5 Networking Tips to Help You Build Business Relationships as a Remote Worker
Working from home (WFH) is no longer a new trend. Some reports even say that it’s here to stay.
According to Pew Research Center, many choose remote work as it makes balancing work and life easier. Further, WFH allows them to work efficiently and meet deadlines easier.
But WFH doesn’t mean you cut off all connections with people. Remember building professional networks is vital even when you work from home. They open new job opportunities and keep you informed of business and industry changes.
So whether you’re working remotely or seeking a remote job, finding ways to build business networks is a must.
Here are the five remote networking tips that help you connect with other professionals effectively while working from home.
1. Attend Online Events
Don’t skip virtual events if you want to connect with coworkers or expand the chance to get desired jobs.
You can leverage online platforms like Eventbrite, Facebook Events, or Google Developers to check out upcoming events in your industry. These platforms require registering for an account if you wish to participate.
Online industry webinars and trade shows allow the audience to learn about industry trends from thought leaders. Also, those events provide remote workers and business leaders with mutual benefits:
- Business leaders can access a talent pool where they can focus on hiring suitable candidates for their projects.
- Remote workers can meet like-minded fellows or business leaders besides gaining new knowledge. Thus, they can have a chance to showcase their talents and connect with other professionals.
Sometimes you may find it tricky to navigate online events and make your presence felt. These events won’t let you walk around to talk with leaders in person and show them your business cards. So our advice is to be proactive if you want to build desired social circles.
There are many ways to actively connect with other participants.
First, join any virtual communities on social media (e.g., Facebook or Slack) related to an event. You can share ideas about its main theme, leave comments, and reach out to like-minded attendees.
Second, if the event already offers the attendee and speaker list, actively connect with those you find interesting on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Finally, register for online “breakout rooms” or smaller discussions. Breakout rooms are sessions where the event host will divide participants into smaller groups for brainstorming or discussions. You can leverage those sessions to speak up and let others know you better.
Virtual events are great for remote networking with companies. In turn, business leaders attending the events can understand your potential better than just looking at your online profile.
2. Leverage Linkedin and Other Social Platforms
Remote working reduces the chance of meeting coworkers or business partners in person. So, don’t ignore LinkedIn and other social platforms to develop business and social networking while working from home.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, which connects experts across all industries. On LinkedIn, companies can easily look for talent, while applicants can directly connect with potential employers.
But if you want to make a good impression on companies, optimize your LinkedIn profile beforehand. To do so, you should choose the right picture and background image, optimize the headline, avoid buzzwords, and show the projects you’ve worked on and are proud of. This will make your profile stand out, making it easier for other people in your field to want to connect with you.
You can also expand professional networking on LinkedIn by proactively interacting with experts in your industry. You can engage with their posts through comments, for example.
Don’t ignore professional LinkedIn, Facebook, or Slack groups. They are playgrounds for industry experts and business leaders to share words and look for talented candidates. Whether you’re a remote assistant or freelance developer, joining these groups helps you approach potential clients or even business partners with ease.
Take, for example, Pyslackers, a Slack community for Python programmers:
Remember to personalize your messages when you decide to contact businesses. Tell them who you are, how you knew them, why you wish to connect with them, and the value you can offer them. Answering these questions helps you make a good impression and build business connections easier.
3. Join Online Classes
You can enroll in free and paid online courses to improve your expertise and skills. Some online academies like Hubspot, edX, and Coursera provide certificates to improve your freelance resume. But it’s not the only benefit of online classes. Like they say, creating an online course comes with it’s own set of pros and cons.
While joining a virtual course, you can develop new relationships with those who have the same interests. Online learning websites build a community with discussion forums where you can share ideas after each module.
Further, you can find, follow, and message learners you want to connect with. One of them may become your business partner in the future.
4. Create an Online Community
Most of the remote networking ideas in this list require you to actively connect with experts or recruiters. The ideas needs to be given a crisp background and made into a great Linkedin post. But what if you create an online community to let others reach out to you? This helps to market yourself effectively by sharing your expertise.
There are many ways to build an online community. You can start with a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast. Or you may consider community building on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn).
Below are some key questions to help you build a thriving community:
- What is your main goal in building an online community?
- Who are the key stakeholders of the community?
- Who are your ideal members?
- What is the best platform to build a community?
- Does the community give members an experience they’ve never had before? How do they feel while joining your community? Consider your member persona to develop a community that attracts and retains target members. Also, you can design pending member questions to understand members better.
- Is there any rule or norm to abide by?
- How do you manage the community and keep the members engaged?
- Do you plan to promote the community through influencers, ads, and guest posts?
Let’s look at an example below. John Horsley, CEO of Demand Exchange, built a digital marketing community on LinkedIn. This group set a clear goal, letting members discuss marketing topics and trends given by industry experts. This community has over 2M members!
Building a robust online community is an excellent way to boost your profile. It helps others understand your expertise and values, allowing you to develop professional connections with fellow industry experts and have more avenues for business partnerships later.
5. Connect with Alumni
The final tip is to connect with your school’s alums.
Many schools have alumni groups for career networking, mentorship, and more. You should leverage these groups to build a professional network with other alumni.
Also, you can reach out to your school’s alumni by accessing the Alumni section on your school’s LinkedIn page. Then find out where the alumni work and their roles or skills. Then, find the people you may be in the same industry with and connect with them.
Below is an example of Columbia University’s alumni page:
LinkedIn also lists all alumni in the industry you care about. Look through the list and find out who you want to connect with.
You can send your alumni a personal message that clarifies who you are. Then, depending on your goal, you can politely ask them for internal referrals to their company’s personnel managers. Or you may search for chances to cooperate with them in future business projects.
Working from home shouldn’t put a stop to networking. You can still connect with other professionals through remote networking. This is vital in keeping yourself updated with the latest industry trends. It can also open new opportunities for better jobs or business ventures.
To connect with business partners and experts, attend online events and courses that interest you.
The booming of social platforms like LinkedIn also allows you to contact alumni and specialists easier. So don’t ignore these channels if you want to build meaningful connections with the right people. Besides, you can create an online community to attract like-minded people.
Don’t use only one technique to develop a business network as a remote worker. Instead, you should combine all the best ideas to optimize your networking chances.
Bio: Mackenzie Lepretre is currently the Director of Operations at FreeUp Marketplace, a top-rated marketplace for businesses to find and connect with the best remote professionals. She has worked with freelancers and run freelance teams for 5+ years.