After a slow period of adaptation for many business people, nowadays most savvy business people are soundly embracing the Internet and social media for their networking and marketing needs. Even those who held out against social media use in their business are now realizing that this powerful force is here to stay and that using it is cost-effective and delivers results. In fact, many are starting to wonder if social media has eliminated the need for real world networking.
Face to Face Networking Remains Relevant
While online marketing is incredibly efficient and widens your scope of who you have the opportunity to network with, networking face to face is still incredibly important. This is especially true if your clientele is at least partially local. Getting out and meeting people will do wonders for your business, because those who may be on the fence about using your business will be more likely to be swayed in your direction after getting to know you.
There are many things that you can achieve much more readily in person through face to face networking. These are the things that tend to be more challenging to achieve when you only network online. Face to face networking lets you:
- Build relationships that will lead to cross marketing opportunities with other businesses.
- Establish yourself as a subject matter expert with your local community.
- Stand out from the competition that is not doing face to face networking.
- Get immediate feedback and responses that take much more time online.
Integrate Online And Offline Networking for Maximum Results
Integrating online and offline networking can produce the biggest benefits for your business. In fact, doing so allows you to be very strategic in your networking efforts and make the most of the time you dedicate to real world networking.
Use your online efforts to connect with others who would be ideal customers or fellow business people that you could partner with. Share local networking opportunities with these people and plan to meet at a real world networking event. Not only will you benefit from solidifying a relationship that you have started online, you will likely meet other people through that connection. When you attend networking events, check in via social media and you will likely find that there are other people you are connected to online who are in the same place.
As with any time you meet up with clients or business associates who are virtual strangers to you, keep safety in mind. Always choose a public meeting place and use your own vehicle to get there, so you can leave quickly if necessary. When possible plan to attend daytime networking events or meetings. Share your plans with a trusted individual, who agrees to check on you if they have not been contacted at a prearranged time.
Even though the Internet is a much safer place to interact with strangers, there are distinct advantages to meeting face to face. Be wary when you do so and you can reap the benefits while not putting yourself in danger. Get the best of both worlds when you network online and off.
This was a guest post by:
Tiffany McDonald is a mommy, wifey, blogger and cat lover. She is also addicted to coffee, the Internet and all things social. She will talk to anyone willing to listen and is currently on an education campaign regarding family safety and security. She believes the new technologies surrounding home automation will empower caregivers for those of all ages. Connect with Tiffany on Twitter, Linkedinor Google +