While it is a little more challenging to build relationships that will turn into referrals and new clients today due to social distancing, it is not impossible by any means. It just requires us to pivot what we were doing before the pandemic (taking clients and prospects to lunch or events, going to in-person networking events and conferences) and conducting most of our networking and brand building online or by phone. It involves shifting to doing more thought leadership and relying on social media and webinars.
When done correctly, these tools can help you cast an even wider net on your marketing and business development efforts than before due to the vast reach of the social platforms. Your goal is to stay top of mind and to be helpful. That’s it. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate these tools into your marketing and business development strategy and turn your connections into new business.
- Build online rapport and relationships by following people you admire on Twitter, retweeting their content, liking and commenting on their statuses. Do the same on LinkedIn with their content and status updates. Supporting others helps you build a strong network.
- If you are on a group Zoom happy hour or networking event, screenshot the participant list so you can connect with each person afterwards on LinkedIn.
- Groups are a great way to expand your network on LinkedIn. They have gained traction since the pandemic and give you access to many other business professionals who are interested in the same topics as you.
- The Advanced Search tool on LinkedIn is another great way to strategically expand your network. Use LinkedIn filters to search by keyword, for example, job title, location, company, school and Premium LinkedIn accounts enable you to conduct more searches, search parameters and saved searches; however, you still can get some of these benefits with a free LinkedIn account.
- Staying top of mind is the key to success on LinkedIn. Provide status updates on a regular basis. It keeps you visible to the people in your network.
- Like and comment on LinkedIn posts that you think are valuable and share the posts with your connections and in your groups.
- Curate content from news sources you trust – this is a great way to ease the burden on having to create a piece of content. You can instead scour news sources such as Forbes, Fortune, the Harvard Business Review, Fast Company or the Huffington Post and add introductory content saying why you think it is valuable and expressing your point of view about the piece you’re sharing.
- Regularly write content that is valuable to your connections and share it on social media with brief introductory text on why they should read it. Consider highlighting a few key points in your synopsis to catch their attention and always use an eye-catching visual to accompany your post.
- Be generous – like and share others’ posts and congratulate others on their successes, especially your VIP connections. While they may not be ready to hire you at this moment, they will likely be in that position in the future. When they reach that point, you will be top of mind.