Podcast 11: How to Network Online During LockdownApr 29, 2020
Networking for many practitioners is their number one marketing activity. It’s all about building connection and relationships so a perfect fit for those of us working in health and well-being. It’s also one of the faster ways to bring clients to your door if done well.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus and lockdown have put paid to any in-person events for a while. The current situation dictates we need to be flexible on how we approach networking. The good news is, there are still lots of opportunities.
Your relationship-building skills can be effectively moved online. Even though you can’t see clients in person at the moment, it’s a way to maintain relationships and build new ones, ready for when things return to some kind of ‘normal’.
5 ways to network virtually:
Social media is about being social but it’s a place that can easily be a time suck. Think about the different social media platforms you’re on and have a strategy for how you use them. This will help you to work out where you’re the best spending your time.
Trying to be everywhere will get overwhelming, so give yourself permission to focus on one main platform. This doesn’t stop you from being on others – allow yourself to ‘dabble’ on them if you enjoy them.
Check your social media profiles are up to date and clearly say what you do and who you help. Using the same profile photo across the different platforms will help people to recognise you in different places.
Be sociable, make conversation and comment on people’s posts. If you like something, compliment the author – it will help you to stand out and be remembered. Be mindful of what you say online – if you wouldn’t say something out loud, don’t publish it!
Being supportive and actively sharing others’ information is one of the best ways to get noticed. Sharing great articles, products or services from others that your audience would be interested in works brilliantly. It shows your generosity and that you care about others work too.
Connect with people you know and the people you want to get to know. Spend time each day reaching out to people, following them and start building relationships on social media.
There are some amazing online communities from paid memberships, to free groups and they’re a great way to build your network.
There are groups on Facebook and LinkedIn covering every topic you can think of. Don’t just think of these in terms of where your clients may be, think of them as places where you can find peers and support for you and your business too.
I’m a member of a few groups and have found ‘online friends' who have become part of my daily community. I feel like I already know them even though we haven’t met in person yet.
If you’re looking for a supportive Facebook group to join, come along to ‘Holistic Business Matters’. Join me and other like-minded practitioners to support each other in building businesses we’re proud of.
With the closure of our in-person events, many organisers have taken their events online. This includes everything from your weekly in-person networking events to large conferences. It’s amazing how lockdown has brought out people's creativity. Have a think about what you could attend or create for your business:
Webinars are great for sharing ideas. Attend those run by others to meet your peers and participating in the Q&A sessions at the end will help you raise your profile. If you want to attract prospective clients, host your own webinar on Zoom. With a basic paid account, you can run a webinar for up to 100 participants and it’s simple to set up.
Virtual conferences are happening all over the place. They follow the same agenda as their live counterpart and include presentations, Q&A sessions, networking sessions and 1:1 meetings.
Masterminds are where a group of people working together to support each other. This is a great way to get support while building your business and build connections for future collaborations. Or you could host one for client group where you support members to work with you or use your approach to health and well-being for themselves.
Local networking groups have taken their regular events online. In order to support their members and keep their events running, they’ve had to be flexible. If you’ve been thinking of attending your local group, they may be offering this option.
Arrange a virtual coffee
If you are building a relationship with someone online and want to get to know them better, offer them a virtual coffee (or tea). This isn’t anything more than getting to know someone and discovering if you have anything in common. It’s a really nice way to meet new people and connect with those you already know.
Having moved to Wales from Hertfordshire 5 years ago, this is one of the best ways I’ve found in keeping up with colleagues as well as family and friends.
If you’ve been connecting with someone on social media and it’s appropriate, send them an email. Personalising it and showing you have put time and thought into reaching out to them will make it stand out against all the noise in their inbox.
Networking is certainly different from what it was a few months ago. Moving it online is still possible and gives you the opportunity to build relationships until you can meet in person.
On the topic of connecting, come and join my Facebook group ‘Holistic Business Matters’ and meet other like-minded practitioners supporting each other.
Podcast 11 show notes:
- Social media (1:56)
- Online communities (4:28)
- Virtual events (5:48)
- Virtual coffee (8:18)
- Personal emails (9:04)