We live in the world of social networking – whether we like it or not. There is not a day that goes by that I am not in Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. (Yes – I admit it!)
Many business owners are taking their first steps into social media. They are setting up accounts on numerous social media sites and wading through the waters waiting for the opportunities to start rushing in. There seems to be this mentality of “If you build it, they will come”. But unlike the movie “Field of Dreams”, this is not necessarily true. You have to work at social media, you have to establish the relationships, and you have to nurture them.
As a result of the social media boom, I am beginning to see fewer people engaging in “live” networking. It seems that since they are waiting for that “Field of Dreams” through their social networks, they no longer see the need for in-person networking. As a result, they are losing a number of opportunities.
I belong to three organizations in which I network regularly – meaning two times per month PER ORGANIZATION. Admittedly, that is a lot of time out of my office and away from my to-do list. However, many of my converted leads have come from in-person networking events. Why?
I firmly believe it is because they have the opportunity to see me in person, watch my mannerisms, watch how I present myself while talking with others. There is that personal connection present that makes it easier to work with someone. You can generally build rapport with someone faster when you are speaking with them in person. Most people can “read” another person well if they can see them. That is a little more difficult when you are speaking through your computer and a social network.
Now don’t get me wrong… I am a HUGE believer in the power of social media. I have obtained some great clients through all three of the “big” networks and have more leads to follow-up. I truly believe that you need to be participating in the social networks that are appropriate for your business.
My point is this – don’t forget the power of “live” networking. You might be missing some of your biggest clients while you are hiding behind your computer. If they can’t find you, they will find someone else. Be sure you are visible in your target market.