How did people network before social media?

Networking and building connections are both an important part of any business. Most people recognize the importance of networking, but since the pandemic began a lot has changed. Networking is about interacting with others and creating professional or personal contacts. Traditionally, you would sign up for events in town, where you could mingle amongst your peers and meet new people. Trying to think of a time before social media and social networking seems almost impossible. How we communicate with each other is constantly evolving and it’s easy to fall behind on the new best practices.

Since the pandemic took over the world a year ago, the way we go about our days has changed very quickly. Now, networking and social media are key in how we communicate. It has always been more convenient to send a message to someone, but now you don’t have the option to see them in person. Thankfully, there are a ton of innovative ways to replace old-school, face to face networking. At first it was easy to be a skeptic, but at ERIN we wanted to take advantage of the networking platforms and checked them out for ourselves. Our marketing team took full advantage of getting to know Linkedin, Clubhouse, Meetup, and Lunchclub, trying to see first hand what it’s like to network with each one. 

 

#1 – Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com 

Initially when you hear “networking” your first thought is Linkedin. Linkedin was the classic networking platform to make career/business connections. I know that Linkedin was one of the only platforms that came to mind when I first thought of connecting with people in my career field. Linkedin is basically “networking for beginners”, it’s the go-to platform that we are comfortable with and know about. Linkedin is easy to use and reminiscent of Facebook. See a connection that you know? Connect with them. Know someone you want to connect with? Search for them. Made a connection and want to interact? Message them. Networking on Linkedin is really that simple. 

Linkedin has become the fall-back when it comes to networking. This is the place that you keep most of your contacts. Linkedin has practically become our address book for professional connections. Linkedin may be where our connections started, but don’t forget it when you begin your journey to other platforms. It’s by far the best place to curate and develop your network long term.

 

#2 – Clubhouse https://www.joinclubhouse.com

Clubhouse has added a new twist to networking. To begin clubhouse you have to be invited (so exclusive), from there it’s all about the connections you make. On Clubhouse the initial thing you notice is the way that you interact with others. Clubhouse is a platform that only involves verbal communication. There is no way to message or connect with someone other than physically talking to them. On Clubhouse you can find clubs based on your interests. These clubs then host groups where they discuss different topics based on that specific club. Then you can do one of two things, you can either listen to the speakers/moderators in the group or you can raise your hand and join them to discuss the following topic. This form of networking is a quick way to build meaningful connections and learn from others. 

After one full week of testing out the app  it was almost impossible to not want to begin a club. If Clubhouse becomes your newest networking platform, make sure to connect with us. 

 

 

Sorry for the Android users out there, Clubhouse is only available on the Apple app store. 

 

#3 – Meetup https://www.meetup.com

Meetup was a platform that our team wasn’t too familiar with, but is ranked highly when it comes to networking. On meetup you create an account based around your interests. This can be anything from outdoor adventures to technology. The most difficult part of joining is limiting your interests and trying not to click every single box. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices Meetup takes it even further by adding subsections to the ones you have already chosen.  Once your account is created Meetup immediately brings events to you based on the interests you have chosen. It only took a few minutes to see that Meetup takes networking to the next level. 

Due to covid a lot of in-person events have either been postponed or canceled altogether. On meetup you can find in-person events near you based on the categories that you like. Although, covid has been a reason for changing how we network, Meetup gives you the option to see events that are hosted online. Meetup isn’t letting covid be the end of events, they are simply just shifting what normal looks like and bringing technology to the rescue. Once we’re through the pandemic, it’s hands down the best site on this list for physically connecting with friendly faces in your industry.

 

#4 – Lunchclub https://lunchclub.com

Lunchclub is an AI super connector that makes introductions for 1:1 video meetings. On Lunchclub there are tens of thousands of meetings happening each week, you simply have to sign in, determine your networking goals, and choose a few times a week to start meeting with potential connections. Be deliberate when creating your profile and listing interests. For instance, if i’m in Finance but love to ride my bicycle I might want to leave it out of my bio, unless of course I’m prepared to talk to someone in healthcare for a half hour about their passion for bicycling. 

It’s a great way to add high quality connections to your network during a pandemic. The meetings are solely virtual and scheduled by AI to eliminate the complexity of scheduling or trying to meet someone in person. This form of networking helps to build connections based on your specific interests whether that be within your career or an occasional hobby. On Lunchclub the connections you make are more personal and can be beneficial when it comes to your business or career.

 

How can these platforms lead to referrals?

Each one of these platforms enable you to network in a completely different way. Linkedin is the classic way of networking where you simply request someone and keep them in your contacts. Clubhouse is verbal networking, that helps you connect with other people via physical communication. Meetup brings events to you based on your interests.  This is beneficial whether you are looking for something located near you or for something virtual based on your interests. Lunchclub helps you build your network via 1 on 1  virtual meetings based on your interests and goals. Overall, these platforms help you to build connections in a variety of ways. Once you create those new connections we recommend staying in touch via Linkedin. Next time there’s a position open at your company, you may have one of your newest contacts in mind. 

ERIN can help you take those connections a step further with its referral network. The referral network focuses on features that extend an employees personal network and allows them to invite their contacts to request to be referred to a position at their job.The referral network  makes it easy for employees to invite their contacts who are looking for jobs to the referral network by importing their email or phone contacts. Once accepted, these contacts can browse open jobs and request referrals from the employees that are connected. This is the perfect way for you to use the new connections you’ve made and refer them for a job that best fits them.