The standard ways of networking are outdated and in the age, we are living in they simply don’t work. While the days of heading out for the evening have made a disappearance this year, as a VA you are in the perfect spot to reap the benefits of more networking events online. Traditional ways of networking never worked for those online and so this new age is all too exciting. Here are some of our favourite ways from Canada’s Virtual Assistant to network as a VA.
Remember it is not all about you
A lot of people have the misconception that when you are talking to someone and “networking” you should be talking about your business and yourself. This isn’t the goal with networking, you aren’t going out to sell yourself you’re going to make connections, real connections with another human. In order to do that you need to have a two-way conversation and learn about the other person, you are interacting with.
There is a Facebook group for almost every industry and interest a person can have. These are great places to connect with likeminded people who potentially could use your services at some point. Pink 1-3 groups and engage with them daily. Comment on posts, provide value, strike up a conversation, make genuine connections.
Virtual events are gained popularity and by doing a quick search online you can find one to attend. Think of these like any other event – except virtual. While you can’t network in-person – look for opportunities to connect with others:
Live chats: Much like at an in-person conference – there are bound to be some live chats going on during any presentations. Take the time to join them and contribute!
Q&As: Join these when you can. One of the benefits of conferences is having the opportunity to speak to the speaker after the event and ask questions. There will likely be a set time for this or it may happen directly after the presentation. Check it out and engage.
Breakout rooms: If you haven’t used this feature on Zoom yet – it essentially breaks down your group into smaller groups and places you in your own “virtual room”. These are being used more frequently across online teams and being used in conference settings as well.
It’s called “social” media for a reason – yes you can talk about your business on your page but remember to engage with others. Think of who interests you and find them, follow them, and make genuine comments on their posts. Start conversations here as well.
FYI: if you think commenting “awesome post” constitutes as networking you are going to need to rethink your strategy.
Again people buy from people they like, know and trust, and in order to create that you need to put in the work and create meaningful comments.
Give it time
In order to create real relationships – you need to take your time. They won’t happen overnight and much like anything in life, you are going to need to work at it. The connections you start today may not turn into anything until months from now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue them.
Being in a virtual world can be lonely, creating relationships and networking not only boosts your visibility but also your self-esteem. Experiment, try new things, and most importantly have some fun while getting your name out there!