If you are someone looking for new and better opportunities, I’m sure you have been advised to build and grow your network. In today’s digital world, networking with people all around the world is easy but it can get overwhelming. Conventional methods of networking are effective but what about those connections you never meet in person?
I am Sagar Patel, an International Talent Search professional and a Coach at Job Boosts. With over a decade-long experience in recruiting people internationally, successfully networking, and working closely with hundreds of stakeholders, recruiters, and hiring managers, I can tell you that your ability to network virtually will help you boost your career. In fact, according to a study, 80% of professionals believe professional networking can help you boost your career success. (Source: techjury.net)
It is easy to connect with people at conferences or work meetings but how do you build a virtual network with people who live thousands of miles away? Here are three effective ways you can build a strong network with people you don’t meet in person.
1. Identify Your Connections
You can start by identifying connections you want to reach out to. Learn to keep in touch via an online medium with connections you know. Stay focussed on your target audience to effectively network virtually. Create a list of five to ten people and focus on building connections with them first. Remember you don’t need to do this every day but doing it consistently will get you to stay on top of their minds. The goal is to think of a small target group and build a long-term relationship. You could decide to add 20 new connections every week for the next 6 months and take it from there.
2. Build Engagement
Once you know your target audience, the best way to build a connection is by creating content. A lot of networking involves reaching out directly but consider engaging with your audience using content. Think about what will attract your audience. You can do this by blogging about relevant topics, or tweeting and posting on your social media platforms. When you create content, you will be seen as someone willing to take initiative. This will set you apart and with time get you noticed. But remember, consistency is key. Respond to comments and criticism positively. Build a network and engage with your audience so they approach you.
3. Build Lasting Connections
Building connections with people over the internet is difficult but it is never impossible. Remember your goal is to build a two-way connection with people living far away. And the internet is a great place to begin. So here are three things you should remember:
- First, if someone lives in a nearby area, how can you connect with them online before meeting with them in person? Follow them on social media and engage with the content they post to get you noticed.
- Second, think about ways you can interact with them in person. Reach out to them and ask for a 10-minute meeting and stick to it. Or if there’s a meeting or industry conference you both are attending, let them know you’d like to connect well in advance.
- Third, connections fade over time. So, if you meet with them in person, make sure you follow-up via an email or a virtual meet. Make sure they don’t forget who you are!
Virtual networking is not as overwhelming as it looks. In today’s digital world, it is easy to reach out to people overseas and build a community. Know your audience and connect with them via social media. Don’t forget to engage with them through their content. Like, Comment, and Share to get noticed. Create content to attract new connection opportunities and remember to be consistent. Aim at building connections that last. Reach out to them, request a 10-minute virtual meet, and stick to it. Remember to follow up and stay in touch. So, keep these three things in mind next time you are planning on building a virtual network. I wish you the best!