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Online Networking: A Trend for 2021

<p>There is no need to tell you that networking has changed a lot in the last few months. You may even have to find customers in other ways. Whether you&#39;re a regular at happy hour or not, have you thought about online networking? In addition to helping create a network of contacts, these networking events could help you find some interesting contracts. Here are some tips and places to network on the web!</p> <h3><strong>Before you go, take a look at your online presence</strong></h3> <p>&nbsp;Before you start on any platform or business group, it&#39;s important that you have a presence online. Make sure people know how to contact you if they would like to request your services? As it&#39;s harder to offer your business card in person right now, make sure you&#39;re on the web. You can do this by <a href="">having a website</a>, an account on LinkedIn, or a professional page on Facebook. In short, you have to be easy to find if someone looks you up you via search engines.</p> <h3><strong>Be present on social media</strong></h3> <p>The first place you should aim for when networking online, is social media. Many groups of professionals have been created in the past year and they have various goals: helping members, sharing job offers or contracts, creating a community of professionals, etc. No matter what your field is, there is probably a group for you and your profession.</p> <p>When we think of social media and the world of work, the first one that comes to mind is LinkedIn. We know that most people only use this platform to find a new job, but don&#39;t underestimate how LinkedIn can help you create a network. Update your profile, add a nice photo of yourself and explore the different groups. For example, check if your professional association or local chamber of commerce is on LinkedIn.</p> <p>Once you are done with LinkedIn, check out Facebook and search for relevant groups. There are hundreds of them, and there will probably be a few that will meet your needs.&nbsp;In short, there is a group for everyone and on all social networks. You may also find a group to network with on Instagram or even Slack!</p> <h3><strong>Participate in events</strong></h3> <p>Webinar, networking, online events... There are now all kinds of opportunities where you can meet potential customers or partners on the web. After finding groups on social media, don&#39;t hesitate to participate in their events. This is the perfect time to take a training course or sign up for weekly Zoom meetings. You will be able to meet new people and exchange ideas. For example, le R&eacute;seau des femmes d&rsquo;affaires du Qu&eacute;bec and the Junior Chamber of commerce of Montreal offer virtual meetings where participants can discuss and share their situations. You can also check out the list of events offered on sites like EventBrite.</p> <p>And if nothing happens in your network, why not organize an informal meeting or training session with your acquaintances? This is a great way to <a href="">break out of isolation</a> that is so familiar to freelancers and self-employed people.</p> <h3><strong>Dare to partner</strong></h3> <p>Once you&#39;re comfortable with social media and have found interesting groups to join, why not team up with professionals or organizations to offer training sessions or events? The important thing here is to show your expertise in a specific area so that you can establish yourself as the go-to person.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here&#39;s an example. Let&#39;s say you&#39;re an accountant and you want to provide your services to self-employed people. It&#39;s a good idea to advertise where this audience is. Don&#39;t be shy to ask group administrators if you can offer a free webinar on a topic that directly affects the members. They may not always say yes, but if they see that you are offering a plus to their community, you are putting the odds in your favour.</p> <h3><strong>Some tips to effectively network online</strong></h3> <p>Here are some tips and rules for networking online effectively and professionally.</p> <ol> <li> <p><strong>Have a good internet connection</strong><br /> This is especially important if you need to do a lot of presentations online. Make sure you have good quality video.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Think about getting additional equipment</strong><br /> Other than your internet connection, think about getting a microphone and a camera that will enhance your sound and appearance.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Find a suitable place</strong><br /> When you&#39;re networking online, think about being in a quiet environment where you won&#39;t be disturbed &ndash; or as little as possible. Also remember to have appropriate lighting.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Do a proper follow-up</strong><br /> When you meet a potential customer or someone interesting, ask if you can add them to LinkedIn to keep in touch. Don&#39;t make a common mistake by harassing someone with messages afterwards!</p> </li> </ol> <p>In conclusion, pandemic or not, there is a good chance that virtual networking will be here for good. Start by getting the tools you need, and then update your online presence. Then find the groups and channels that are relevant to you, be active and get involved. Remember that word of mouth is still one of the best ways to <a href="">find new customers!</a></p>