Also, many new relationships start after you meet someone for the first time at a conference, meetup or fundraiser, and establish that you have common interests. But, of course, with Covid-19, face-to-face meetings just aren't possible anymore.
So, if you're looking to build new relationships -- to get new clients for your business, find investors, or learn from other entrepreneurs -- here is how to approach it.
1. Ask on LinkedIn.
Occasionally, on LinkedIn, I'll post that I'm looking to meet new people in Chicago to have coffee with them. It doesn't matter what their professional background is, or what they need. These days, instead of coffee, you can ask for a Zoom meeting. It could look something like this:
"Hey, I figured I would try something to meet new people given our current situation. I would love to meet a few new people that work in the technology sector. I have no agenda or anything to sell but would love to say hello and learn from new people. If you're open to having a Zoom meeting with me, feel free to comment or inMail me. Also, feel free to tag anyone. Thank you!"
The reason I'd say "I have no agenda or anything to sell" is to stand out from the many people who use LinkedIn to sell things. I want to make it clear that I genuinely want to meet and connect.
Also, posting on your own page tends to work better than sending inMail directly to someone, because, again, people assume you are trying to sell them something.
2. Pay for it.
It might sound odd to pay to meet with someone new, but in the current situation, I think this is a great idea.
You can use a platform such as Clarity.fm or Growth Mentors that allows you to schedule a meeting with startup experts -- people who have been there and done that. Pick who you want to talk to based on your current needs, and have a phone conversation. You'll get the information you need, while also planting the seed for a future relationship or business partnership. Make sure to add the other person on LinkedIn as soon as the conversation is over. This is a win-win for both parties.
The reason I like this approach so much is that because there is a mutual understanding from both parties to add value, and so you don't have to send 100 cold emails to get someone to speak to you.
3. Hijack a conversation on Twitter.
I used to be one of the "I don't get Twitter" types of people. But the more I engaged with the platform, the more I understood how compelling it could be to meet people you would have never engaged with otherwise.
As I started to do more research on how relationships are built on Twitter, I realized that I couldn't just post my tweets and expect people to retweet or reply. Once I started engaging with posts that interested me, I started encountering likeminded, interesting people every single day. After engaging with them a few times, I would follow them, and many times I'll get a follow back right away.
Not only did my feed get more interesting, but I started to build real-life relationships through people I've on the platform. Engaging others on Twitter is admittedly a lot of "work," but it pays off if you're consistent. And of course, the more you have to say, the more relationships you'll build.
I'm hoping this pandemic is over sooner than later, because I miss my coffee meetings. But, until then, try out these tactics to build better relationships online.