Virtual networking is when you use technology, such as Zoom, to connect with entrepreneurs from around the world. You don’t have to leave your house or office to participate, and when leveraged properly, virtual networking can be an amazing referral source for your business.
In this week’s marketing strategy, I will break down how to use virtual networking to increase your visibility, gain referral partners, and attract new clients. If you are a work-from-home entrepreneur, this is the blog post for you!
If you have a business where you can help clients no matter where they live, then you may want to check out virtual networking. Virtual networking is a newer way to network, but it can be as or more effective than in-person networking if you have the right approach and attitude.
Save money by networking virtually
First, let’s address an important fact: Virtual networking can save you time and money. Here’s what I mean.
- You won’t have to drive to and from the networking meeting, which will save you time.
- You’ll save fuel costs because you don’t have to drive!
- You won’t have to pay for expensive breakfasts or lunches.
- And, because you’re sitting in front of a webcam, you can wear your pajama bottoms and slippers (a total time saver, right?)
How networking online works
Every group has its own way of operating, of course, but here are some general things you can expect from virtual networking.
You will connect to the group using your webcam and microphone. The facilitator of the virtual networking group will probably use Zoom or similar technology to hold the meeting. You will have an opportunity to give a 30-second introduction, and depending on the group, you may have a chance to be the speaker for a weekly meeting.
How to find virtual networking groups
Virtual networking is not as established as in-person networking, but I think it will catch on as more virtual-based entrepreneurs learn about it. For now, try googling “virtual networking” to see what results you find. You can also search for groups through MeetUp.com and EventBrite.com. Be sure to ask other work-from-home entrepreneurs about it too. They may have a group you can connect with.
Side note: I am the founder of Virtual Networkers, a global online networking organization for women entrepreneurs. We have four chapters and would love for you to check us out! You can be a guest up to three times before deciding on membership. Click here to learn more about Celestial University’s Virtual Networkers.
How to maximize virtual networking
. Here are my tips for maximizing the power of virtual networking:
- Show up for every meeting.
- Set up coffee dates with every member and guest (you can do virtual coffee dates using Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, or just the telephone).
- Check out the member directory (if they have one) and ask other members to connect with you.
- Participate in the Facebook Groups affiliated with the networking group.
- Follow all members and guests on their social media accounts, and be sure to interact with them there.
- Participate in the members’ webinars and Facebook Lives, and jump on their e-newsletter list. Think about how you can continue to connect with them virtually (beyond the meeting).
Connections made through virtual networking can occur more quickly than in-person networking—probably because the members are accustomed to building virtual relationships.
However, for this to occur, you have to take advantage of building these relationships through all online means. Think of it as connecting from all angles—the meeting, Facebook Group, email, Virtual Coffee dates, and more.
Let me put this another way: If you want to maximize virtual networking—and do so quickly—you must leverage every aspect of the group and find ways to connect online in between meetings. If you do both, you will reap the benefits of networking online.
Virtual networking is not for everyone, but if you are comfortable with building online friendships and being on a webcam, you should give virtual networking a try. You will meet wonderful people outside of your locale—all who want to help you grow your business (as you help them grow theirs). And, with the right group, virtual networking can be tons of fun.
Here are some other resources that will help you with your marketing and mindset:
My book, That First Client, which will teach you how to create an effective marketing system that will always attract clients to your business
My book, Loud Woman, which will inspire you to get Louder in your life and business
Check out my latest blog post about marketing, getting clients, and the Law of Attraction
Virtual Networkers, my global online networking organization for women entrepreneurs
Get More Clients Track, a year-long program that will teach you how the fundamentals of marketing so you’re always attracting clients
Manifest More Clients Track, a year-long program that will teach you how to use the Law of Attraction in your marketing
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