Professional networking entails proactively building and maintaining connections with people who can advance your career or brand.In today’s competitive business environment, it is essential to develop a strong personal brand and network.
You can use various websites, apps, and other networking tools to establish meaningful connections.
You can only get so far on your own; in actuality, the relationships you develop open doors and advance your career. Businesses rely on people, relationships, and networks. Therefore, we all must establish and maintain genuine professional ties.
This article will look at methods for growing your professional network to support business growth, career advancement, and brand development.
Regardless of the networking approach you choose, consider getting insurance for professionals to protect yourself and your business.
- Expand your professional network by using your LinkedIn profile.
Professional networking has transformed as a result of social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn. Many individuals rely on their LinkedIn network for recommendations, introductions, reviews, and references—all of which are helpful when you’re looking for work or hiring new team members.
There are several significant business-related uses for LinkedIn.
- Make new business connections. Add all the people you do business with to your LinkedIn network. Even though your interactions with some of them may be fleeting, you never know when they can be useful allies.
- Discover people who work in your field. Learn more about people’s professional and academic backgrounds on LinkedIn. If you have a meeting with someone coming up in the near future, study their profile to look for commonalities and conversation starters. Having talking points boosts your chance of establishing a good first impression, whether it’s for a job interview, sales call, or alumni networking event. Talking points demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to learn about the person.
- Assemble an effective team. A LinkedIn page may assist your business in attracting top talent, streamlining the hiring process, and identifying team members who share your vision and values.
- Promote your company. Because of its marketing capabilities, LinkedIn is a great tool for promoting your business and helping you develop client contacts.
- Actively request introductions
Asking a member of your professional network to introduce you to someone they know is not something to be afraid of. Most people are eager to help you make contacts or even act as mentors to help you improve your business ties.
Another option is to seek assistance from a networking “wingman.” Boasting about oneself to a complete stranger can be uncomfortable. However, a friend can highlight your accomplishments, and you can do the same for them.
- Maintain regular communication
Networking is not a one-time event where you meet a person and then only communicate with them when you have a need. Develop a long-lasting, give-and-take friendship if you truly want to connect. Stay in touch with people with whom you establish a rapport.
Bare in mind that while social media platforms are a great way to start relationships, real professional connections require face-to-face interactions to develop depth. Trust is difficult to establish without the interpersonal engagement provided by face-to-face communication.
- Always be on the lookout for networking opportunities
Think about the people you interact with daily and identify those who may be useful for your network. If you think you might need them for a job later on, get a business card or look them up on LinkedIn.
Understand that networking is a two-way process. Establish a foundation, find out about the other person, and then introduce yourself. It’s acceptable to ask for something once a foundation has been established, but hold off on asking for favours immediately.
Networking should be genuine and a part of both our professional and business lives.
Tools That Facilitate Professional Networking
A thorough networking strategy is necessary, and software tools can assist with that. Although we’ve already talked about LinkedIn, you should consider bolstering your professional networking toolkit with a few additional resources.
- Discord: Introduced in 2015, Discord is a chat app for small businesses that was primarily created to support online gaming communication. The software now serves a variety of enterprises, influencers, and brands in addition to serving its initial goal. Discord provides free access to a dedicated server for instant messaging, audio and video chats. The app is a great tool for engaging with your audience and connecting with your community.
- Bumble Bizz: Bumble Bizz is the offshoot of a dating app (Bumble). In order to promote local business ties, Bumble Bizz employs the same location-based information as the dating app. It’s a great tool for connecting with people for business at your own pace and on a more personal level.
- WhatsApp: A free end-to-end encrypted messaging, phone, and video chat programme used by more than 2 billion users in more than 180 countries. WhatsApp is an essential tool for networking and staying in touch with individuals worldwide because of its accessibility. WhatsApp is used by brands like Adidas and Absolut Vodka to sell to their target consumers, while other businesses utilise it for customer support.
- Twitch: This 2011 startup specialises in live-streaming video games, esports competitions, and numerous broadcasting alternatives. The Amazon subsidiary has grown significantly and is lauded for its capacity to foster communities. Since 74% of the businesses that use Twitch are small enterprises, its streaming reach has made it an appealing platform for businesses, and it offers a special tool for them.
- TikTok: A well-known social media app, TikTok provides a platform for short films that may be used for anything from amusement to instruction. Similar to Twitch, TikTok’s commercial features encourage communication among users, such as the capability of posting question-and-answer videos in response to comments. The app also enables users to create duets or videos that build on one another. The software is drawing businesses, but this is just the beginning of what it can do for them.
- Meetup: People can, well, meet up, thanks to the Meetup website. The website allows users to create social or professional organisations, including networking events, as the name suggests. Meetup expanded streaming capabilities as a response to the pandemic. It may be an excellent tool for growing your company.