I recently had an interview to be a social media specialist and this question actually came up. The lady doing the interview emphasized how important it was to her that we network online. Just like our notes say, more and more people are online today, and gone are the days (especially for at least the next few weeks, if you live in Ontario…) of in person networking, so we have to concentrate on online networking. Fortunately, tools like messenger, facetime, zoom, etc. are at our fingertips. I also feel like new tools and technology will always be surfacing and I am excited to see what people come up with.
If hired for this position (keep your fingers crossed!) I plan on reaching out via e-mail to past colleagues of mine, or sending them messages through facebook messenger to touch base and possibly talk about collaborating and/or pointing me in the direction of more people I can talk with. I would also start posting Instagram and Facebook call to action stories, tagging some of these friends and colleagues in stories to peak some interest in hopes that they will reach out and we can start chatting about future projects to collaborate on.
As for my personal blog and Instagram for Love Learning a Mom’s Journey, I plan to reach out to more moms and talk about going live with them. It’s so much fun and definitely gets some attention. I am also going to share, like and comment on more posts that I see in my feed that relate to my brand. The more love you give, the more love you will get in return.
On Friday, February 26th I attended the Monthly Networking Event for Women Entrepreneurs, put on by WeCan Network. WeCan Network was founded in Calgary, Alberta and is a space for women entrepreneurs to network and come together to share business ideas (WeCan, n.d.). I chose this event since it was for women in business and specifically in Canada. It was a great place to meet like-minded people and begin breaking out of my shell and networking.
This event was hosted by Zulfira Pulotova who is the WeCan Founder. I also had the opportunity to meet four other wonderful women. I met Chelse who has her own plant-based manufacturing company in Rhode Island, I thought it was neat to meet her since she was from the states and we had the opportunity to talk about the differences in business between the two countries. I also met Mila who, like me was there to do some general networking and get to know other women in business. The third person I met was Holy who currently works for the city of Calgary, and finally Alga who works in Alberta’s education centre. Since we were such a small group, we all had several opportunities to speak and ask each other questions. It was very different than any in-person networking event I have attended, but I really enjoyed it.
A few things I learned at this event was how to find funding for starting a new business, specifically government grants. Something that I learned more specifically is that MasterCard has a foundation for business grants. I thought this was very interesting and something I may begin to look into further.
Something that I was able to contribute to the interaction was that I could provide some knowledge on using social media in business. Holy specifically asked me about how she could use Twitter for her business. I was able to provide her some guidance and answer a few of her marketing questions.
Some ideas I have walked away from that event with are some tips on your business’ elevator pitch. Zulfira reminded us to practice our pitch often and memorize it well. She also mentioned that while it is hard to talk about ourselves, and often sounds like we are bragging, it is so important to do it when selling our brand and networking. I thought these pieces of advice were very helpful and something I will be focusing on for myself.
One quote from the event that really stood out to me was:
Who do you want to show up as? Build your brand and pitch around that.
I will definitely be attending a similar event in the future. My goal is to attend one networking event every quarter throughout the year. WeCan actually offers networking events on the last Friday of each month, so I may start attending more frequently if possible. I would like to attend more to help me overcome my shyness and network better. I specifically liked being with other women in business. I think the really great part of having such a small group together was that we all added each other on LinkedIn before we parted ways. Furthermore, there is a closed Facebook group that we have now all been invited to join to stay in touch, hear about other networking events, and learn more business tips along the way!
When I was in my last year of college, one of my classes was to put on a networking event, invite professionals, and then network. I was so excited to put this event on (it’s probably why I got into event planning as a career). Then the night finally arrived, I was dressed up and ready to go, once we arrived, the nerves hit me – walking around a room, not really knowing anyone, making conversations with strangers in a professional way – my stomach was in knots. I think most of my classmates felt the same, for almost all of us it was the first time we had really networked. Needless to say, I survived, and it ended up being a pretty great night, and I learned such a great skill.
Now with the advancements of social media, networking can be done from the comfort of your home, while still making valuable connections. It is a great way to meet people in your industry from around the world.
My parent strategy for developing my professional network online is to become more active and involved in groups relative to my industry. As an event planner, I have joined several LinkedIn and Facebook groups dedicated to the event industry. For many months I have lingered, read posts, and followed along on some discussion. I will now start becoming more active on a consistent basis. I will be involved in the discussions, contribute my own ideas, and listen and reply the other professionals around me. I have also started revamping my LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages to give them a professional facelift, and update all my relative information. Last summer I began the event planning blog, From Setup to Cleanup, part of my plan is to revamp the blog site and begin blogging on a bi-weekly basis. This will provide good content for my social media platforms and also help show my skills to those in the same industry.
