Are you ready to network again?

Over the last year and a half one of the things I missed most about being an entrepreneur and business owner, is networking.

Getting my business cards and heading to a local brewery, a restaurant or even a local bar to be able to wind down the day, meet and chat with like minded entrepreneurs was the highlight of my week.

It was a way to get out but also a way to make great connections and start building new relationships.

Sadly Covid hit and that shut all the events down for the past year and a half but it’s getting to the point now, with the majority of us vaccinated, we’re now able to start getting out to network again.

Attending a networking event now though might not be for everyone or if it is, things might change slightly and some might not want to handout or collect business cards.

Depending on the situation I’m all for getting back out there and networking and to do that I have added one extra piece to keep me safe as well as those around me safe, a digital business card.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love business cards and that might be a little old school but the way I see it, there’s nothing better than a good handshake and exchanging a physical business card. That said though, not everyone is ready for that and I wanted to be prepared for every situation.

If you read my blog two weeks ago, I talked about working remotely and the power of our mobile devices and when it comes to networking I used that to my advantage.

I had been seeing ads for apps and software recently that allowed you to have your business card on your phone digitally and have that transfer to anyone while out networking. Instead of using an app I decided to use my website and make something for myself.

I started by creating a card in Canva and using a QR code. With that, I am able to have my card handy and ready to pull up instantly. From there, with a quick scan that will take you to my website where I have a page dedicated to being my business card. On that page you are able to click on all my social links as well as have my contact information automatically saved to your contacts app.

Something so quick and easy yet very effective while we’re still in this time we are in.

Not everyone is ready to get out just yet and that’s totally ok. An amazing way to network is using a platform like LinkedIn. Still a social media platform but a far more professional platform where you can connect with like minded entrepreneurs.

We’ve talked about it in previous blogs and LinkedIn articles, LinkedIn isn’t like any other social media platform out there. LinkedIn is like a networking event that’s online where you can constantly connect with others all over the world.

LinkedIn has what it calls connections. These are people you’re connected with using the term, 1st connection. From there, people that are connected to your 1st connections are called 2nd connections and so on.

The beautiful thing about LinkedIn is when you put out great content that your target market likes, they can react and maybe even comment on your posts. The benefit to that is, if someone you’re connected to comments or reacts, their connections will be able to see your content. Kind of like throwing a stone into the water, it works like a ripple effect.

With LinkedIn, there are groups similar to Facebook Groups and like Facebook, being active in groups will go a long way. The more value you provide to the group the more people will see you as an expert in your field. Utilizing groups is a great way to make new connections, get your name or your business name out there and provide a ton of value to your target market.

The downside I see happen far too often is people forget that LinkedIn is a platform to network on and they jump right into a pitch for a product or service. A lot of the time this is done before they even look at your profile.

LinkedIn should be viewed as an actual networking event and when you’re looking to make new connections be sure to first have a look at their profile and find out who they are. From there you will want to introduce yourself when connected with a personal message that is tailored to them and not something you get from a script.

All too often you see people using something that is so bland and that is an instant turn off. 

Using LinkedIn as a networking tool and using that to build relationships will go a long way for you and your business.

Speaking of tools, we want to make sure after you’re finished networking and building those relationships you keep providing value.

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