When you are constantly on the move, it is hard to connect with a digital nomad network, right?
There are plenty of ways to connect with other people and grow your business network even if you are a remotely working nomad. This post is about how you can use live events and social platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to network and grow your brand awareness.
First, let’s start with what a professional business network is, for those who aren’t sure.
What Is A Professional Network
What is networking, and how does it work?
A professional network is a group of people you are connected to – for professional business reasons. Your network would include anyone who is like-minded and can help you move forward in your profession as a digital nomad.
This digital nomad network should be more than just a collection of names: it should be a collective of other professionals that you have formed a relationship with. There should be mutual respect and trust built in a business environment with everyone in your business network.
Your network, if done properly, will be a goldmine of referrals and work leads, as well as advise and knowledge shared.
How To Network Professionally
While everyone has their own networking technique, here are some pointers if you aren’t sure how to start:
- Use all available options – you’ll read more about networking opportunities below, use all of these to their full potential and you’ll find yourself with a full and resourceful network.
- Connect on a personal level – as we said above, you need to create relationships with your network. Don’t expect someone to be a connection simply because you send them an email or two.
- Keep in contact – on that note, make sure you stay in contact with your connections as well. You don’t need to message them every day, but be sure to make contact once in a while to ensure you don’t become strangers.
- Give as much (or more) than you take – your network works best when you have value to offer to your connections as much as they have to offer you.
Why Professional Networking Is Important
A professional network can help you in so many areas. When you’re a digital nomad, your network is most likely what will help you gain more work. Finding clients through recommendations and referrals is a great way to get work.
Expand Your Network As Working Nomad
Ok, so we know WHY you need a business network, but HOW do you expand your professional network? Read on to learn more…
Building A Network At Live Events
I will state the obvious now: meeting with someone in person is simply the best way of building your business network. As much as I am a digital gal’, you leave a deeper impression and get a real feel for the other person when you get to talk to someone face to face.
This year, I attended TBEX, one of the largest conferences in the travel industry. And you know what? It’s such a game changer to meet people in real life.
During the three-day conference and the three-day FAM trip, I had so many great and inspiring conversations, met potential business partners, got invitations to press trips, made friends and learned from the many informative workshops.
It was my second time attending this event – the first time was at TBEX in the Philippines. This year, I was not only attending the conference but I was one of their featured speakers talking about ‘How to drive traffic to your blog with social media’.
Networking Methods While at a Conference Like TBEX
- Make your time count:
Come to such an event with a business mindset. Ask yourself before the event who are the people I want to talk to? What session do I want to attend?
- Practice your elevator pitch:
There are many small talk situation where you will casually have to answer questions like who you are, what you do and why you are here. So, make the most out of these situations and include all the details that make your brand unique. You never know if the person you just met at the lunch buffet might be the DMO of your next travel destination.
- Dress professionally and wear comfy shoes:
You’ll walk a lot during these types of events, so choose some shoes that won’t bother you after a while. Also, your first impression counts and the people you meet might make their decision to work with you, or not, based on your professional appearance. So, even if the overall topic of a conference like TBEX is travel, leave your tank tops and board shorts at home!
- Don’t be shy:
I know it might be a bit frightening to talk to random strangers. But if you get there with a mindset to go back home with new and valuable contacts, there is no way around it: you’ll have to talk to other people. News flash: Everyone else is in the same situation, and most people don’t bite. So, relax and enjoy meeting many inspiring people!
Live Events Summary:
‘Surround yourself with quality people.’
This quote by Tony Robbins stresses a core ability that successful people master when building their business network. It applies to real life but also online platforms, choosing the ‘right’ contacts to connect with is crucial as a digital nomad to build a tribe around yourself. Not only can they potentially lead to future paid projects, but you will also be able to rely on a strong foundation.
Most of my clients and many collaborations come to life because of the connections I’ve made. Vitamin B is key. So, try to look at Facebook and LinkedIn as your online bazaar for new business connections and focus on those who will benefit you as a brand.
Are we connected yet?
There are many other great conferences for digital nomads throughout the year. Click here to see a list of events in 2018 to get inspired and make a wishlist for next year.
Professional Networking Online – Using Social Platforms to Network Yourself
There is a clear go-to platform when it comes to building a professional network and that is LinkedIn.
Social media expert Andrew Chow says, ‘LinkedIn is like your virtual CV, you need to showcase what you have on offer and why people should work with you.’
With a few simple but effective strategies you can make your LinkedIn profile work for you and attract the right people. Check out my LinkedIn profile to get inspired.
