn up a ton of results. Even asking for advice on the Alignable and Quora platforms or to your friends and colleagues on Social Media could lead you to a group that will change the path of your business.
Attend virtual networking events
Even though gathering in groups in not happening at the moment and companies are working from home, there are still virtual events happening online. Attending virtual networking events is a good way to learn something new while you network with others. When you see an attendee or speaker make a comment you respected, reach out to them. This will open up networking opportunities you would not have otherwise come across. Our local BNI Business Bobcats holds a weekly virtual networking with around 40 local business people and visitors are welcome each week. Just because you have to social distance, doesn’t mean you can’t interact with others.
Follow businesses and influential voices in your industry on social media
If you follow the leaders of leading businesses in your field or influencers in that arena on social platforms like Twitter, you’ll not only stay up to date on the latest industry trends, but you’ll also have the opportunity to engage with others in your field. Share your thoughts, let your colleagues know when you find their article or comments to be well researched and articulated. This is also a great way to have a presence online, do some online networking, and stay apprised with what’s happening in your industry all at the same time.
No matter the tactics you use to create amazing online professional connections, the most important thing is that you try and stay genuine. However professional it is, people still want to connect with people—not a sales pitch. Stay true to who you would be in-person as you navigate the online networking world and be honest about your experiences.