With all the changes we’ve adapted to in a post-COVID world, many businesses are seeing the consequences now that we’re a few months in. Closures, temporary layoffs, and physical changes around the office for safety purposes have often become a necessary part of doing business, and now businesses must face the task of rebuilding and promoting their brand. Just six months ago, professionals might have gone to a convention or a cocktail party to make important connections, but now it pays to be creative when it comes to networking.
Many of us keep a phone on our person at all times but rarely use it as such, preferring instead to keep it handy for checking email and social media. Why not call up a few of the people you need to speak to rather than messaging them? They’ll likely appreciate your attempt at a more personal connection, and hearing a voice on the other end of the line can go a long way toward helping you both find common ground. When it comes to networking, you can’t get much better than an old-fashioned phone call.
Update your info
How long has it been since you updated your info on social media or on networking sites like LinkedIn? Could your brand use a shot of energy? Take some time to look at your online presence and think about how you can update it for the current times ―you might want to add additional ways to contact you; see what pops up when you Google your name or business; or freshen up your website by adding video content. If your customers and connections can’t see you face-to-face, it can be helpful to add some more personal touches.
“People are looking for a connection,” says entrepreneur Bobbi Brown. “People are looking for answers and certainly things they can do themselves. I do think it’s an opportunity for all brands to be able to really listen to what people are feeling and what they really want. The truth is we all want the simple things—not just during this pandemic, but always. We all want to be loved, be safe, we want to be comfortable and we want to take things down a notch and be more real and authentic.”¹
It’s important to note that it’s not a good idea to completely redo your website or take away existing content, as this could upset your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and create changes to the way people find you.
Put yourself out there
If you don’t already have a blog pertaining to your business, consider creating one that can be connected to your site and social media profiles. This is a great way to show potential connections what you’re all about, and at the same time you can monetize your content by placing ads on the blog. Make it as accessible as possible by including captions on videos and adding descriptions to images, and focus the content so you can showcase your business and ideas. Take the time to read comments and respond to them, especially those from fellow bloggers, as you might end up making some great connections. Look for influencers in your field via social media and reach out for an interview that you can post on your blog. Everyone likes free exposure!
One great way to network that benefits both you and your connections is to reach out and ask for review copies of books that pertain to your business. Not only does this help the author promote their work, it will help you network while you learn more about your field. Some authors will provide review copies themselves, while others prefer to go through their publisher, but a quick email or direct message will help you figure out the best way to go.
Networking even during uncertain times doesn't have to be difficult. If you can get creative with the way you communicate, you can still foster valuable relationships no matter how long COVID-19 sticks around.