This article by John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing’s archives, may have important significance to some of us. As I find myself with more and more work to do, I am neglecting the importance of networking face-to-face!! Thanks John for this timely article.. -di
The buzz right now is all about social media. Most small businesses, however, will get the greatest bang for their social media buck when they think in terms of merging their online and offline networking and marketing.
Here are five ways to maximize what your doing online to make it pay offline.
1) Build local networks:
Cruise the social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn to find people to connect with and follow locally. The chances of you having the opportunity to meet for coffee or at a Chamber event are far greater if the distance is smaller.
2) Create and attend social media aided events
Sites like Biznik and MeetUp allow you to create and promote local, in person events. This is a great way to start putting together local workshops and mastermind groups and tap into the network and resources these sites make available. In some communities the membership in these kinds of networks is so strong they can fill your events for you through their promotion tools. The flip side is to use these tools to locate events that other locals are putting on and attend appropriate ones as networking events.
3) Let offline folks know how to connect
Plaster your social media participation and connecting profiles on business cards and stationary, phone directory ads, print ads, marketing materials and email signature. You can probably do a better job of spreading this kind of thing to your online assets and profiles as well.
4) Network offline, connect online
If you attend trade shows, Chamber mixers and referral groups, collect those business cards and do your normal “great to meet you at last night’s event” email or handwritten note, but then track your new contacts down and connect with them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well. You will find it much easier to communicate and build trust when you are connected on and offline.
5) Teach your offline networks
If you’ve got even the tiniest handle on this social media stuff you’re probably ahead of many of your customers, suppliers and strategic partners.
Why not offer some free social media training sessions. It doesn’t matter if you’re an attorney or a contractor, social media education is one of the hottest topics going at the moment. Even if you approach it as a way for you and your customers to learn together, the bonds you can build while you learn will be invaluable.