Networking has always been an important part of a successful business strategy. Without networking, sales, business development, and growth would be limited. From ancient times on, people have connected with each other to build meaningful relationships. Whether it is for the exchange of goods, like in ancient times, the founding of companies, or the sale of products, like we do today. Networking is essential for the development and growth of any business.
Nowadays, networking has undergone radical change. Both individuals and businesses use digital technologies to achieve their goals, promote their products, and generate revenue. Everything is becoming more and more digital, and so is networking.
Trade shows and exhibitions were common networking venues where you could visit the companies of interest, connect with their representatives, discuss market and industry trends, and close deals. However, the events that have shaken the world in the last two years, like the corona crisis, have turned the way people and businesses connect in a new way and have forced us to change our work habits, and blur the lines between digital and personal relationships.
Companies were forced to embark on a digital transformation, sometimes against their will, but this was not necessarily a bad thing. When trade shows and exhibitions could no longer accommodate large crowds, organizers quickly began to digitize their events through webinars, digital conferences, and virtual trade shows.
It's now the reality that a lot of networking starts online. In the past, people might have relied on attending big events or trade fairs to meet potential business contacts, or even going door-to-door trying to secure a meeting or deal. However, those days are over.
There are numerous benefits to using digital technologies for both individuals and businesses, and they are crucial to today's economy.
Think about your LinkedIn profile: when you connect with like-minded individuals or potential clients, you engage with them in a digital landscape that is constantly evolving. Social media is constantly updated with new posts, images, texts, and links. Our desire for instant gratification has changed our consumption habits, making us less patient, better informed, and expecting the best.
Your company's website also provides information to visitors, prospects, and customers 24/7, 365 days a year. Technology enables you to make connections even when you are not in the office or asleep through informative content, blog articles, self-service chatbots, or contact forms.
Webinars and virtual trade shows have also seen a significant increase in the past two years and are now common practice in many industries. Companies recognize the financial benefits of participating in these events compared to traditional in-person events, which can incur significant travel costs (flights, hotels, and restaurants). Online events also have lower costs than traditional events, as there are no physical requirements such as stands and expenses for personnel. In addition, these virtual events can reach a larger audience than traditional trade shows.
Creating a good first impression is crucial, whether you are interacting with someone in person or online. When someone visits your virtual business card, social media, or website, you have a limited amount of time to capture their attention and make an impact. To do this, it is important to tailor your content to your desired audience and ensure that it is professional, relevant, and up-to-date.
When you meet new people now, rather than immediately asking for something, try offering value and establishing a foundation for future opportunities. Show your contacts that you are interested in building and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. A good relationship is worth much more than a quick favor in this new world of networking.
To measure your success, it is helpful to set specific goals, such as making a certain number of new connections each month or reaching out to key people within specific companies. These goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). In addition, choose the tools that will most effectively help you reach your target audience, such as LinkedIn, Xing, Instagram, or Spreadly. But many platforms also have limits, which can sometimes hinder your networking efforts. With Spreadly’s digital business cards, you can provide your network with easy access to your preferred digital channels and selected content, allowing potential customers to connect with you in different ways.
The digital age has transformed the way we form relationships. To successfully build a network in this digital world, it is important to keep up with industry trends, set goals, and use digital tools like Spreadly. By following these guidelines, you can effectively build a network in the digital world.