As we near the two-year mark of the pandemic, it’s evident that unfortunately, a return to normalcy is a way off. The pandemic has fundamentally changed how the San Diego business community – and society as a whole – behaves, communicates and interacts. With emerging variants and the scarcity of at-home tests, in-person meet-ups, dinners with colleagues, and industry conferences continue to pose a potential threat to our health.
Despite this, the world keeps turning and businesses keep functioning – and networking remains vital for not only businesses, but employees at every stage of their career. But how do you – the employee – network when you can’t attend a business event or hand out your business cards? It’s easier than you might think – you just have to be prepared to reach out in new ways and channel your inner digital extrovert.
Manage Your Digital Presence
While working from home has several benefits, it’s highlighted the need for human connection. People are craving genuine, trustworthy people to reach out and find the commonalities needed to build an authentic connection. While you could send a handwritten note, or a thoughtful article that relates to your client or even pick up the phone to call, the easiest option is right in front of you – managing your digital presence on social media.
Managing your digital or social media presence is the perfect place to start because you – like everyone else – are sitting in front of your computer or scrolling on your phone right now.
To begin, choose a social media platform – or all of them if you’re feeling ambitious – and get to editing. Depending on your specific industry and needs, the social media platform you choose will vary. Traditionally, LinkedIn is your best bet … but if you’re in an emerging industry, Instagram or TikTok may work better for you.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your digital content to showcase who you are, what value you can provide and what you’re interested in – it’s time to start networking. Maybe you already have someone in mind with whom you’d like to connect, but if not, think about what you’re interested in or what you’d like your next step to be to narrow your search of who you’re looking to connect with.
Be Interested, Not Just Interesting
Once you’ve made the initial introduction by messaging the person or persons you’re aiming to connect with (congratulations, you’ve done the hardest part), it’s important to listen, ask open-ended questions and be clear about what value you’re offering. Be authentic and personalize the conversation. It’s important to understand your connection’s interests and experiences outside of their social media platforms.
After an initial connection is made, continue to be a resource and follow-up. If it’s a formal connection, schedule another time to chat. If it’s more informal, even being active on each other’s social media platforms can be enough to keep you top of mind. Whether you’re simply liking or commenting on their posts, or continually sharing content from your own profile, it’s important to show you’re engaged and looking to make new two-way connections.
Your number of social media – or traditional – connections don’t matter if you’re not providing value. Continue to have conversations with your connections about how you can help them reach their goals and talk about mutual opportunities.
If you’re looking for a new connection or for more information about how to best connect with your target audience, reach out to us.