The benefits of digital networking via online platforms mirror many of the advantages that come with regular, face-to-face networking events. It’s a chance to exchange skills and expertise connect with others in and round your sector, inspire catalytic discussions on development, learn about collaboration and project opportunities, as well as exposing your niche or offering to wider audiences.
That said, networking in the virtual world does offer a few of its own unique perks:
You have digital resources as ammunition – When attending a networking event in person, you’re often armed with nothing much more than a brain full of conversion prompts, a pocket full of business cards and a glass of wine in hand to spur you on.
When it comes to virtual networking, you have the advantage of additional supplementary tools to support you, including things like:
• Screen-sharing to showcase websites, case studies, etc.
• Presentation facilities.
• Multi-user digital collaboration software.
• Access to video material (ideal if you have a showreel you’d like to share).
• Cloud-based document and media sharing.
Appeal to more diverse personalities – For some, in-person networking events are a daunting prospect that are accompanied by debilitating nerves and various anxieties. They might be new to the sector, timid by nature or from an under-represented community, to name just a few examples.
Being able to attend a networking event from the sanctuary of their own surroundings, with a screen between them to act as a buffer, is often a great way to encourage less confident attendees out of their shells.
Opportunity to expand your digital footprint – When networking virtually, the chances are you will be mixing with likeminded people who are also au fait with the digital realm. They will appreciate the impact and importance of things like how to use a strong social media presence to boost business and bolster valuable connections. By building bonds with these people, you will then be best placed to grow and expand your own digital footprint and the online identity of your business.
Maintaining community through disconnection
Had we been writing this article twelve months ago, the three benefits of digital networking summarised above would have remained exactly the same, pre-existing in the pre-pandemic world. Today however, we are more than six months into a global health and economic crisis, a COVID-shaped curveball which has catalysed the paramount importance of digital and online networking.
COVID has disconnected the creative industries as we once knew them but by problem-solving and adapting, we will come back stronger than ever with a new, reimagined identity. Digital networking resources will be – and have already proven to be – an integral cog in the wheels of
While meetings in event spaces, coffee catch-ups in cafes and networking events at bars and restaurants might be significantly limited for the foreseeable future, digital networking is there to plug the gap and bridge disconnection.
The show must go on, as the saying goes and being able to continue reconnecting with old faces and meeting new ones via digital means as we’re geographically dispersed enables a sense of community to be maintained. Using online networking as a virtual vehicle allows introductions to continue, projects to proceed and collaboration to carry on in spite of crisis.
Virtual networking at Creative Coalition 2020
As part of the 3-day Creative Coalition festival, we will be running scheduled slots for digital networking. Each attendee will be paired with another attendee via Hopin – the virtual events platform through which we are running the festival – and given a few minutes to meet and network
as they normally would in a physical space, before being repaired with other attendees.
Through Hopin, festival attendees are also available to request 1-2-1 meetings with any other attendee at the event – another great way to meet and mingle from the comfort of your own sofa.
They can do this by clicking on any attendee’s profile and requesting a meeting with them using the ‘invite to chat’ button. To enhance your virtual networking experience at the festival, don’t forget to also take advantage
of the live chat feature available at each session to interact with fellow attendees and ask questions to your session hosts.
Creative Coalition 2020 runs from 9th – 11th November 2020 and is FREE to attend. Register here.