7 Best Networking Strategies You Can Still Do From Home
Networking skills aren’t just something people who work for themselves should have; they’re an absolute necessity for success. Without the ability to find clients or stimulate positive word-of-mouth through social channels, your business will have a massive disadvantage and will likely not last long.
Unfortunately, this coronavirus quarantine period has made networking significantly more difficult. The post I published a few months ago on networking strategies for bookkeepers is full of useful information, but it focuses on face-to-face meetings at networking events. Obviously, those have been canceled for now.
To help you network even in these tough times, I’ve rounded up a few tips you can employ from home that will help you stay in the networking game.
Networking Strategies from Home
Participate in Forums
Typically, the easiest and most effective way to network is to attend group meetings of people with professional interests related to your own. So it’s no surprise that the best way to network online is to look up forums of professionals with similar interests on social networks.
The professional networking site Linkedin is the most popular place to do this, and Reddit is another good site for it. In both cases, you’ll create an account and search for a group on the site that focuses on your niche.
Let’s say, for example, you are a bookkeeper specializing in tax codes. You can be sure there are multiple groups on both Linkedin and Reddit focusing on just that.
A word of advice: Linkedin focuses heavily on self-marketing and personal networking, and Reddit focuses more on discussion related to all manner of topics related to a central theme.
Make A Nice Social Media Profile
Everyone, including prospective clients or work colleagues, is spending a lot more time on social media while they are stuck inside during quarantine. They can’t meet people in real life, so their online presence becomes their most real representation.
Because of this, you can assume some very important people are going to be viewing your public social media profiles in the next few weeks. And, though it may seem unfair, they’ll judge you by it. Prepare for this by making sure your social media presents someone who is professional and responsible.
One solution is to set everything on your social profile to private. That might look fishy to anyone watching, though, so it may be better just to clean up the parts of your profile the public can view, however.
Stay Active on Social Media
From Linkedin to Facebook, all major social media sites use an algorithm wherein the users who post more often are prioritized in the news feeds of their contacts. So if you want to rise to the top and be seen on social media, you need to publish frequently.
Of course, posting quality content often also gives the impression you are diligent and overflowing with inspiration.
You don’t need to publish original content in order to be noticed. Posting your own work is ideal (even if it has been used elsewhere), but it also works to post third-party content and leave an intelligent, thought-provoking comment about it.
No form of communication will ever replace the personal nature of face-to-face interaction. And while video calls may not replace talking to someone across a table, it comes closer than anything else.
Being able to see each other’s faces makes communication more meaningful in a bunch of ways, and you should take advantage of that fact. Get a video calling app like Zoom on your phone or laptop, and encourage clients to do the same. Learn proper video call etiquette to set yourself above your also-quarantined competition.
Reconnect With Old Clients
If you’ve been in your business for any significant amount of time, you have clients from your past who you’re still on good terms with even after parting ways. I would bet quite a bit of money that you’re not still in touch with all of them. Now’s the time to reach out.
Look them up on Linkedin if possible, and send them a personalized note saying that it’s been a long time, this quarantine is really unfortunate, and you would love to work together again. Pepper, in a few details about your shared history, to really sell it. You’ll be surprised how effective this technique is.
Use Professional Matchmaking Software
There are several online platforms like Crystal that actually plug into your professional social networks like Linkedin, Hubspot, and Salesforce, gather your information, and determine your personality type. The platforms do the same with your network on that site and match you to the most compatible ones for business collaboration.
Crystal even tells you what kinds of topics to bring up and what to mention in conversation to make the best possible impression with each contact. It’s like a cheat-sheet for forming professional partnerships within your network.
Connect With Your Alma Mater
Your alma mater’s alumni community is a surprisingly good place to do professional networking. First, head to your school’s website and see if they have an “alumni” page with community links. If they don’t (although they probably do), search social networks for alumni groups for your school.
People who studied together share a bond that never really goes away and your classmates will be happy to network with you even if they don’t remember you.
This trick also works with other tight-knit societies like fraternities and sororities.
Hopefully, we’ll return to normalcy sooner rather than later and have an option to network out of the house or from home. Even at that point, though, these tips and tricks will still be as useful as ever!
LINKEDIN IS BY FAR THE MOST POPULAR WAY TO NETWORK FROM HOME. FOR A FEW EXPERT TIPS ON ITS USE, CHECK OUT THE VIDEO ABOVE!