Networking in a Post-Pandemic World

Since 2020, professionals have grown used to engaging in virtual meetings and online networking. We are very fortunate that the pandemic occurred in this day and age because, although we can’t go out into the real world, we can still connect via a virtual one. The virtual world has created new opportunities for networking post-pandemic. Since most individuals stopped commuting to the office and attending in-person networking events, they resorted to making contacts online. Online platforms have allowed us to build larger and wider networks without being limited by where we are geographically.

Now that most of the country has opened up again, you might wonder if you’ll be able to maintain the online presence you developed during the pandemic. Many people are focusing their efforts on getting back into the real world and aren’t relying on online marketing as much. People are eager to minimize the amount of time they spend online because going out for a walk or meeting friends sounds much more appealing now. That said, your online networks won’t flourish if you don’t keep nurturing them. So, if you’re considering minimizing your online efforts as you re-embrace traditional forms of in-person networking, that would be a mistake.

The shift toward online networking makes it easier and faster to meet people, which has the potential to be significantly more profitable for your business. You don’t need to set aside your excitement over in-person events; just don’t let those networking activities slow down your marketing efforts online. You now have the potential to grow your business online and in person simultaneously, so don’t stop reaching out to new people on LinkedIn and nurturing your communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Close up of five hands looking at cell phonesIf you’re wondering how to balance managing your online network with cultivating in-person relationships, you’re not alone. It’s important to be intentional about how you continue to grow and nurture your networks. It isn’t about doing everything you possibly can; it’s about recognizing the things that worked previously. You don’t want to pull away from the things you did in the heart of the pandemic that were most effective for growing your business. Instead, evaluate where and how you built the online relationships that have proven most beneficial. Through what channels did you build your strongest relationships? How did you grow that engagement? As you move forward, ask yourself how to best prioritize your time between making new relationships and nurturing the ones you currently have.

We are a huge proponent of block scheduling. If something doesn’t show up on your schedule, it’s less likely to happen. Look at your schedule ahead of time and decide how you want to structure your day. When a block of time unexpectedly opens up, have some ideas for how to be productive with that time. Schedule opportunities for in-person networking, but keep tending to your virtual connections too. Are you continuing to post in the Facebook groups you started or joined? Are you still updating your blog? If you need to, you can cut back on how regularly you do those things, but at least show up. Nurture your online relationships because they will serve you just as well as — if not better than — your in-person ones.

Four people leaning against a wall networking on their phonesAt Prosper for Purpose, the online world has enabled us to market our business to a larger group of potential clients and collaborators, and it can do the same for you. That said, online networking is not one-size-fits-all. Put some real thought into how your online networks can benefit you, and network with people who inspire you. Those individuals who maintain their online relationships as they look to create more in-person connections are the people who will emerge as the rock stars of business networking.

The bottom line is, as you rush to get outdoors to do all the things that good weather and COVID-19 vaccines have made possible again, don’t forget to tend to the garden of your virtual connections. Wish people a happy birthday on Facebook. Congratulate your LinkedIn connections on their work anniversaries or new jobs. These small gestures will make you pop up in their feed more often, which may lead them to contact you at some point because, as it turns out, they’re looking to hire someone who offers the services you provide. This is your opportunity to lean in and build deeper connections with the people with whom you wish to work. So, keep nurturing your online relationships, and be intentional about how you spend time growing your business.

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