Everyone knows how important the right network is for a business. Meeting the right people and creating the right connections, maybe all that is needed to take your entrepreneurship to the next level. While the global pandemic has put a dent in face-to-face interactions, the world has found a way to combat that. With the emergence of platforms that let you host online meetings and webinars, networking has been adapted to work around the pandemic and in this article, I will tell you how to not only keep your already existing networks but also grow it.

The first thing to do as a startup trying to network online is to check your online persona. Who are you on the internet, what images appear in people’s minds when they think of your company and its product, what are they saying about you? Branding is very essential to networking and you will find that startups that put effort into learning how to brand themselves online, do better than those who don’t. The world is one big online village now, who are you in it.

Once you have successfully established who you are and what you stand for online, the next thing to do is to check your online circle. Who are those in it? Are they helping your business grow? Who is missing, who has gone silent for a while, and who are those you want to add to your online network? The connections that you have established already are the ones that will your network grow.

Now that you know what your circle looks like, reach out to them. Ask after them, make sure that they are staying safe and healthy all through the pandemic.  For a business, this would mean talking to not only your employees but also your customers. Reach out to as many customers as you possibly can, not only will this remind them of you and your services, but it will also let them know that you care.  While mails work best to personally reach out to customers, posts on social media work too, so get posting.

The next step is more of an in-house thing. You and your team, and all your employees should take the time to upgrade yourselves. Attend webinars as much as possible, and seek other forms of professional engagement. Why? Webinars are a great place to meet mentors, advisors, and people who have the same interests as you. Meeting these new people is your primary goal. You will get to link up and make connections with others in the industry and most likely more experience. Not only that but the skills and knowledge you gain will take your business to the next level either by aiding ease of operation or shortening the entire process, whatever the outcome professional development will be beneficial.

Once you have started mingling with the new crowd, it is time to present yourself as a leader in the field. An easy way to do this is by making contributions to conversations online. So long as these contributions are relevant, they will gain traction and more people will seek you out. Invites to online meetings and gatherings will flow in and you will find yourself gaining access to things you thought previously out of your reach. In simple terms, stay relevant and your network will steadily grow itself.

There are more things to do as a startup looking to grow its network, but these few pointers should help you get the ball rolling. Familiarize yourself with the available and relevant online platforms and things will become much easier.

References

https://www.welcometothejungle.com/en/articles/networking-during-corona

https://nairametrics.com/2020/04/23/5-practical-things-small-businesses-can-do-during-this-pandemic-lockdown/

https://www.kornferry.com/insights/articles/job-networking-search-coronavirus

https://www.cose.org/en/Mind-Your-Business/Business-Growth/Networking-in-the-Age-of-COVID-19

Akinpelu Babatola

Guest Writer, The Xpress Train