The coronavirus pandemic has not only struck widespread fear about people’s health, but also the future of the economy. Unfortunately, small business owners will bear the brunt of the economic disease. If you own a restaurant, bar, or fitness center, you’re probably feeling the sting. Many business owners are turning to Zoom and take-out services to supplement their income until storefronts open again. It could be a while…
For service-oriented business owners, like myself, networking events have been cancelled. These meaningful gatherings are essential to gain connections and get clients. But don’t fear! There are outside-of-the box methods to network.
Thinking of everyone like me, I’ve done some research. Below, I’ve outlined virtual networking tools that can help you maintain momentum with your business when meeting in person is difficult, if not impossible.
Update your LinkedIn page. I admit… I am lazy with LinkedIn. I have a personal profile and a business profile. However, I don’t post on either as much as I should. That’s about to change for me. I highly recommend you try it too. It’s time to make this a priority.
Through LinkedIn, you can have a business and personal page. On your business page, you’re able to post content, add a business description, contact information, link to your website, and a logo and banner.
Stumped on content to add to your business page? Start with blog posts on your website. You can also add videos, photos, or other informational articles. Share your post business to your personal page to increase exposure. Sharing also makes the content you post more visible on your connections’ news feeds. Talk about free marketing! To build reputability, ask LinkedIn connections that you’ve worked with for reviews, endorsements, and testimonials.
LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool because it allows you to share updated business information, your resume, and professional summary, with business leaders around the world. Even though we can’t attend networking events currently, you can use LinkedIn to contact your target market. Don’t hesitate to message users directly to offer your help and services.
Alignable is an online network where small business owners can drive leads and connect with existing clients. Alignable is similar to LinkedIn, but focused on building connections locally. The goal of Alignable is to “generate referrals, land new business, build trusted relationships, and share great advice.” The networking platform was launched in 2014. The aesthetics, usability, and forums can be hugely beneficial when connecting in person is difficult.
On the Alignable page, you’re able to share your business description, contact information, logo, collect recommendations, and list your services. During this time when we’ve been asked to stay home and limit contact with others, I highly recommend reaching out to clients with ways you can help and, for their recommendation. After you receive five recommendations, you receive the Alignable badge of Highly Recommended.
I prefer Alignable over LinkedIn because most of my clients are local. The user-friendly design, and forum are easy to use and navigate. Answering forum questions with detailed answers allows you to promote your services while providing insight to the community. Digital marketing questions are some of the most common of Alignable’s forums.
You’re probably confused right now. You’re not alone.
We’re supposed to stay at home! How can we go to Meet-Ups?
You can’t physically attend a Meet-Up but, you can virtually! Many Meet-Up organizers are offering Zoom sessions where we’re still able to connect with members of the community. The sessions are entirely on video and we’re still able to listen and present ideas. As a digital marketer, I’ve seen countless meet-ups related to website design and SEO transition to Zoom. No germs included.
This is a stressful time across the world. You are not alone. In many countries, restaurants, bars, gyms, events, and even schools have been shut down. Like everything, this will pass. We have to make the best of it. Technology has enabled us to connect with our friends and families virtually. Let’s take advantage of this time of isolation to stay connected and treat it as a learning experience to grow our businesses in a digital world.