Once Covid-19 allows us to gather in groups and attend events again, my parent strategy for developing my professional in-person networks is to start attending more events in the Event Planning field. I have always had a fear of in-person networking, but over the past few years I have become a lot more confident in myself and my skills, so I believe I am ready to start showcasing them in the in-person world. I have even started teaching Lunch & Learn workshops – these are all gifts I can showcase and offer to my wider networks.
Plan to Develop my Networks
While it is easy to say I am going to start networking online and in person, it will never happen without a solid plan. So here is my 6-month timeline:
Continue listening in the networking groups on social media to find some interesting topics of discussion.
Gather research as necessary.
Update my social media pages with a professional facelift.
Make 1 post on 3 different social media networking pages
Reply to at least 5 other discussions.
Revamp my blog and make my first (new) post.
Share my first (new) blog post on all my social media platforms.
Research some webinars I can attend online to network and/or increase my knowledge
Attend at least one virtual event.
Make at least 2 posts on 3 different social media networking pages.
Reply and discuss to at least 5 other discussions on different networking pages.
Continue to research and listen to other for new ideas.
Attend at least 2 webinars/virtual networking events this month.
Begin to share my blog to a wider community.
Actively engage in several discussions in my networks.
Begin to research in-person networking events I can attend in the next 6-12 months as Covid-19 allows.
If possible, make plans/purchase tickets to at least one networking event.
Continue to post to my blog.
Continue to engage on social media networks.
Share my blog within my new networks.
Offer a Lunch & Learn workshop to my new networks in Fall 2021 – begin promoting now.
Research new ways to interact or launch new social sites.
What are your networking strategies? Tell me about them in the comments below!
In the new year, I want to launch my own social media business. So networking will and must be a big part of my marketing strategy in the next few months.
In anticipation of that I have already joined local entrepreneur Facebook groups where I am going to put my focus on in the next few months.
Especially now that we are facing Covid-19, my networking will be mostly online in the next few months. I am going to try my best to network in person as well, but since I’m immune-compromised I have to extra careful.
I plan to be more present in the (local) Facebook groups that I mentioned, to introduce myself and my business and to comment, ask questions and to answer questions. I want to give more to those groups than I want to take. And I plan on building relationships with some of the people in those groups and I hope to get some meaningful connections and to also further my business through that.
What options can you recommend for online networking? Let me know in the comments.
Networking is key to professional success. In addition to getting to know people who may offer you a job or refer you to someone who is offering one, networking also makes you stand out, opens the door for new opportunities, boosts your intellect and creativity, adds to your self-confidence, and gives you access to information that can help you succeed (Cole, 2019).
Doing nothing not an option
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have effectively put the job of expanding my professional network on hold. I am still active on LinkedIn and Twitter, the two social media channels that I use mainly for networking purposes. However, I do not make professional connections or promote myself on these platforms as actively as used to.
I understand that by doing nothing, I am losing a lot of opportunities. As one author puts it, “if you’re not networking, you’re not working” (Fasih, 2014).
Here is what I am planning to do in the next 12 months to build up my professional networks.
September – December 2020
During the next four months, I will work on ensuring that people see me online the way I want to come across. Social media provide the most effective platform for building and communicating one’s personal brand (Algonquin College, n.d.).
So, I will start by making sure that all the social media accounts I have tell my story the way I want it to be told. I will post content and engage people in a way that will show that I am aware of and interested in what is happening in my industry. I will also comment on content shared by more prominent people in the industry and offer insights to demonstrate that I know what I am talking about and can add value to any project.
January – April 2021
The next phase will focus on building connections with people who can offer me professional advise, provide insights about organizations I am targeting in my job search, and introduce me to people in these organizations.
I will start by putting together a list of people I want to connect to and a list of organizations I am interested in working for. I will, then, connect with people from the first list – either through other people who are already in my professional network or by sending them LinkedIn messages and invitations to connect. I will also start making connections with people working in organizations from my second list.
May – August 2021
The final four months of my networking plan will focus on meeting key people from my expanded network in-person. I will be aiming at meeting people who can help me make the next major step in my career – either by referring me to managers who have positions to fill in the organizations I am targeting or by giving me insights about these organizations.
I will also start giving back to the community by connecting with professionals who are just entering the industry to offer them professional tips, mentorship opportunities, and access to my network.
What do you think of my networking plan? Do you have any recommendations on what I can improve in this plan? Let me know in the comments below.
In writing this blog, I have used and cited the following sources:
As a photographer (working for federal government) I also have my side business and I understand what’s involved in the challenge of managing your own enterprise.
