We experience poor networking far too often in the remote work world. But you need to master the art of networking if you want to make connections when working online.
Poor networking is like sending in the same resume to every job application you’ve ever applied for. A few people might follow up with you, but it seems as if you didn’t invest time in your application.
You may have even experienced poor networking yourself! Have you ever had an awkward LinkedIn message from recruiters?
The only thing that is personalized is your name, and it feels like it could’ve been sent out to hundreds of other people. Did it make you want to respond? No, I didn’t think so!
Now, let’s take a look at your networking style. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:
- Are you putting in the effort to make it personal?
- Are you actually engaging in conversation?
If your answer is yes, you’re off to a good start. But if your answer is no, let’s explore the different ways you can improve your networking skills!
Real networking is about making genuine connections and creating real opportunities for you and others.
Having the confidence to put yourself out there to connect might seem hard at first.
However, once you start implementing these 5 networking tips, you’ll begin to feel more confident networking online.
Step 1 – Clean up Everything
Before you do anything, I want you to look at all of your usernames, profile pictures, and anything that has to do with how people can identify you.
Make sure your accounts are kept clean and professional. If your username is @jane_dog_loverx123, chances are others will think it’s a spam account.
Another common mistake I see many people make is not having profile pictures of themselves or their brand/business.
Please do not put your pet as your profile picture (or anything that isn’t really you)! This might fly on Reddit or YouTube, but you are a virtual assistant looking to meet and work with other professionals.
You can always make your pet their own account if you really want to show off your furry friend! For now, upload a good photo of yourself and make that first impression a strong one.
Step 2 – Engage with an Online Community
This seems like an obvious one, but how many times have you joined Facebook Groups or followed pages and don’t interact with any posts?
If that sounds like you, then girl, what are you doing?
You need to speak up if you want to be heard.
No one will know who you are if you don’t engage with any content. Once you start engaging in a community, people will recognize your name and reach out to you.
Uploading an “introductory post” is one of the best ways to get started. This can help you connect with people who have a similar background or showcase who you are to the group.
Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great ways to connect with people. But keep in mind that each site has a different culture and social norms. You need to make yourself aware of these social norms to network effectively.
Commenting on someone’s Facebook post may offer you a new connection, but you may not get the same results if you do it on Instagram.
So be aware of what platform you are using and how you can use it to your advantage!
Step 3 – Stay Consistent
Just like engaging with a community, it is essential to remain consistent as an active user. Checking in with your new connections is just as important as making new ones.
A quick follow-up can give you the advantage by staying relevant to your networking pool. It also feels good knowing other people are out there checking up on you!
You never know when you can play “matchmaker” and introduce two people who need each other’s services.
Being helpful can land you in an excellent position because people will never forget what good you have done for them and try to return the favor in the future.
Step 4 – Be Intentional
Think to yourself, “Why do I want to connect with this person?” or “Why do I want to join this specific community?”
Asking yourself these types of questions can help lead you to your networking goals. It’s crucial to figure out what your goal is first so you can connect with the right people.
Having intention with your actions puts you in greater alignment with your goals.
If your goal is to travel around the world, think about the different ways you can connect with people! Here are some ideas to get you started:
- You can follow Instagram accounts dedicated to travel tips and destinations to gain inspiration.
- There are Facebook groups for people who are looking for travel buddies if you’re traveling solo.
- You can even find businesses that are focused on connecting people across the world so that they can volunteer in different countries.
Step 5 – Connect in Different Ways
Constant messaging is one thing. However, to elevate your new relationships, I encourage you to set up a video call with your new networks! It shows how serious you are about creating a new relationship.
Since our networking is taking place online, it doesn’t mean we always have to communicate through private messages or emails.
A simple video call can be a game-changer when it comes to creating productive relationships. It allows for two people to have a fluid conversation that is more in-depth compared to a typical message you’d get.
If it’s possible, I want to encourage you to meet offline! Just remember to be careful. Only do this if you feel safe and trust the other person online.
Above all, networking is a skill that takes a lot of practice and eventually becomes second nature once you start putting yourself out there. Cleaning up your accounts and taking the time to think about your goals is essential.
By putting in this work before networking, you end up laying down a solid foundation for success.
Once you start joining those communities, engaging with others, and staying active online, you’ll begin to notice your pool of networks grow.
Many women in the 90 Day VA program have shared stories of their struggles and successes within our private Facebook group.
This online community is an important tool for people who are new to remote work because it’s a space for women to connect and build meaningful relationships beyond Facebook.
Our private Facebook group is one of the perks of joining 90 Day VA. Throughout the program, you will gain the experience to build your online presence and refine your skills to become a rockstar virtual assistant!
There’s a community of women (and men!) who can’t wait to connect with you.
I hope to see you inside my program!
In 90 Day VA, Esther teaches her students how to research and repurpose current content into blogs for the VAI website. Nikita is the student we’ve chosen this week to feature what she’s learned in the course. Get to know her:
Nikita Salas is a virtual assistant here to add a helping hand for online brands. When she’s not helping other freelancers and small businesses, she loves to travel, meditate, and creating short films.
She’s a member of 90 Day VA and assists with everything from content repurposing to video editing.
If you’re interested in working with her, please contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org