The Changing Face of Networking
Networking. Love it or hate it, it’s been around for hundreds of years, and it’s doubtful that COVID-19 will be the thing to change it.
Whether you are attending a formal social event, a trade show, a networking group or on the golf course, spending time with clients, potential clients and introducers is one of the most successful ways to create and build relationships whilst identifying potential business opportunities.
For some businesses, and some business people, networking has been the backbone of sourcing new business whilst doing very little else – maybe a website and the odd leaflet.
And this is fine. Until you can’t meet face-to-face anymore.
Once all face-to-face events were cancelled, people were forced to rethink, and as it became clear that COVID-19 was not going to be over quickly, we came to the conclusion that we needed to try something else.
Firstly, we started working from home. And quickly we started using platforms such as Teams, Zoom and Remo. We became comfortable online. We started seeing some benefits too – the typical 1-to-1 meeting would involve an hour either side in traveling, but online we don’t have to waste all that time and things carried on just fine.
Traditional networking groups reinvented themselves online too. They had to. The same software platforms enabled large groups to network, hear presentations as well as allow smaller groups to form and replicate the physical environment.
However, they were slow off the block, and in the meantime, many looked to LinkedIn, wondering whether it could be a place to meet other professionals, and to experience networking in a similar way to face-to-face events.
Historically, LinkedIn was primarily used as a hiring platform by both employees and employers and because of the platform’s success there are now millions of professionals and businesses on the platform. It is the most-used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies and 40 million users are in decision-making positions[i]. LinkedIn’s advanced search tools help people to find and connect with prospects, making it the ideal platform for networking.
And that’s exactly what we’ve seen people do. LinkedIn have seen an increase of 55% in conversations among connections on the platform over the past year[ii].
And as more and more people start using the platform for networking, the better the platform will be for networking. People who would historically login once every few years – when they needed to update their profile, are now regularly using messages to have conversations, reading content from their network and searching and finding new people to engage with.
If you’re interested in learning how to use LinkedIn effectively for lead generation, come along to our online training session, which will help you do just this.