The nerves and exhilaration of getting dressed, putting together a tangible portfolio, and circling a room of industry people were all part of the in-person networking experience.
In the past, in-person events were the preferred method of meeting new individuals, with 95% of people thinking that face-to-face interactions resulted in better business ties. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, this was our world.
While everyone went into lockdown, a new wave of business networking strategies arose, completely changing the way we build relationships and use technology.
This guide along with the infographic below explains everything you need to know about the new networking tools and tactics that are taking 2023 by storm.
The Transition to Digital Networking
While COVID-19 restrictions made traditional ways of communication impossible, the change to completely or mostly digital networking has its own set of advantages. Virtual networking increased the reach of connections and eliminated geographical obstacles, allowing for greater flexibility.
According to a Forbes survey, 76% of business professionals believe that having more flexibility in terms of location and scheduling is a major benefit of using technology for networking.
New forms of communication, such as texting, live chat, and social media, allowed people to communicate regardless of time zone or physical distance, and this autonomy changed people's attitudes toward technology.
Despite the fact that in-person activities are returning and businesses are returning to normal, 63% of individuals say they would use digital technology more frequently after the pandemic is over.
Social Media Tools for Business Networking
Understanding the current technology and communication trends — in this case, social media — is essential for improving your business networking approach.
Individuals of all ages can use social media platforms to meet, chat, and grow their personal or professional networks in a fun and engaging way. Users may communicate effortlessly using top media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn by messaging others and answering when they can, as well as creating an appealing profile that highlights them in a professional and authentic way.
With these social media tools, you can make your next connection and expand your network.
As of 2023, LinkedIn is the go-to networking tool for all business professionals with over 800 million users. It is for people who can’t always meet face-to-face and are seeking career opportunities or industry shifts.
Your most desirable connections will be there including possibilities for giving endorsements for relevant skills, virtual events, and interactions with posts.
Twitter is a popular social media tool for networkers to reach out and connect with others no matter their success, popularity, or difficulty to reach. You can communicate in real-time which is a valuable feature for business networking.
With 217 million daily active users, the business networking tool allows users to share interesting articles, and industry knowledge, engage and retweet posts, and message people directly.
The popular network is a valuable medium for business networking specifically with its opt-in group feature. Facebook groups allow commenting on posts and sharing relevant content which helps users navigate the platform's cutthroat algorithm and interact with a more niche audience.
Tips for Post-Pandemic Networking
If you want to make your next connection through in-person networking, digital networking, or both, you'll need to think about new strategies in general. Follow these guidelines to improve your professional networking skills in the post-pandemic era.
Make Valuable Connections
It is critical to consider common interests, mutual respect, and trust while forming true connections. Because networkers can be more choosy about who they interact with, the key to business networking is to build genuine relationships.
Instead of networking with a big group, focus on a few relationships at a time. There will be fewer opportunities for contacts, but the quality and length of those relationships will be higher.
The more interesting to talk, the more successful your networking will be. Some people are more preoccupied with what they will say next in a conversation than with listening. This obstructs crucial information and indicates a lack of empathy and consideration for the time of others.
This is why it is more effective to listen more. Rather than responding with long-winded remarks, demonstrate genuine interest and respect for people's time by giving concise answers and returning the conversation to them.
What can you give or do for people before you ask for favors? Professional networking is a playground for natural salespeople, but excessive or immediate asking will sound forced or fake.
Give recommendations, expert advice, or business opportunities instead! Even if the favor is not returned right away, this will develop more meaningful connections. The gesture will be remembered, and you will be left with an open door.
Virtual networking requires you to stand out among millions of other professionals that have access to digital tools and platforms. What talents or experiences set you apart from other professionals with similar backgrounds?
Optimize your profile to emphasize your skills, industry knowledge, and personality, and engage with other posts to draw attention and appear distinct to avoid being another profile!
Innovative communication and social media platforms aided this shift and by putting these tips and tools into practice you will be able to assemble a long-term network that, with proper outreach and nurturing, will convert into sales, new professional opportunities, and lasting friendships!