With the pandemic, offline networking events, conferences, and meet-ups went online: meeting new people via different platforms is the new norm. Inviting someone for a zoom meeting became the equivalent of inviting someone for a coffee in the pre-covid world (it does seem so long ago, right?)
In this article, I will show you the best networking apps to be on in 2021 to meet new people, expand your business and increase your influence.
I did not include LinkedIn, as it is widely known in the professional world. If you are on it, check out my previous article to get to a black-belt level in networking. If you haven't registered yet, I strongly recommend doing so, you are missing out a LOT.
Shapr is the Tinder of networking. 😎 It works exactly like the (in)famous app: you create your profile adding interests, education, work history, and other social media. You can also add preferred meeting methods (the design was for a pre-covid life): after-work drink, coffee, walk, or video meeting.
After having created your profile, the app will match you with people who have at least one common interest with you. The rest is the same mechanism as Tinder: if you like someone, you swipe right, if not, left. If the match is mutual, you can message each other. The app even helps you with some conversation starter panels, such as <Hey Szilvia, how do you like this app?> to break the ice and get the discussion going.
😍 What I liked: you can meet a wide variety of people from other industries from all over the world. You can use your current location or teleport to cities such as London, New York, or Paris to get matched with people living there and expand your local connections. Also, with the so-called "Tinder Technique" you can easily and quickly sort out the people you are not interested in.
💜 Bonus points that the free account lets you swipe around 30 profiles a day!
🤔 Could be improved: the list of teleport cities is quite restricted at the moment (they are working on adding new cities). Moreover, I noticed that a lot of people add me, but never start a conversation, or just do not respond after some time. But if you are proactive and use the app frequently, you can get useful additions to your network.
Lunchclub takes online networking to a completely new level. After signing up, each week Lunchclub's algorithm matches you with a person with a relevant profile to meet in a form of a video call. Before the meeting, you receive an e-mail, in which you are presented to your weekly match. Then, you need to confirm if the time and date still suits you for the meeting.
Each week you need to sign up to be matched, so if you want to skip a week, don't worry, you won't be matched with anyone. You can select the day and the hour which is most suitable for you (currently Thursday and Friday are available, but they will add more days as the community grows). It is important that until you matched with someone, you can't message people directly which helps you to avoid getting spammed by random people outside of your interest.
Moreover, you get 10 daily profile suggestions for potential people to meet. This way, the algorithm continuously learns about your preferences which helps you to be matched with more relevant people.
😍 What I liked: According to my experience, Lunchclub's matching algorithm is one of the most sophisticated out there right now. Furthermore, you only matched up with a limited amount of people (maximum 2 meetings per week) that gives you the feeling of exclusivity and raises your interest to connect with people. Moreover, it pushes you out of your comfort zone as the only way to get in contact with people is through video meetings. No chatting or spamming, just pure networking. Also, signing up to be matched each week creates the habit of networking: it might be a bit uncomfortable or scary in the beginning, but after some time you can't imagine a week passing by without meeting someone new.
What I disliked: nothing, it is by far the BEST networking app out there in my opinion.
✅PRO TIP#1: use this link to sign up and skip the waitlist.
✅PRO TIP#2: Participate in the rapid meetings organized on Saturdays to increase your reach and meet more people. The meetings last only for 15 minutes that is enough to discover if you have common synergies and get in contact later. It is also a time-efficient way for you to quickly meet with a lot of new people and extend your network.
✅PRO TIP#3: If you want to read more about How AI can be applied in professional networking check out the Lunchclub creator article here.
Readers of the blog already know that I am very enthusiastic about Clubhouse as I've already written about it on several occasions here and here. If you are not familiar with Clubhouse yet, imagine it as if you'd listen to the radio or a podcast, but instead of only listening to it passively, you can join the conversation any time! Exciting, right? That is the power of Clubhouse that made it a huge success and attracted millions of people among which Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg.
Clubhouse is not only an excellent tool to participate in engaging conversations, it is also an amazing place to organize communities and broaden your network.
One way is the so-called "silent rooms", when you enter a room with the goal to network and find new and interesting people. There is no talking or any discussion, people on the stage are usually muted, and participants check each other's profile to see if there is someone relevant to their interest. You can also "park" your profile there, meaning that you enter the room and leave your avatar there so people can check your profile while you are doing other things. Yes, it is very time-efficient.
You can also join networking clubs related to your industry or geographical area. Usually, these clubs run several rooms a week at the same exact time, so you can get the habit to dedicate 1 hour per week to network.
Apart from these options, you can also join clubs relevant to your interests to meet with like-minded people. Organizing rooms around certain topics is also an excellent way to build or strengthen your professional brand and extend your network. There is the possibility to connect your Twitter or Instagram account with your Clubhouse profile, so you can easily divert traffic to your other social media accounts and increase your flowers. Most of the users indicate their LinkedIn account as well in their bio, so it is very easy to look someone up there or divert traffic to your LinkedIn account.
More importantly, studies show that that talking to someone by voice creates a stronger social bond between people compared to only text communication. It means that you feel closer to someone with whom you had a conversation compared to e-mailing, chatting, or social media interaction (comment, like for example). Also, that person will likely remember you more, which is very important in today's fast-paced and impulse-rich world.
Apart from the social bond, Clubhouse also gives a certain feeling of exclusivity, as it is only available on iPhone, and people can only join when invited.
✅PRO TIP#1: If you would like to join, and need an invite, feel free drop to me an e-mail to email@example.com or add me on Linkedin and I will send you one (don't forget to mention that you are coming from the blog).
✅PRO TIP#2: check out Ali Fenwick P.h.D's amazing article about the behavioral science behind the app as well as how to use it.
To sum up, based on my experience, when it comes to networking, the fewer the better. Connecting with hundreds or thousands of people without really engaging with them won't let you go far. Also, I recommend that you organize a short video meeting or a quick call in order to create a stronger social bond with them, and make sure that they will remember you.
Lastly, if you want to build a strong network, you have to come out of your comfort zone, and meet new people. That is the only way, there are no shortcuts or miracle tools. On the other hand, the above-mentioned apps can help you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and get yourself out there.
Once you made networking a habit, and you start meeting people regularly, your life will completely change. The people you meet will open up new horizons: job opportunities, partnerships, new clients for your business, or even friendships: only sky is the limit.
Networking is a mindset.
Networking is a lifestyle.
Don's miss out, start TODAY.
🤩 MORE MORE MORE MORE 🤩
👉 If you wondered how to take your Clubhouse experience to the next level, check out my article where I show you 9+1 ways to stand out from the crowd.
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