Technology is revolutionizing networking every day. To leap the best from your network you have to look at it as relationships building process rather than ‘what’s in for me?’ Leveraging technology to build relationships has been proven to yield trust within the network and ultimately the best leads. LinkedIn is one of the platforms where you can build your network.
Here's what entrepreneurs had to say about the effect of technology on networking.
#1- Maintains connections
It’s hard to think of networking without technology anymore. Having my phone to be vital in maintaining connections. I never lose business cards anymore because I get a picture of them when I meet someone (how green of me!). It’s also great to send texts to people when we finish our conversations. Minutes and notes are instantly delivered while they are fresh in our minds. It’s also easy to research a common idea or connection in real time as we build relationships. This just about offsets the challenge of maintaining a strong professional digital presence on LinkedIn and other social media platforms so that people can find me to make these key connections.
Thanks to Tiiu Lutter, ExpertInsuranceReviews.com!
#2- Boundaries are no longer limitations
Communication technology has revolutionized the networking process. It has made it easy for us to extend our professional network by collaborating worldwide with like-minded professionals and tracking the workflow easily. Boundaries are not limitations anymore. We can reach out to business people and entrepreneurs anytime to discuss new ideas and develop an excellent professional relationship. Advance project management systems for collaboration between employees has improved workflow and efficiency. It became easy to monitor all the activities with a few clicks. It has removed a massive human resource from the communications equation and made the process more transparent than ever.
Thanks to Daniel Demoss, Dumbbell Reviews!
#3- Supplements networking
Technology is a supplement, not a replacement, for in-person networking. Social media sites like Linkedin can serve as a way to stay connected after meeting someone in person, or establishing that first in-person meeting, but should not take the place as the sole place where the relationship exists. In-person connection, reading nonverbal cues and sharing a meal or beverage will set you apart from the sea of possible connections one can
Thanks to Stephanie Thoma
#4- Can be distractive
Most of my business comes from networking and technology can be a distraction if you are not careful. My rule is that you should network in person during the business day and do it online after hours. People do business with people they know, like and trust so you have to get out there to build your reputation online and off and work hard to build a strong network which are the best ways to set yourself up for success. I think it is a mistake to hide behind technology and CRM systems when prospecting. My advice is to disconnect from technology and focus on cultivating human, face to face relationships. Meeting for coffee or lunch can accomplish so much more than e-mail exchanges, social media posts, etc. and it is a great way to get to know people better, their interests, hobbies, and dreams. I have found that building relationships is what drives my business and technology supports them once they are solidified. Technology helps advance the conversation but it will never replace the human interaction that builds trust over time.
Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!
#5- Made it easier and automatic
I remember going to hotel bars for networking events. You don't know anyone, it was pretty terrible unless you are super-outgoing. Technology has brought some great tools to make networking easier and automatic. With social networks, you can learn about people before meeting them at networking events. This allows you to align your common-ground with them, and you can learn if they are a good fit for your company. You can also look them up after networking and really make for a customized follow-up.
Thanks to Josh Ladick, GSA Focus!
#6- Improves efficiency and finding quality leads
Finding success at a networking event is all about being efficient and finding quality leads. Technology can help you do both. Integrating the use of technology within our sales strategy has streamlined our entire team's approach to networking. Thanks to modern smartphones and lead nurturing tools like Pardot and our Salesforce CRM, we have access to a wide range of valuable leads in the palm of our hand. We can instantly gain a quick insight into the event's attendees and efficiently utilize that information to converse with the right people. We also can place leads straight into our sales funnel, measure the value of that lead, and arrange a follow-up a meeting immediately in outlook, all through our cell phone.
Thanks to Michael Green, Nelson Frank!