Building Your Professional Network on LinkedIn:
- To use LinkedIn in your favour, you’ll want to be active on the platform. Andrew suggests posting once a day before 9 am and providing valuable statements along with industry insights to your audience.
- Always behave professionally and showcase your expertise.
- Remember to think about the bigger picture before you post: will this statement/ article that I am going to share help to solve a problem/inspire or motivate my audience?
- In my case, as a travel blogger, Andrew suggests showcasing my 20 best travel articles in order to attract the right brands and tourism boards. This way, it becomes immediately clear what Jey Jetter stands for and this way they’ll know what standard of writing/work they can expect from me when they collaborate with me.
Additionally, it is useful to list specific keywords in the skills sections. So, again, for me, that means to mention long-term travel, nomadic life, digital nomad tips as opposed to a generic keyword like ‘travel’.
Your goal on LinkedIn is to present yourself as a ‘thought leader’ in your niche. So, be sure to share new industry insights and add your own comments to it. This way your business network will perceive you as the expert in your field.
Action steps for growing your business network on LinkedIn
-> Connect with people in your niche but also think outside your niche. Ask yourself: who can profit from my service?
-> Re-post your existing articles from your blog on your LinkedIn profile (BUT keep them to a maximum of 600 words; if the original article is longer than that, make part 1, part 2, part 3). At the end of your post, add “The existing article was published on yoururl.com”. This helps you with building link juice too!
-> Post once per day (or more). Motivate on Monday, inspire on Friday. Always ask the right questions or add a call-to-action at the end.
-> Go through your old business cards and contacts from former jobs and invite them to connect on LinkedIn!
- LinkedIn is great to showcase your expertise, make every word count
- Post regularly and with the intention of presenting yourself as a ‘thought leader’
- Use specific keywords in the skills section (NOT: ‘travel’ but ‘long-term travel’)
Expand your business network with Facebook groups:
Facebook has turned into much more than ‘just a social platform’.
Yes, it’s great that you can connect with long lost friends, but if you are after the real deal, change your mindset and use it for your biz. There are experts who claim that there is no money to be made on Facebook. But if you are smart about it, you can still use it as a tool to connect with the ‘right’ people AND eventually make money off of it.
And that’s why you need to look at Facebook groups as the gold nuggets of the platform. They are a powerful tool for growing your business network and building up your reputation as an expert.
It is crucial to be active in groups that are relevant to your niche. Again, for me as a travel blogger, there are great groups to connect with other travel bloggers, get advice and help others out who seek help with their blogging tasks.
But when it comes to my actual profession, (I am a social media manager, did you know?), I also dedicate some time to showcase my knowledge on social media.
Additionally, I created a Facebook group to help other travel bloggers and digital nomads to become more successful on social media. Through this, I generate a lot of valuable direct contacts who are not ‘only’ group members, instead, I count them into my business network.
Are you a member yet? Request to join here!
Action Steps For Growing Your Business Network On Facebook:
-> Find 5-10 Facebook groups that you find useful to your brand. Engage with the group members, ask the right questions, answer other people’s questions and offer your advice on topics you’re knowledgeable about.
-> Dedicate 15-20 min per day to comment on other people’s posts and try to answer questions that show your expertise.
-> Share industry insights but add a comment to establish a reputation as a thought leader
When you spend time on Facebook, use it wisely and share only articles that contribute to your overall mission: in my case, it is travel tips, digital nomad topics, and advice for social media marketing. My audience can follow my business page for travel inspiration and advice. In my Facebook group, I share social media tips and network with like-minded people.
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So, What’s the Best Way to Expand Your Business Network
I think a healthy mix of in-person and online networking is best.
Obviously, you can’t attend every possible network event that’s out there; but I suggest that you pick a few each year. Use them to build your brand and make deeper connections with people that you perhaps already know from social media.
Then, of course, update your LinkedIn profile today, get active on this platform and use it to showcase your expertise. I hope I’ve convinced you, in this post, that Facebook is not only about socialising and finding new friends.
As stated above, Facebook groups have such great potential for you to make business contacts too!
If you want to know more about how social media marketing can benefit your brand/blog, watch my free webinar – I’ll show you a few hacks to improve your performance online.
What are your favourite and most effective ways to grow your business network as a digital nomad?
Do you have any other tips?
Share your thoughts below, we’d love to know!
NOT DONE READING YET?
Perhaps you need some inspiration to get your digital nomad life set up? Here are some resources that help me a lot.
Or check out which digital nomad gadgets we use to organise our lives!