Over the last couple of decades, the world of business networking has been rapidly transitioning to digital platforms. Once the World Health Organization declared the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in March 2020, the transition was forced to accelerate to what seems to be a point of no return. The measures implemented to prevent contagion, which include postponing face-to-face meetings as well as business conferences, are being adopted on a more or less permanent basis by the enterprise sector.
Prior to the pandemic, technology was already pushing us to virtual networking. Not everyone is particularly fond of skipping real-life meetings; in the history of doing business, it could be argued that the best examples of business success can be attributed to up close and personal encounters. There is significant value in being able to connect with prospective business contacts; we cannot deny this, but we should also keep in mind that younger entrepreneurs are increasingly setting up projects, working out agreements, and closing out deals without having to meet partners, clients, and associates in person.
In the year 2020, many professionals were thrown headlong into the world of videoconferencing, collaborative internet platforms, and online business networking because of COVID-19. Some of these professionals, especially those who felt that they were comfortably settled in their jobs, had neglected their online business profiles. Since we now know that the future of business is digital, we should strive to find the best websites, social networks, and online platforms where our professional websites can be published. Let’s review our options:
All professionals should have active and updated LinkedIn profiles these days; this is non-negotiable. When companies were forced to furlough or lay off employees during the pandemic, some professionals realized that they had neglected to update their LinkedIn account. In some cases, they were not able to access their profiles because their username and password credentials had lapsed. You should not wait until you are out of a job to refresh your LinkedIn account; the time that it takes you to bring it up to date is time that others are spending applying for jobs you qualify for. If you are an entrepreneur or self-employed professional, LinkedIn could be one of your best networking spots, but you have to be actively engaged in order to make it work.
If you have been mentioned on online news articles related to your line of business, a Wikipedia page could be a good place to publish a business profile. Some people are surprised to learn that they already have a Wikipedia entry started by others. The advantage of Wikipedia entries is that they have substantial authority in terms of search engine optimization; if someone enters your name on Google, chances are that Wikipedia will be the top result. The key to being able to maintain a Wikipedia page is to understand the principle of relevant notability; this is something that a digital marketing or reputation management specialist can help you with.
This relatively new website runs on the respected Semantic MediaWiki framework and software platform. In essence, EverybodyWiki is a web project that aims to provide all the functionality of Wikipedia for individuals and business entities. In order to become familiar with how the website works, take a look at Aaravindha Himadra’s EverybodyWiki page; you will see that it closely follows the familiar Wikipedia format with a certain brevity of information. The rules are more relaxed than Wikipedia in terms of notability; however, you have to provide references in order to achieve relevancy. Keep in mind that anyone can contribute or edit these pages. EverybodyWiki has great potential to attract a community of responsible editors to manage the website, which is hosted by a major domain name registry provider.
This business directory, which started off as an Excel database used to track the business performance of technology startups, has become one of the most respected sources of information about professionals who work in the tech and finance fields. You do not necessarily need to be a tech entrepreneur to publish a profile; for example, an accountant who worked for an investment firm that is already listed on Crunchbase can create an account and link to her former employer. Even though Crunchbase is not a social network, the platform does offer some social media features to facilitate business networking; plus, you can link your Twitter account so that profile visitors can see your latest online activity, and you can also include recent news articles.