Finally, the strange and precedent-breaking year of 2020 is drawing to a close. The end of the year is often a time for networking and professional growth initiatives to plant the seeds for business development in the coming year. However, with conference cancelled and crowd restrictions in place due to COVID-19, many of the standard education and networking events are impossible to hold in the traditional way. This means, more digital opportunities have come available for networking.
So how can you make up for these lost opportunities for networking and growth? Creative use of technology is providing a means for B2B networking, as well as meeting continued education requirements, to persist even in the epidemic. Here are some ideas on how to continue your professional growth in Q4.
Register for a Webinar
While webinars were of course popularized long before COVID-19, the number of brands who hosted webinars jumped 36% from February to March 2020 alone, during the initial outbreak of COVID. Educational webinars have also grown; training and continuing education, for example, have grown by 11% and 22% respectively. These are excellent digital opportunities for those seeking to meet continued learning requirements.
Though webinars are shorter than conferences and may not appear to offer the same networking opportunities, webinar strategies and platforms have also rapidly evolved to mirror a live experience. One anecdotal study showing a 90% increase in the use of a Q&A engagement tool, and a 55% increase in the inclusion of live video within a webinar. Got a busy schedule? Many companies now offer on-demand webinars, recorded live and accessed any time.
B2B marketing operations webinar resources:
Thinking of hosting? Services like Zoom offer basic recording and replay capabilities. If you’re looking for a platform that offers advanced features like Q&A and engagement tracking, check out ON24. Fittingly, they will be hosting a webinar on 7 Secrets to Avoiding a Boring Webinar – LIVE on Nov 18, which may help with your planning!
Participate in a Virtual Conference or Summit
Prior to March of this year, the concept of a virtual summit seemed strange and less than ideal. However, like webinars, when a digital version was the only option, innovative hosts and tech platforms have risen to the challenge to offer new formats and features to make a virtual summit more like the real thing. Indeed, most perennial conferences beyond the second quarter of this year have gone already gone virtual, including Adobe Summit, INBOUND, and the B2B Sales & Marketing Exchange.
Features of a 2020 virtual conference may include keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and Q&As and, of course, digital networking over virtual cocktail hours. In addition, digital conferences offer other benefits like discounted (or even free!) ‘tickets’, on-demand or multi-timeslot sessions, and access passes that extend well beyond the end of the conferences.
Looking to attend a virtual event before the end of the year? One of these might be a good fit for you:
Join a Slack Community
Slack, originally created to address a problem for game developers, has now risen to the forefront of business collaboration tools, offering instant messaging services both within and outside of the company. Recently, however, Slack’s use cases have expanded to include founding and participating in topic-related Slack communities.
Slack communities build around nearly any topic can be found. They offer real-time interaction with like-minded professionals, as well as the chance to network, grow, and learn from others. Slack communities tend to be fast-paced and high engagement. We recommend checking out the following to network with fellow marketers:
Or this database of Slack communities
BONUS: If you can’t find a channel that works for you – you can always create your own! Buffer, social media scheduling tool and host of a popular Slack channel, describes more benefits of starting your own Slack channel and how to do it here.
Staying Connected with Digital Networking
While things may not look the same as they did this time a year ago, plenty of opportunity exists to help us stay connected and prepare for a strong start to the new year!
Looking to connect with us? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!