From receiving thoughtful feedback to finding new business opportunities, a strong professional network can offer a number of advantages for your career. But contrary to popular belief, networking doesn’t only mean seizing every opportunity to make new connections; it requires continuous maintenance and effort in order to build stronger and more valuable relationships. If you’re looking to establish a better network that provides more thriving opportunities, here are some simple tips for growing and maintaining your connections that might help:
Find good online communities
If your goal is to expand your network to similar, like-minded people, joining an online community is a great opportunity. This will allow you to make new connections easily, share information about your professional journey, talk about career goals and milestones, and even receive insightful feedback and necessary support.
There are a number of free and paid-for online communities you can join, from Facebook groups to platforms like Bizzabo and GroupMe. As long as you find the best, most relevant community for your industry and career, these platforms will help you to engage with a wider audience, build more meaningful relationships, and seamlessly expand your professional network.
Polish your LinkedIn profile
Of course, LinkedIn is possibly the most well-known online platform for making professional connections, and for a good reason. This social media network provides the opportunity to easily find new employers, employees, and business partners, but your profile does need to be crafted well if you want to achieve the best results.
For that reason, it’s recommended to update your LinkedIn profile to include any new growth opportunities and advancements in your career, making it a point to focus on incorporating the best, most relevant keywords. Not only will new updates send notifications to your current LinkedIn contacts, thus prompting them to revisit your profile, but good keywords could also encourage new, more meaningful connections.
Streamline your Gmail tactics
Like many professionals, you might be using Gmail to share any career news and updates, talk about your future goals and plans, check in with your current network, or even introduce yourself to a wider audience. Being among the most popular and widely used email clients, Gmail is a great option for maintaining your network, but it can present some challenges once your contact list begins to grow.
In that case, using an efficient Gmail CRM tool can be a brilliant solution. By allowing you to create a centralized and more organized contact base, such a helpful tool will give you and your team the opportunity to effortlessly access and share contacts from any device, thus streamlining your Gmail networking tactics.
Plan some video conferences
Aside from email campaigns and online communities, face-to-face conversations are still crucial for building strong relationships in a way that simply isn’t possible otherwise. If you can’t schedule in-person meetings, whether it’s due to busy itineraries or pandemic restrictions, planning video conference calls is another brilliant networking solution.
For professional and effective video calls, make sure you have a reliable internet connection and software you’re already familiar with, in an effort to avoid any unpleasantries during meetings. Video conferencing can provide a number of benefits, from workplace camaraderie to team collaboration, but possibly the best advantage is growing and maintaining your network without the need for frequent travel or physical, face-to-face conversations.
Remember to keep in touch
No matter how you meet your new contacts, it’s important to remember that networking is never a one-and-done deal. Rather than only getting in touch with individuals when you need something from them, your goal should be to create a deeper connection and a more meaningful and sustainable relationship.
To that end, make it a point to stay in touch with every contact you meet, assuming there’s already a bond to be maintained, whether it’s through social media profiles, check-in emails, or even phone calls and meetings. While maintaining relationships will require additional effort, it will also allow you to establish yourself as a more earnest and trustworthy professional, instead of an opportunist.
Evidently, growing a professional network isn’t quite as difficult as it might initially seem. However, additional time and effort are needed in order to maintain your connections and create new career opportunities.