Virtual networking is using social media as a platform for networking. It’s an especially great tool for introverts: those who are shy and feel uncomfortable at initiating and making small talk needed in face-to-face networking.
When done consistently and strategically, virtual networking can be just as successful – if not more successful – than traditional networking.
With virtual networking, you can quantify your targets at your own pace, and from the comfort of your office. You can filter connections; conduct research on your primary targets; investigate and leverage common connections; and strategize on how best to develop authentic relationships. You’ll use your time more efficiently and get stronger results this type of precision targeting.
Virtual networking has worked for me. I have generated tens of thousands of dollars in revenue; booked multiple creative media placements for myself and my clients; and have spoken at such top-tier venues as the Pentagon.
Tips for virtual networking
For my company, The Boreland Group Inc,, we have achieved great successful via virtual networking, including generating significant revenue. What is the best way to network virtually? Here are some quick hacks:
- Which platform to use. What is going to work best for your business? If you’re in a visual industry, such as retail or design. Instagram may be a good tool for you to use. If you’re more business-to-business, LinkedIn is your best bet. Have a consumer service? Facebook is a good option. I use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for my business.
IMPORTANT: Focus on one platform and then grow out to other platforms as need be. Social media can be time-consuming and overwhelming. Start small and see what works best for you, and the time you have to devote to the effort.
- Set an objective. What is your goal? Is it to sell products? Build upon your client base? Get speaking opportunities? Whatever it is, set it, and your virtual networking to achieve it. My goal on Facebook is to generate revenue. So, my postings showcase the work I do on behalf of my clients; how my customers have benefited through their association with my firm; and testimonials. Which leads us to the next tip.
- Curating. The purpose of social media is to connect with those you know or would like to know. It’s also having followers who want to connect with you. Separate the wheat from the chaff – it may look impressive to have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but are they true connections who can help you in your professional goals? I don’t accept all LinkedIn connections – and you don’t have to, either. It won’t hurt their feelings; they won’t stalk you; they’ll move on. Again, it’s quality over quantity.
- Consistency. It’s harder to develop an online relationship than a face-to-face one. You have to work harder to stay in front of your connections.
You have to post regularly. Studies suggest posting eight times a day on Twitter; twenty times a month on LinkedIn; and at least twice a day on Facebook. Don’t freak out. You can do this without spending a lot of time. Use Buffer to post content throughout the week – you can arrange on Sunday what to post for the rest of the week, and be done with it. Like, retweet, share or comment on posts.
IMPORTANT: I love to share the successes of my colleagues. If one of your associates wins an award, hits a milestone, etc, congratulate them on your platform. They will appreciate it.
IMPORTANT: Whatever you do, be authentic about it. Don’t like, repost, just to do it. Being fake is one of the worst things you can do.
Jennefer Witter, is CEO/Founder, The Boreland Group Inc. Jennefer Witter is ranked among the top ten black CEOs/entrepreneurs in the country by Madame Noir magazine. She is the author of “The Little Book of Big PR: 100+ Quick Tips to Get Your Small Business Noticed”.