If you are a young professional or business owner who was just starting to build a network before the pandemic hit, things might be tough for you right now. Many opportunities to network face-to-face have been shut down and we still don’t know when everything will go back to normal. This means that you have to find new ways to get in contact with the people who will help you get to the next level. Thankfully, new networking tools and methods have emerged to respond to the demand, and it’s still possible to keep expanding your network in these trying times. Let’s take a look at a few tips for networking during a pandemic.
1. Beef Up Your Social Media Efforts
If you have never been big on social media for networking, you will have no choice but to embrace it now. A lot of people have been turning to social media lately due to a shortage of open venues and events, so you might have better results than you expected.
Here, you must direct your attention towards the right platform. Some people might assume that Instagram is a great place to find businesspeople, but this is not necessarily true. Instagram is a visually driven platform, and networking online is more about exchanging ideas than projecting a certain image. It is your input and value that will weigh the most in the balance, no matter how successful or well put together you look, though image is still important. Try to go to a place where you’ll be able to engage in dialogues, like subreddits related to your area of business or LinkedIn groups.
2. Join an Online Mastermind
Now would also be a great time to join a mastermind. Online masterminds are a lot like online seminars, but they are much more interactive. They’ll usually have an educational component to them, but you’ll be able to exchange with other people during the mastermind and have access to a special discussion forum in most cases too.
Note that you’ll have to pay to join most masterminds and the price can vary widely. Some mastermind groups will cost you around $500 per year while others will cost you tens and even hundreds of thousands.
It’s all about your objectives and where you are at the moment. One thing you have to understand about attending an expensive mastermind is that you’ll be around highly motivated individuals with a lot of disposable income, so that could give you tons of opportunities to make connections with very important people.
3. Organize Your Own Event
If you manage to get some sort of following or assemble a small network either through LinkedIn, a mastermind, or another place, you could always organize your own networking event. The first thing you need to do is plan the event and decide the format. You could have something like a casual get-together or something more structured with clear sections and guest speakers.
You also have to make sure that you choose the right tool for networking. Zoom can work for simple conference calls, but we would suggest that you start looking at something more sophisticated. You could pick up a virtual event platform to make the event look more professional and easier to organize. Some virtual event platforms also have special features like the ability to create private groups or breakout rooms so people can do some speed networking.
Another very important thing you’ll need to have down is your invite list and invitations. If you want to make things easy for you, you could send virtual invitations with a tool like Greenvelope. It will pull contacts directly from an excel spreadsheet or Outlook Gmail, AOL, Yahoo email account and help you create a list fast. You’ll be able to send hundreds of invites in seconds and keep an open line of communication with the invitees through the service’s messenger tool.
4. Get on Clubhouse
Clubhouse is the hot thing right now for networking and it allows you to audio chat with everyone from top-level entertainers to Silicon Valley gurus. The only issue with Clubhouse is that you need to get invited to get in, but there are things that you can do to get an invite even if you’re not close with someone who’s already a member.
The answer here, again, is to go on Reddit. There are subreddit groups with members who are open to inviting people as long as they can show themselves worthy. Make sure that you have a pitch ready before you go to these groups, however, as people will quickly be able to tell if you’re serious or not.
These are all things that you can do to keep networking even with all the restrictions in place right now. You might have to work a bit more to get where you want to be, but this is a price you have to be willing to pay.