Unconventional ways to network without social media

I remember when social media was actually social. Forgive me for a moment as I get a bit nostalgic. Back in the day, people used to hang out and have conversations on social media. They were still doing their creative things while having fun, but they were also engaged in meaningful interactions. It wasn’t just about broadcasting, and there wasn’t an overwhelming number of people telling us how to do creative work or make money. The gurus say we need to use social media to promote our art and creativity, but what ends up happening is that we just keep shouting louder than the last person. We’re told to do what others do, but do it more, say what they say, but say it quicker. We’re constantly pushed to be better, faster, stronger, and it’s exhausting. At some point, it may be time to opt out.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the grind of social media, I have some escape hatches for you. These are alternative ways to build your network and find new fans without relying on social media. Some are online, while others are in the real world. Hopefully, you’ll find a few options here that you haven’t considered before, even if some of them are a bit unconventional. Let’s explore them together.

Blogs and blog comments

Believe it or not, blogs are still a thing. There are people who write blog posts and share their thoughts and knowledge. Don’t let the idea of toxic comment sections discourage you. Many blogs have valuable discussions happening. Find blog posts that resonate with you and add something insightful in the comments. Engage with the community and leave your email and website address when appropriate. Leaving thoughtful comments can make a genuine connection with the blog author.

Guest blogging

Look for blogs that align with your niche and offer to write guest posts. Find topics that haven’t been covered yet or update outdated posts. Bonus points if you can tie it in with a product and provide an affiliate link. Guest blogging can help you expand your network and gain exposure.

Podcast guesting

Reach out to podcasters you enjoy and offer to be a guest on their show. Don’t focus solely on big podcasts that may be difficult to get on. Look for smaller podcasts that align with your interests. Start a conversation and offer your insights. If you have your own podcast, invite others to be guests. Podcasting is a great way to network and connect with like-minded individuals.

Online forums and Quora

Forums still exist outside of Reddit. Find forums related to your interests and engage in discussions. Introduce yourself and contribute insightful comments. Remember to be friendly and interested in others. Similarly, Quora is a platform where people ask questions and seek answers. Answer questions in your niche and engage with other knowledgeable individuals.

Book or film clubs

Joining book or film clubs can be a fun way to meet new people who share similar interests. Attend meetings, engage in discussions, and expand your network. Sometimes, the most unexpected encounters lead to valuable connections.

Queues at gigs or festivals

While waiting in line at gigs or festivals, strike up conversations with fellow attendees. If you connect with someone, suggest meeting up later for a drink. Remember, this is about expanding your network and meeting people who may be interested in what you do.

Classes, workshops, and volunteering

Take classes or workshops to learn new skills and meet people with similar interests. Volunteer at events, festivals, or conferences to connect with others. Volunteering provides opportunities to meet event organizers and potential collaborators.

Trade shows

Explore trade shows and craft fairs related to your niche. Engage with people at booths and have meaningful conversations. Show genuine interest and ask insightful questions. Trade shows can be a great place to expand your network and learn from industry experts.

Workshops, seminars, and talks

Attend workshops, seminars, and talks in your area of interest. Engage with speakers and other attendees. Take the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals during breaks or after the event.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Think about your specific niche and explore places online and in the real world where you can meet new people and expand your network. Remember, it’s not just about promoting yourself; it’s about building genuine connections and fostering meaningful relationships.

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