#7- Easier connections with the right persons
If you are job hunting, it’s almost a guarantee that you’ve heard somebody utter the words “It’s all about who you know…” to you. That is true to a somewhat significant degree. While ultimately your skills and experience will take you a long way, sometimes it can be tough to get yourself the exposure to demonstrate those skills and experience unless you know somebody in the industry. That hasn't changed with technology evolving at a rapid rate. However, the reach one can potentially have in their network extends much further than it used to. The web of connections built can branch off in many different directions now with resources like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, etc. helping you build your network. It’s much easier to get connected with a relevant person in your industry, particularly more niche industries. Now, there is a caveat with this abundance of connections. Quality filtering becomes slightly more difficult when determining who is a truly beneficial connection. The field of potential candidates to network with can feel saturated at times.
Thanks to Matt Edstrom, GoodLife Home Loans!
#8- Better conversations
Conversations are the basic unit of human connection– use your tools to help you have more, better conversations. Social networks are the fast food of human interaction– fast and easy, but not very nourishing. Use your tool(s) to keep track of referral business, remind you when to follow up with people so you never let a relationship just dry up, and store notes so you can recall details that matter to the people you know, including introductions you can make to help them. Technology should facilitate networking, not replace it.
Thanks to Reuben Swartz, Mimiran!
#9- Easier reporting
Artificial Intelligence, particularly Machine Learning, is allowing modern networks to use deep insights into the many different aspects of networking. Whether it is financial efficiency or optimizing performance, the ability to analyse these patterns thanks to AI will have a profound impact on networking. Machine Learning is even able to pattern-match, which is set to be used to find abnormalities in networks which could well have been overlooked otherwise. Activities that break regular patterns will be much easier to report on thanks to the implementation of AI in network management.
Thanks to Guy Novik, Orlando Villa Holidays!
#10- Three ways
I've created partnerships for my business by reaching out to manufacturers and distributors across the globe. The fact that both I and the person I'm reaching out to generally have social proof in the form of online profiles and testimonials helps form these partnerships. 2. Whenever we have job openings, *the strongest candidates who end up getting hired are those who reach out to me directly and converse with me online. These candidates tend to have the strongest technical skills and have a great cultural fit with our teams as well. 3. It's important to keep in mind that my strongest connections and closest friends are still those who I've met in-person and usually at least worked on one project with. Technology helps us make connections, but we have to cement those connections by sharing some time, and ideally, some life experiences with them.
Thanks to Paul Farmer, Riverwood Cabins!
#11- Professional growth
Some of the best connections I’ve ever made have been from digital networking – both before and after the rise of social media as we know it. I’ve met clients, business partners, vendors, and even just generally good contacts through what might be seen as non-traditional methods. Message boards, chat rooms, forums, and now today Facebook groups have been huge contributors to my success I would say, significantly more so than traditional networking meetups, trade shows, and events. Some of those have come from joking around and being very informal in these groups. Twitter conversations with people I’ve never met have been strong and I would even say Twitter has been significantly better for me professionally than LinkedIn.
Thanks to John Monarch, ShipChain!
#12- Expands your realm of possibilities
As a business owner, technology has intensified networking in the business space. Everyone is just a LinkedIn message away, and you can always find a way to follow up with someone you have networked with in-person at an event. It is no longer important to have networks nearby, you need networks in different parts of the world which is made possible and instantaneous through technology. Networking through technology expands your realm of possibilities for speakers at events, or potential new employees from overseas. Through video calling in particular, instead of solely networking over texts, you can address the body language and tone of the person you are networking with.
Thanks to James Norquay, Prosperity Media Group!
#13- Easier to establish credibility
Technology has allowed introverts to network more easily by having a screen in between you and the person you are meeting. I have a boutique digital marketing agency and about 50% of my business comes through online network groups on various social media platforms. As long as you have a strong website and social profiles, it might even be easier to establish credibility because of tech as opposed to traditional networking.
Thanks to Jasmin Salazar, CollaboRave!
#14-Improvement in learning
Networking is all about leveraging relationships. Technology does not take the place of eyeball-to-eyeball, or voice-to-voice, but can speed things along. Getting to know about someone, or multiple people, via LinkedIn, Instagram and/or Facebook is highly efficient. I like to learn the basics via technology, so I can make best use of my time in person or on the phone where I can quickly dive deep.
Thanks to Michael Shapot, Esq.