The following is a guest blog by Johanna King
The morning commute from your bedroom to the living room has become somewhat of a routine and you’ve managed to master an array of genius lunch recipes to compete with the likes of Pret and EAT so finally this permanently working from home lark is beginning to feel normal!
But how about networking? The global pandemic has forced everyone to limit their interaction with others and ultimately rethink the way we operate on a day to day basis and unfortunately this means no scrumptious networking breakfasts in swanky crowded conference rooms for a while!
So how do you continue to grow your business using networking throughout the current Covid-19 restrictions?
Here’s some handy tools and tips to get you back on track with networking for your business!
Start the conversation..
Don’t be afraid to start the conversation, if the global pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how to think outside the box when communicating with others! Reaching out to companies or organisations that you would like to potentially collaborate with is a great way to open up the lines of communication and working on skills share basis, can create opportunities for you and other businesses with no major costs attached.
Zoom – If you hadn’t heard of the video conferencing before lockdown you certainly would have now! From the weekly pub quiz to catch up calls with friends and relatives, it feels as if the Zoom platform has been a crucial life line to many throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
Zoom is an ideal space to arrange a ‘virtual coffee’ or for team meetings with colleagues. With the ability to screen share, all attendees can give input and a clear visual ensures that discussions flow in a conference call setting.
If you’re currently on furlough or unable to work for various reasons, now is the ideal opportunity to improve your zoom skills and build your confidence using video conferencing.
Share ideas on social and networking platforms
Reports show that the general use of social media platforms increased by 23% at the peak of lockdown, so upping your game on social is key when communicating your business updates and brand messaging. Sharing ideas or even simply opening a conversation on a current topic, can lead to new connections and business leads. Business platforms such as LinkedIn are the ideal space to provide interesting industry content and connect with like minded professionals.
This is the perfect time to explore the array of virtual communities via their various platforms! A number of individuals have turned to local projects and businesses throughout lockdown and have been able to seek solace in staying connected through this incredibly uncertain time.
Virtual communities can vary, from action communities that are campaigning for social change, to professional communities who are doing similar work. No matter the community, each gives you the opportunity to share advice and experience which can be invaluable within business. The feedback and sense of community spirit can also be empowering and help when growing your brand.
Create a podcast
Creating a podcast is a brilliant way to help tap into another audience, as the popularity of your podcast grows, its reach will increase, helping to gather interest in your business.
If starting a podcast feels a bit daunting, start off by selecting a theme. When promoting your business, you want to strike a good balance between informative and interesting, so keeping the narrative engaging is key and a lighter approach can be favoured to encourage listeners to tune in.
Researching popular podcasts and successful formats can help too, navigating through the world of podcasts can be overwhelming so as a beginner, find what you like and engages you and then work from there.
Take your events to the virtual side
As traditional networking events are not possible at the moment, consider taking your events online! Creating a workshop style event that can streamed, is a brilliant way to get your business out to the masses. The popularity of online exercise programmes such as yoga and dance classes has dramatically increased since gyms and studios have been closed and many leisure based brands have found providing online offerings have kept their brand current and accessible within a difficult climate.
You can also create watchable content by demonstrating a brand new product, running an online session or interviewing an industry influencer to help create new connections.
If you’re a woman based in the Liverpool City Region or Greater Manchester and you’re looking for support to grow your business, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the support available.