There are several steps to starting small business networking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Professional networking is a critical part of small business strategies to build client bases and foster sales as well as new relationships. Of course, the recent COVID-19 pandemic halted many typical business practices, including in-person professional networking. However, many businesses have creatively reorganized their practices to mitigate the pandemic’s impacts. For example, digital networking events are arguably more beneficial to businesses because they are faster and cheaper than in-person events. As a marketing professional, you should embrace digital networking to secure your business customers and build your brand’s industry presence during the pandemic. In this post, we’ll discuss how to start small business networking during COVID.
The first step in COVID networking is considering your opening messages and greetings. Before the pandemic, greeting someone with “hope you’re doing well” would have been fine. However, over 40% of Americans report their emotional well-being has suffered due to the lockdowns. Therefore, your messages and greetings should display more sincerity, authenticity, and kindness. In fact, many effective pandemic messages do not even mention work or job opportunities. For example, ask people how they’re doing and share some of your pandemic experience. This way, you acknowledge how difficult things are for everyone, building trust and goodwill as relationship foundations. Surely, demonstrate how you are thinking of other professionals during this trying time with certain greeting considerations.
Diversify Existing Network
Diversifying your networks is the second step in COVID networking. The best networks contain connections from several areas of your life, such as social and school groups. However, there are many unexpected and unorthodox settings in which more connections reveal themselves. For example, people in your neighborhood may be more open to connection due to the extra time on their hands. If your network already contains people similar to you, fill it out with some different individuals. For instance, if you are a man, join a group for women. Of course, since the group is for women, avoid taking any sort of authoritative role. Your purpose for being there is simply to listen to what they have to say. Additionally, adding people with different problem solving skills, priorities, or values often expands your potential client pools. Absolutely, greatly enhance your problem solving, customer acquisitions, and brand equity with network diversification.
Check Professional Organizations
The third step in COVID networking is checking how professional organizations have adapted to the circumstances. Of course, the pandemic forced the cancellation of most in-person networking events. However, many professional industry societies and organizations have implemented innovative new ways to foster intra-member relationships. For instance, many local news outlets publish lists of native groups, societies, and organizations with online networking opportunities. Moreover, if you are part of one of these groups, consider putting together an online networking event and advertising it. Certainly, search for online networking opportunities that significantly improve brand presence by checking on various professional organizations.
Virtual Conference Networking
Virtual conference networking methods and considerations are the next step in COVID small business networking. While it may not be feasible to get a full attendee list, virtual conference speaker and panelist names are often easy to find. Contact these people after the conference. Ask them questions, offer feedback, or question if they would speak with you briefly. This way, you build relationships with industry experts. These relationships often positively impact sales, brand engagement, and make your business work as a lead generation machine. Definitely, foster brand and business relationships by networking at virtual conferences.
Reach Out To Canceled Conference Attendees
The last step in COVID small business networking is reaching out to attendees of any canceled conferences. Look at scheduled industry conferences and highlight individuals who were supposed to attend, speak, or attended in the past. Shortlist a few of these people and reach out with something you have in common. For example, email someone with “I was also planning on attending (conference/event) this year, and I saw you were also interested in (thing you have in common).” This way, you strengthen business relationship baselines with something you already have in common. Eventually, you may even become an authority in your industry. Of course, build stronger relationships that improve brand presence by reaching out to canceled conference attendees.
Starting small business networking during COVID is done in a myriad of ways. For example, start by demonstrating how you are thinking of other professionals during this trying time with certain greeting considerations. Second, greatly enhance your problem solving, customer acquisitions, and brand equity with network diversification. Third, search for online networking opportunities that significantly improve brand presence by checking on various professional organizations. Next, foster brand and business relationships by networking at virtual conferences. Finally, build stronger relationships that improve brand presence by reaching out to canceled conference attendees. When searching for how to start small business networking during COVID, consider the steps described above.