If you are a busy person whose idea of face-to-face networking is…
- Getting tagged in pictures
- Poking one of your “friends” or “fans”
- Doing coffee in 140 characters or less
- Condensing your emotions—“LOL”
…it may be time to rethink your networking strategy!
It’s time to get up close and personal.
A few weeks ago we talked about the value of finding balance between online social networking and good old-fashioned face-to-face conversations. Both are important and work together. But in this new generation of technology, face-to-face can easily be pushed to the side.
Even though 61% of Canadians wish they could go back to a time where reliance on technology wasn’t so heavy, we use technology an average of 17 times per day to connect with others socially, compared to connecting in person with an average of only two people per day. (Ipsos Reid).
Stop wishing folks! It’s time to face up to reality and get in a little face time. Live interaction helps you develop meaningful relationships in a way that online social media can’t. And any savvy business person knows that developing relationships will ultimately boost your sales. People buy from people they know and trust. Relationship building takes time and effort.
But putting your best foot forward and turning the doorknob at the next face-to-face networking event doesn’t mean parking technology at the door. Here’s a couple of tricks to meld the two together:
Build your online contacts
The personal contacts you make at an event will help increase your online contacts on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. The size and quality of your network grows – and so do your business connections.
Drive people to your website
Bring a camera to the event and snap some photos. Upload these photos to a Flickr account, then optimize them with relevant keywords and keyword tagging. Now link them back to your website. It’s a great internet marketing strategy. When they are optimized correctly, it will help drive traffic and provide potential search engine benefits.
Another bonus is you’re sure to drive some traffic to your website by reminding people to look for their picture on your website.
It’s clear that both online and face-to-face networking are important and compatible. But with online connections just a simple click away, the value of connecting in person cannot be underestimated. If you’re tethered to your mouse it’s time to loosen the strings.