man in a blue collared shirt on his phone networking on LinkedIn.

3 Tips for Virtual Networking

 

We are amidst a pandemic, which means that in-person contact with others has become limited. Most companies have mandated their employees to work home for the remainder of the year, and others have chosen to do so indefinitely. All in-person networking events have become virtual, and for some, a change to a digital world is hard to navigate. Here are some of our best tips to network virtually and keep a deep matrix with strong connections.

 

Take advantage of social media

 

Social media often has the connotation of being unprofessional, but depending on the platform you’re using, it could make or break your career. LinkedIn is a social media platform that specializes in networking and connecting with professionals in your related industry. 

 

Take advantage of this platform and connect with as many people as possible, whether that’s with people you know personally, or with people in different careers. One of the best ways you can take advantage of using LinkedIn to grow your network is the ability to search for new connections based on your title and position. 

 

Creating connections is the best way to grow your professional career. Along with individuals that are relative to your industry, try to connect with people that are in different fields. You never know who one of your connections might know, and it could change your career for the better. 

 

Don’t be shy

 

Once you’ve harnessed your connections with professionals on LinkedIn, take it one step further. Engage and message your contacts and begin to develop a relationship with them. You can message them by something simple along the lines of, “Thank you for connecting with me. I saw that you were in the same professional circle as myself, and I wanted to introduce myself…”. 

 

Continue to check in on your LinkedIn connections now and then and show that you care about your relationship. In particular, if you are looking for a new position at the company they work for, you will be one of the first people they think of to bring onto the team.  It can be frightening at first to reach out to professionals in your field that you have never met before, but even one message can spark a connection. 

 

Join Online Groups 

 

Another great way to cultivate connections with professionals online is to join professional groups that are within your wheelhouse. A great place to join online networking groups is on Facebook. Facebook is known for its various groups by connecting individuals from around the globe. 

 

Do some research on your field and search Facebook groups that will help benefit you. There is a networking group for specific industries like Advertising and Marketing, and they are condensed even more into networking groups for those in PR, Graphic Design, UX/UI design, etc. 

 

Before you decide to join any professional networking groups on Facebook, be sure to update your Facebook profile to display a more professional image of yourself. Clean up your pictures, adjust your privacy settings, and make sure everything visible is appropriate. 

 

One of the most significant issues with digital networking is not being able to differentiate between a professional and a personal online presence. Even if you are using your social media accounts, everything that is public to others should remain appropriate. 

 

Overall, it is easy to develop the skills to connect with professionals in your industry digitally. Like any networking event, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and talk to someone new. The best way to launch your career is to make as many connections as possible and develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships.

 

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