The excitement of getting dressed, assembling your physical portfolio, and circling a room of industry professionals was a nerve-wracking yet thrilling part of the in-person networking experience. There once was a time when in-person events were the go-to for making new connections, with 95% of people agreeing that face-to-face meetings allowed for better business relationships. This was our world before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while everyone went into lockdown, a new wave of business networking methods emerged that transformed the way we build relationships and utilize technology.
This guide along with our infographic below explains everything you need to know about the new networking tools and tactics that are taking 2022 by storm.
The Shift to Digital Networking
While COVID-19 restrictions prohibited traditional methods for conversing, the shift to all or majority digital networking brought benefits of its own. Virtual networking expanded the reach of connections and broke geographical barriers which allowed more flexibility!
A study by Forbes concluded that 76% of business professionals agreed that more flexibility in location and timing was a top benefit of leveraging technology for networking.
Methods of communication like text messaging , live chat, and social media allowed people to build connections no matter time zone or physical distance, and this autonomy altered the importance individuals place on technology.
Interestingly, despite in-person events returning and businesses operating close to normal, 63% of people still claim that they will resume using digital technology more often even after the pandemic has ended.
Social Media Tools for Business Networking
Improving your business networking strategy requires an understanding of the latest technology and communication trends — in this case, social media.
Social media platforms provide a creative and engaging space for individuals of all ages to meet, converse, and expand their personal or professional networks. Top media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn lets users communicate easily by messaging others and responding when they can, and designing an appealing profile that highlights them in a professional and genuine way.
Develop your next connection and boost your network with these innovative tools!
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 allows commenting on posts and sharing relevant content which helps users navigate the platform’s cutthroat algorithm and interact with a more niche audience.
As of 2022, 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.
Tips for Networking in 2022
If you are set on in-person relationship building, digital networking, or both it’s important to consider new tactics overall to land your next connection! Follow these tips to efficiently up your professional networking game in a post-pandemic world.
- Create Meaningful Connections
To establish genuine relationships, it is important to consider shared interests, mutual respect, and trust. Creating genuine relationships is the key to business networking since networkers can be more selective about who they converse with.
Concentrate on a few relationships at a time over networking with a large group. The possibility of contacts will be less but the quality and longevity of those relationships will be greater.
- Communicate Effectively
The more engaging the conversation is, the more prosperous you will be while networking. Some are more concerned about what to say next during a conversation rather than listening. This hinders vital information and demonstrates a lack of empathy and courtesy of others’ time.
This is why listening more is more effective. Rather than answering with long-winded responses, instead, show people genuine interest and respect their time by responding with short answers and returning the topic back to them.
- Bring to the Table
Before asking individuals for favors, what is something you can give or do for them? Professional networking is a playground for natural salesmen but an immediate or excessive amount of asking will appear insincere or pushed.
Instead, give referrals, expert knowledge, or business opportunities! This will create more meaningful connections even if the favor is not returned on the spot. The gesture won’t be forgotten and the impression leaves you with an open door.
- Be Unique
Networking virtually calls you to stand out in a sea of millions of professionals who also have access to digital tools and platforms. What skills or experiences distinguish you from others with equivalent professional backgrounds?
To avoid being another profile, optimize yours to emphasize your expertise, industry knowledge, and personality, and engage with other posts to draw attention and appear unique!
The shift in business networking since COVID-19 gave way to new tactics that altered the way we find new connections and build relationships.
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!