In our previous discussion, we explored different online networking platforms. However, we understand that the process of selecting a website to join can be daunting and exasperating due to the abundance of options available. It’s important to remain calm and stay focused on your goals. Always consider the purpose behind your networking efforts. Depending on your objectives, certain platforms may be more suitable than others.
In this article, we will primarily focus on networking platforms intended for business professionals seeking to expand their professional connections. We won’t delve extensively into job-searching websites, as our emphasis will be on fostering professional networks.
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Here is the list of 10 best business networking sites.
LinkedIn has established itself as a leading platform for business networking and continues to be highly regarded in this regard. Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has amassed a membership of 500 million individuals across 200 countries as of April 2017. It provides a platform where users can create their professional profiles or resumes and connect with people they already know. By connecting with others, users gain access to their connections, presenting opportunities for introductions to key individuals in their industry for potential future collaborations. These introductions foster trust among members and help prevent unsolicited messages or spam. LinkedIn’s feed serves as a valuable resource for educational and inspiring articles, enabling users to contribute their own content. Furthermore, users can stay updated on their connections’ career advancements and receive birthday reminders, providing additional incentives for reconnecting with others.
100AM is a comprehensive platform accessible through both its app and website, designed to streamline your networking experience. It offers a range of tools, including a business card scanner and the ability to create customized networking groups. Within these groups, members can acquaint themselves with one another, engage in communication through the platform’s built-in instant messenger, share updates, and schedule meetings. If you’re attending a conference with 100AM, you can access a list of participants and view their profiles. A notable feature is the automatic updating of all contacts stored in the system, ensuring that your information remains current (Live Business Cards). Additionally, for individuals who haven’t yet joined 100AM, the Print2Digital feature allows you to scan their physical business card and promptly share your electronic card with them via text message, email, or instant messengers.
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Networking for Professionals is a unique business network that combines the benefits of both online and real-life networking. Its primary objective is to connect accomplished and ambitious professionals, enabling them to enhance their results through the expansion of their networks. The platform leverages the advantages of traditional networking methods and merges them with online networking capabilities, facilitating continuous virtual communication alongside occasional in-person events. Although physical presence is currently limited to select major cities in the United States, the platform is actively seeking to expand its reach. Furthermore, they are currently offering complimentary memberships to new subscribers based on their geographical location.
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Over the course of a decade, E-Factor has established an extensive community of entrepreneurs, comprising over 1 million members who engage in collaboration both online, through a virtual marketplace, and in-person. This platform is specifically designed to cater to the needs of entrepreneurs and local businesses. E-Factor offers comprehensive support to its members, ranging from valuable information resources to enhanced visibility opportunities. With such a diverse and global membership base, there are ample opportunities to effectively communicate your message and raise awareness about your startup’s activities.
Gust is a platform specifically designed for startups, aiming to connect them with a diverse range of global investors for the purpose of securing early-stage funding. It’s important to note that Gust is not a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter; its main focus is not on raising money directly. Instead, Gust provides valuable tools and resources to facilitate effective communication and organization between startups and investors. By creating a profile on Gust, startups can easily share their information with potential investors they reach out to. Additionally, Gust serves as a universal application platform for organized investment groups, allowing investors to review applicants’ information, engage in discussions through the built-in messenger, and express their interest in partnering with startups.
While Meetup may not be specifically designed for business networking, it shouldn’t be disregarded as a valuable platform. It serves as a networking website that allows individuals to discover and participate in local group events with like-minded individuals. Once again, we can observe the combination of virtual and personal interaction trends. Users have the option to join existing meetups or create their own groups. While there may be numerous events focused on dog-lovers or tea-drinkers, there are also ample opportunities for business networking. After all, who’s to say you can’t find potential clients among dog-lovers? It’s worth considering that common interests have the power to bring people together and foster connections, regardless of the initial purpose of the meetup.
Opportunity is a professional networking platform that focuses on lead generation and referrals. Its main objective is to connect you with other professionals who have the potential to bring you leads, sales, and clients. Whenever someone shows interest in your offerings, you receive notifications to stay informed. Additionally, the platform allows you to engage with other members through social interactions based on customizable categories such as age, gender, interests, and personality traits. It may resemble online dating, but for business purposes. Recently, live events have been introduced to further enhance the opportunities for members to build stronger professional and personal relationships.
Ryze provides its members with both free and paid options to customize their homepage based on their interests, location, and current or previous employers. This enables them to establish meaningful connections with a vast network of over 500,000 members. In addition to the usual features found on business networking sites like messaging, groups, and informative articles, Ryze also facilitates the ability to negotiate deals with other Ryze members.
StartupNation is an internet-based platform dedicated to fostering business growth and development. It represents a prime example of purely online networking. The platform offers a range of theme-specific forums where members can ask questions at any time. These forums cover various topics such as finance and funding, business operations, and the gig economy, among others. Each section also includes subcategories for more targeted discussions. Alternatively, users can explore a wealth of informative articles on starting and expanding a business. This serves as an excellent avenue to connect with professionals and industry experts, providing valuable advice and networking prospects.
If you’re not in the mood for browsing, there’s another option: swiping. Shapr operates like Tinder for professional connections, utilizing a similar approach. The app connects individuals within the same industry who share common interests and goals in a delightful manner. Rest assured, everything remains strictly professional. Unsolicited requests are not permitted, and the community is kept limited to maintain a high-quality experience.
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur seeking advice or an experienced business professional aiming to grow your company, networking remains the most effective way to achieve your goals. Online networking groups provide a convenient solution that accommodates busy professional lives while keeping you connected to other remarkable individuals in your industry.