Networking in a Virtual World: How to build and maintain connections in the community

March 21, 2024

Networking in a Virtual World: How to build and maintain connections in the community

Navigating virtual networking can be a challenge, especially if the idea of reaching out to strangers feels awkward or insincere. Research indicates that instrumental networking for professional gains can sometimes compromise one's moral purity. However, when approached with genuine intentions, virtual networking becomes a valuable tool for independent professionals, offering numerous benefits.

Why Network Virtually?

  1. Skill Development: Networking facilitates the development and improvement of your skill set.
  2. Industry Trends: Stay abreast of the latest trends in your industry through networking connections.
  3. Job Market Awareness: Keep a pulse on the job market and potential opportunities.
  4. Professional Relationships: Build connections with prospective mentors, partners, clients, and collaborators.
  5. Resource Access: Gain access to necessary resources for career development.

Working independently in a remote environment can be isolating, making networking crucial for overall health and well-being. Here are seven tips to initiate and maintain meaningful virtual connections:

1. Establish Your Why:

Clearly define your networking goals, whether it's finding new clients, building professional relationships, or connecting with mentors.

Approach networking with the intention of connecting with individuals aligned with your goals.

2. Start Within Your Inner Circle:

Reach out to people with whom you already have solid relationships, such as family, friends, ex-bosses, colleagues, or clients.

Personalized emails or calls can help rekindle connections and initiate virtual networking.

3. Build Your LinkedIn Presence:

Update your LinkedIn profile with clear professional goals.

Connect with intention, sending personalized notes with each outreach request.

Engage with industry experts, share content, and participate in relevant groups to enhance your presence.

4. Attend Online Events:

Actively participate in online industry events, asking questions, engaging in breakout sessions, and networking via private messaging.

Share your event participation on social media platforms to broaden your visibility.

5. Start a Podcast:

Consider starting a podcast to share your expertise and connect with thought leaders.

Hosting virtual interviews with industry experts can help build relationships and expand your network.

6. Leverage Informational Interviews:

Request virtual informational interviews to gather insights from industry experts.

Use these interviews to build relationships with new contacts and gain valuable career advice.

7. Network on Other Social Media:

Utilize platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for professional networking.

Engage with relevant content, follow industry leaders, and participate in discussions.

Maintain Connections:

Regularly update contacts with genuine messages, sharing links, inviting them for virtual coffee catch-ups, or congratulating them on career changes.

Keep interactions short, genuine, and consistent to nurture professional relationships over time.

Remember: Virtual networking doesn't have to be overwhelming. Incorporate small actions into your daily routine, such as adding contacts after online events or sending a quick email to reconnect. Approach networking with authenticity, and you'll find it's a valuable tool for building and sustaining meaningful professional relationships in the virtual world. As a real estate professional navigating the virtual landscape, these strategies can significantly enhance your networking efforts, leading to long-lasting connections and professional growth.