When I started this Social Media Course about a year and a half ago, I felt that Social Media and Photography would be a great complement to each other. I also knew that I wanted to eventually work on a plan for the Martial Art School I am attending. It is a small local business with an owner who comes from Venezuela and since I joined only a couple months following the opening, I get to witness the progress of his academy as one of the first adults in the group. I regularly have discussions with the owner about his school and processes, whether it concerns physical renovations or social medias posts and recruiting, etc.
Creating a social media plan and especially the SWOT analysis for a business that is outside my field (photography) and comparing its performance to other schools in the area was something that allowed me to analyze somehow outside my comfort zone.
I realized that I was really enjoying having an input into his growing business. Integrating Networking + Social Media + Business/marketing turned out to be very interesting. It felt as if everything was falling into place. Just the way I felt Social Media and Photography would complement each other. I think that, moving forward, I will be seeking some courses in marketing, as this is probably the missing piece of the puzzle.
At some point in my military career I was an official photographer for a VIP. During this time, I had the extreme opportunity to work and travel alongside some of the best news photographers in Canada and abroad.
Knowing that this assignment was only temporary, I was preparing the next phase in my career and I needed to work on a Plan B. I decided to register my business as a photographer and started to compare my workflow with what the other photographers were doing.
Prime minister Swearing In ceremony, November 2015 – Photo by Justin Tang
In order to gain access to their incredible knowledge, I had to extend my hand out, introduce myself, observe how they were working, ask questions and most of all, try my best to return the favor and I would even take some pictures of them while working some of the historic stories we had the pleasure of covering. Make friends. That was my strategy. And it worked.
Fortunately it was during the time that Facebook and Instagram were becoming popular so that helped me connect with them on the longer term. I have since continued to pick on their brain from time to time but the best of all is that I managed to follow their incredible work, daily.
Regardless of the network I am trying to create, online or in person, this is the strategy I would adopt in order to grow my own network:
Try my best to give back,
Stay in touch,
It has since become a habit to look around to see what my colleagues are doing and how I can connect them. I believe that once you have added this to your routine it just becomes second nature. I don’t believe much in competition; after all, we are never going to run out of light…
In the near future, I plan on growing my network by connecting with other colleagues within government to see how they manage Social Medias in their department. I will of course start with our own then go from there.
Would you know someone with a photography background that work in social media?
What is networking anyway? Well it is a skill set. It is a way to make personal connections with people. These people can support you in your professional endeavours. It is also a two way connection. It is mutually beneficial. It is about building relationships.
Gif by giphy.com
My strategy going forward
I want to focus more on my writing and the connections I need to make that happen. In the past, I never understood how much it takes to be a successful writer. I definitely didn’t understand networking and how important it is. I put my writing in a corner. It kept calling to me, screaming at me . So finally, I decided to either put it away for good, or give it my best effort and see if I have what it takes to make this work. So now I am back at the writing, and back to figuring out how this all works. I have made connections with other writers and writing people. I have started to figure out that it takes a village for anything like this to have any kind of chance. I’ve found writing groups. I’m working on finding Beta readers that exchange ideas and stories. I recently connected with an editor who tore my manuscript apart. But he was honest and actually liked the story. I am loving every minute of it. This is what I was missing before. The nitty gritty of the writing world. I’m reaching out to bloggers who read and writer reviews for the pure joy of reading. I;m planning marketing strategies for when my book is polished. I’m researching agents and connecting with them through social media. I have a plan. I am focused. I’m moving forward.
Activities and commitments for the next 6-12 months
My main goal for the next year, other than finishing my book, is to attend a couple of writing conferences. I have done a couple in the past, but didn’t do a lot of networking at them. I attended, I listened, I participated. But I didn’t network. I kick myself in the butt for this one connection I made with a popular writer who seemed interested in my work. I didn’t follow up! I know crazy. I didn’t understand this whole world. Now I do. So I’m starting over. Polishing my credentials, learning how to promote myself, gaining confidence. I’m ready. I’m eager. I am going to do this!
How about you? Any future writers/agents/publishers out there that want to connect? What are your future goals?
It is crazy how much a
click of a button can accomplish, allowing you to interact with your audience
without being present. Companies are able to make a single post, and increase
their growth, and make profits in just minutes.
Ashley Carman, a journalist for The Verge, writes her article Instagram now has 1 billion users worldwide.
She discusses the rapid growth Instagram has accumulated in 2018 after their in-office
announcement of hitting 1billon active users.
This allows large or smaller companies to take full advantage of these growths for their own improvement and development. Companies can increase attraction to their pages and bring awareness with simple interactive media posts.
