9 Effective Virtual Networking Strategies

In the shift towards virtual networking, what is one strategy you have found most effective for building meaningful professional connections online?

Virtual networking

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1. Actively Participate

One of the most effective strategies for building meaningful professional connections online is active participation. You don’t just join professional networking sites and communities, you actively participate in relevant threads or discussions, share useful information, and ask thoughtful questions.

The key is to offer value and showcase your capabilities or exposure to get more eyeballs and get noticed. By doing this, you will not only attract the right people but gain respect in your respective industry, as you share your knowledge and expertise so others may benefit from them.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

2. Research Contact Lists Ahead of Time

To make good connections at virtual networking events, start by knowing who’s going to be there and think about what you want to get out of it. When you’re at the event, join in on the discussions and ask questions to show you’re really into it. Make sure your username and photo look professional so people can easily remember and recognize you. After the event, don’t wait too long to reach out to the people you met.

Mention something you talked about to remind them who you are and try to offer something helpful or interesting to keep the conversation going. Just be yourself and keep in touch through places like LinkedIn to build on those new relationships.

Benjamin Rojas, All in One SEO

3. Focus on the Post Meet-up

Honestly, making real, lasting connections online is hard. The best connections come from working on something together. So, here’s a tip: try to find ways to connect beyond just those online meet-ups. Maybe you can show each other what you’re working on, like doing demos of your stuff, or find a project you can both contribute to.

If you’ve got clients who could use what the other is offering, that’s another great way to team up. It’s all about finding those chances to do more than just talk. When you start working together on real things, that’s when you build those solid connections. Think outside the box and see where you can help each other out.

Travis Schreiber, Erase Technologies, LLC

4. Quality over Quantity

Virtual networking is how I was able to meet up with the business partners I’ve been working with for the past 8+ years, so I know how important it is to build meaningful connections. My advice to you is to focus on quality over quantity. If you send a message to everyone you think might be a good connection, you’re going to spend a lot of time writing and not enough time learning who these people are and what they do. This makes it hard to build rapport because you don’t know a lot about each other and, thus, don’t know how you’ll each benefit from working together.

Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

5. Attend Webinars

I find that attending informational webinars actually puts you in front of many great professional contacts. When you join a webinar with the intent to learn something, it’s likely that the other participants are from a similar situation and have similar needs. In this way, I get to connect with other professionals passively by being part of a useful webinar.

Some webinars, however, have setups and software that anonymizes your name and other participants’ details. In such cases, try asking a question and going live with the host if possible. That will give you a chance to introduce yourself and solve a problem while indirectly creating an interest in what you do.

After a webinar, you could reach out to the other participants via LinkedIn, dropping a note mentioning how you were in the same experience. This way, you’ll likely build good network where people feel familiar with you since you had a live experience together.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

Productive businessman meeting online
photo credit: Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

6. Contribute to Niche Communities

In the transition to virtual networking, one strategy that has stood out for building meaningful professional connections online is participating in and contributing to niche online communities and forums related to my field. This approach goes beyond passive networking by engaging in thoughtful discussions, sharing insights, and offering support where needed within these communities. By delivering value and showing genuine interest in the topics discussed, I’ve established credibility and formed connections with like-minded professionals who share similar interests and challenges. For others looking to build their professional network online, identify and join specific online platforms, groups, or forums where discussions align with your expertise or areas of interest.

Contributing valuable content, whether it’s answering questions, sharing relevant articles, or offering your perspective on discussions, not only helps you make meaningful connections but also positions you as a knowledgeable and reliable figure in your industry, opening the door to opportunities for collaboration, mentorship, and even new business ventures.

Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

7. Find the Right Platforms and Channels

An effective strategy that can help you build meaningful professional connections online is identifying the channels or communities that align with your niche. You can connect with anyone around the globe by leveraging any platform of your choice. However, the goal here is to find like-minded people.

You have to find the platforms that resonate with your respective industry and are readily preferred by professionals you want to connect with. It’s not just about growing your network online, it’s about connecting with the right people. So, the channels you choose to reach out to professionals should be carefully selected.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

8. Thoughtful Comments on Content

We often focus on creating our own posts and content on social media but underestimate the impact we have when we comment on other people’s content. I suggest spending time looking up what your peers are talking about online and adding to the conversation.

You can engage with reaction buttons and ‘Like’ a post or leave a thoughtful comment behind. People feel gratified when you appreciate their work and content and will remember you in a positive frame. So, make sure you like, comment, share and otherwise respond to other peoples’ work as a powerful way to building meaningful online connections.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

9. Publish Thought Leadership Articles

If you want to build meaningful connections with other professionals online, consider publishing thought leadership content. Put simply, this means sharing tips, experiences, and data from your time as a leader in your industry. In my experience, people who are interested in connecting with other professionals share and comment on these types of posts. What I like about thought leadership content is it’s incredibly diverse. One week, I can publish a blog post with plenty of data and statistics. The following week, I could create a lively video series filled with actionable tips and strategies.

I’d say make it a goal to publish at least one piece of thought leadership content a month and engage your audience. Before long, you’ll have built up a professional network around yourself and your brand.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC