In this day and age of technology, face-to-face meeting makes all the difference. Yet, your typical day may be overloaded with tasks and meetings and you find yourself completely out of the networking world because you don’t have time to attend the events. That’s where online networking comes in handy. You can join one business networking site (or more) and access the information and contacts at your own phase. Exchanging messages with other members will not require an immediate response either. The key here is consistency. Evaluate your time and figure out how often you can be engaged on the platform. It can replace your Facebook browsing, for instance, or you can check it while commuting.
Another huge advantage of the online networking opportunities is unlimited access to the people and knowledge from all over the world.
Let’s look at some more platforms that may be helpful to expand your network, gain necessary connections and boost your business.
XING is a European competitor of the American platform LinkedIn. It offers plenty of features for business and career focused individuals and companies, from job search to in-person events’ organization. It is all about creating a small-world feel among its members. You can create your own profile/resume, join discussions and groups of interest and more. It is free to join and unless you want the access to additional features there is a fee (between €7 -€10). XING’s local events are powered by their Ambassador’s program that they have in different regions and cities. Great way to combine the advantages of both virtual and personal worlds!
Viadeo is another European networking site that is similar to XING. It offers free basic memberships and upgrades to individuals and corporate for additional fees. Based in Paris, the company established themselves strongly in the markets across the globe and offer a wide network of people you may be interested in tapping into. They currently have 720 000 members and counting.
The portal combines job-search, networking and learning opportunities all in one site or a mobile app.
Small Giants took a standard networking format and brought it online. You join a virtual peer group that offers a monthly 90-minute online group meeting with a carefully developed curriculum. They also organize so-called Fishbowls – discussion-based webinars led by an expert-member. Besides that, you get access to valuable content, discussions, and experience of other members to help you run your business successfully. We don’t always have to learn on our own mistakes, right?
Small Giants’ goal is to create a space for leaders in the form of online business group. It is a useful platform if you are looking for mentorship, resources, and connection in the business world. The membership is $1,500 per person, per year and they welcome founders, CEO’s, and senior leaders from companies of any size.
BoardEx represents a rather unique perspective on networking. Have you ever heard about Relationship Capital? It is the sum of the connections an organization has with the marketplace, both directly and indirectly. The total relationship capital of an organization is extremely unstable. It depends on both company employees (who come and go) and key external contacts (who may change roles). It is really hard to keep track of all these relationships, but it is vital for the long-term company development.
BoardEx helps you Aggregate the entire relationship capital of your company and produce a list of second and third connections that will be critical to the growth by giving access to their up-to-date leadership database. The service is used by financial, law, HR firms and other organizations. The cost for the services in 2015 was $35K/year for all regions or $18K/year for the US.
With the power of the internet to connect people all over the world, online networking is not a thing of a future anymore. It is happening right here and right now and it is important that you take advantage of it in the form that is the most convenient for you and your company.