There are many different ways Instagram allows you to interact and
connect with your followers:
There are many ways
you can use tags, from tagging other people, trending hashtags, or getting people
to tag their friends in different contests. Instagram gives you man options for
using tags, depending how you use it to your advantage. Hashtag’s have always
been a key component for bringing awareness to a central topic, but recently brands
have come up with new tactics that have proven to bring in more traffic.
Contests have been trending through people’s timelines,
getting people to tag friends, like their photo, follow their page, like their
page, or even repost them for a chance to win a prize. Normally people are not
willing to take their time unless it is for a cause, so this helps push people
to promote your brand for you while you sit back and all you had to do is make
a single post.
is great if you are wanting to share something with your followers that you are
not able to on Instagram; whether it be selling merchandise, a link to your
newest video, or a link to your blog, you are able to link anything you would
like that would interest you followers. It allows you to post a summary or idea
on your story and your followers can decide whether they are willing to take
the time to swipe up or skip by.
Recently I noticed personal bloggers re-posting their pictures to their story and have a swipe up link to the photo posted on their Instagram, using this strategy to gain more traction and likes to build their brand!
Make a Poll
Making polls is not so much for increasing traction but it does help you understand your followers and consumers. This option allows brands to take the time to see what their followers and consumers are looking for, for example: A company cannot decide if they want to launch their new product in blue or green… well with only a few clicks, the company is able to create a poll to allow their consumers to decide for them. Based off the results they can successfully create items they know their customers would enjoy.
Ask for Feedback
Feedback is a huge factor for all companies, involving Instagram of not,
your feedback from your clients is the most important thing of any company
because that shapes your reputation as a brand. Instagram now allows people to
post a question or a statement and people are able to reply and voice their opinion
to the person, brand or company and it can be completely anonymous.
Collab with Influencers
Now this is the BIGGEST tactic most larger brands use, this would not be
considered free either. Companies pay influences hundreds to thousands of
dollars to promote their brands through your favourite influencers. It is the
most effective way to get influencers that people look up to and have them sell
your brand to all their following. If your favourite model, actress, or singer
tells you to buy it, chances are high… you will probably end up buying it. Especially
when many of these influencers are given discount codes and you THINK you are
Social media gives us such a diverse and proactive platform that can be taken full advantage of. Brand’s now do not have to pay thousands to advertise or start up their brand’s on TV or on the radio because Instagram offers so many features to allow you to spark your growth and become a reputable brand with multiple free features, and low prices to sponsor or promote your posts if you decide to do so.
In the past while I was living in London, networking was easy. I would attend multiple events per week in the evenings after work, as well as connect online on LinkedIn and Instagram.
There was always something going on, which made for a pretty hectic work week but kept up the excitement to the point where I never really had time to be nervous about meeting new people since it was so fast paced.
Since being back in Ottawa, over the past few months I have definitely let the cold weather keep me more indoors. There’s not as much going on in terms of events, but through different search mediums I can get the most out of my location.
Eventbrite is a great source for finding events in cities all over the world. Some events cost money, but quite a few of them are free. You are able to search by location or key word, and input dates to refine your search.
Another application I use to find events is Couchsurfing. This is primarily an app that lets you find hosts for free accommodation. There is also a feature where you can search for events in whatever city you are in.
I was able to network and meet amazing people in Paris, for example, when I was doing photography for a festival. We met at the Louvre, all not knowing each other, had a picnic and then went to the festival together. How cool is that?
Couchsurfing friends and I in Paris, Lollapalooza 2017
Currently, I have been looking at Facebook events to see what events are coming up or that show friends in attendance. Eventbrite is also still a great tool to find both online and in person networking events.
In the next 6-12 months I will be working at a new job, so I hope to network as much as I can there and meet new people. I also plan to attend any relevant events I can find that interest me or can aid in my professional development.
After meeting someone in person, I could also be more vigilant in connecting online via LinkedIn as well. Making the extra effort and keeping in touch with people is necessary to building that connection.
Instagram is a growing platform for networking—following certain hashtags can allow me to find new people or brands to connect with that may share my same interests.
I would like to attend at least one in person networking event per month—whether for work or for personal endeavours. I also want to post three times per week on Instagram with insightful and artistic content highlighting my photography or other skills.
Just showing up to events is half the battle for me, since I can be quite anxious when I am by myself—but I also realize that I have the most potential for networking when I am alone as it forces me to get outside my comfort zone.
When I attend events I usually like to set a goal, like talking to three new people and collecting at least one business card or contact information. Making one strong connection is better than saying hello to many people and not fully resonating with anyone.
Connecting online is generally much easier than in person; however, if I can get through to someone in person and then follow up online, that is my preferable route to building a strong professional relationship.
What is your favourite way to connect? Let me know in the comments!