With many events moving to an online platform, being able to network online has become crucial. But how do you network online without spamming the live chat with your business details which can cause people to think less of your business? Here is how to network online in a productive way.
1. Set some networking goals
When attending an event, it is crucial to consider what you want to achieve from your attendance at the online conference or webinar. You can ask yourself these questions as suggested by Bright:
- Who do you want to connect with the most? This can be a person or a brand. You should have a clearly defined persona of who you want to make contact with.
- How do you find this person? Sometimes events will release information about who is attending the meeting and you can see who you might want to connect with during the event.
- How many people can you connect with and have a meaningful discussion with? This is important to ascertain as there may not be enough time to connect with everyone on your list.
- How will you measure your goal? It is important to use a metric that you will use to see if you achieved your goal. Some examples are getting four emails from potential clients or getting 10 social media links so you can connect online and have these people on your radar.
2. Complete the online profile
Each event will be hosted on a platform where you can create a profile. Ensure you put all your relevant details into the platform’s profile creator. You will need to enter your name, your company’s name and a short description of it, and a link to your social platforms. In addition, ensure your social platforms are complete and a good representation of your business. You can also create a LinkedIn profile which you can use as a virtual business card for you and your company.
3. Prepare a short introduction about yourself and your business
When introducing yourself try to focus on the value proposition of your business. Let people know what your skills are and how you can add value to the interaction. By clearly defining the value and skills you bring to the conversation, you will be able to build rapport with your fellow attendees. Instead of saying “Hi my name is James and I am the CEO for Salty printers in Johannesburg”, it would be better to say “Hi, my name is James and I have 10 years’ experience in the printing industry. What I am good at is printing colour accurate artworks and I hope to meet some people who would like to print artworks for their offices or homes. I look forward to getting to know everyone better. “
4. Participate in the live chat
Whether you ask a relevant question or comment on something the speaker says, by participating in the live chat you will let your presence be felt. This could lead to further collaboration or communication with other attendees. Also remember not to dominant the chat but give everyone an opportunity to have their say. If the event offers break-out rooms, it also a great time to meet people virtually and share your ideas and thoughts with others. You should also participate in polls and other interactions which the speaker has prepared for their presentation.
5. Research the speakers for the event
By getting more information about the speakers, you can have a clear idea of who is giving you the information in the event.
6. Ask for contact details
If you meet someone who you would like to contact later ask for their contact details before the meeting ends. This will help to build your business network.
7. Share on social media
Before and after the event, it is a good idea to share your participation in the event. You can also write a review of the event and what you enjoyed or learned from your attendance at the event.
Finally, follow up. This is probably the most important point. Many times we collect contact information and say we will pass on information to the new contacts but then after the meeting, it gets forgotten. Take time after your event and add your new contacts to a spreadsheet or business contact app. Then write what action needs to be made with each new contact. If you said you would mail the contact then do that within 24 hours of meeting the person. You could also share some valuable and relevant information with the contacts with whom you want to remain in contact.
These eight steps will help you to get more out of the next online event you attend.
Proudly brought to you by the NSBC