We live, work and play in two worlds today! They are equally important, inter-dependent and mutually beneficial. This is article will focus on the benefits of networking virtually. I have built my business brand starting in 2006 from ground zero engaged in these two worlds.
Rewind...October 2006, I was sitting on my lanai in southwest Florida not working. I made a career and life change in August 2006, that simply didn’t work out. Stunned and shocked I never thought I’d need a plan B, but thank God I had one. In February of 2007, I launched my first brand: Train with Shane, a sales and marketing training and consulting company in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Fast Forward...December 2010, I moved back to Ft. Lauderdale to continue my entrepreneurial activities in the home town and market I grew up and lived in most of my life until that move in August 2006.
What’s Happened In Between?I have evolved my business model to more diverse ways I make money and expanded my geographical reach and footprint with regard to where I can do business. I am now a published author, entrepreneur, national speaker, consultant, media host, and published business expert. Most of my network growing was accomplished in the virtual, online web space, and community. Here are five of the benefits of networking virtually that have changed my game:
1. Establish Brand LeadershipNot only did I get serious about my blog and growing the expert team and content on it, but I am now a regular blog contributor to several other national business and career blogs including: workitdaily.com, smallbiztrends.com, personalbrandingblog.com, blogher.com, and smartbrief.com.
2. Boost Your Subscriber ListMy list has grown rapidly with people opting in not only from the United States but Pakistan, Australia, England, India, Ireland, Brazil and Malaysia. Business and career issues and challenges are worldwide and the virtual world makes it possible to find each other no matter where we live.
3. Send And Receive Information ImmediatelyAnyone now with a smartphone with a camera and video are publishing and sharing content worldwide. Regular people are now street journalists, simply by sitting at a cafe in Paris witness to something newsworthy. I found out about the passing of Michael Jackson on Twitter.
4. Form Strategic Partnerships And CollaborationsI have met amazing people who follow me and I seek out to follow who bring value to my day. Many of these have turned into tangible business partnerships.
5. Make Immediate ReferralsSupporting other's work, accomplishments and activities is a key part of relationship building. The virtual relations we make online some say are NOT real relationships. I challenge that and say social media platforms are the most natural way for human beings to fulfill their human need to connect. Virtual connections are the bridge now to taking it offline to phone, Skype, and face-to-face. I live in southeast Florida, now. Every week I am on the phone with new people I meet from California, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Georgia and yes, Australia, Ireland and Pakistan - all who are exploring our synergies and how we can help each other.
How glorious and wonderful to meet other professionals and business people, who are more similar to each other than different. When I finally meet in person people I have been interacting solely with online, it feels like we already know each other! The virtual community has given us all a place to meet up, greet up and grow up together.How have you benefited from virtual networking? Photo Credit: Shutterstock