Social media has created an Internet phenomenon and has taken online networking to a dynamic level. Do you ever wonder why social media is so successful? It’s viral and it spreads quickly – just like word-of-mouth spreads quickly in offline networking.
When you meet people for the first time, take a few lessons from the social media gurus and apply their secret tactics to your offline networking strategy.
Secret #1- Social means both talking and listening. Listening is just as important as talking
When you interact on a forum or leave comments on a blog, you first read what the other person wrote and then you comment. If you constantly leave comments about yourself and don’t interact and comment off-topic, you will make a bad first impression. Other members will ignore you.
This same philosophy applies when you are first introduced to people. You want to learn about them and ask questions. How can you learn about a person if you are constantly talking about yourself? Pay attention, listen and ask appropriate questions according to the conversation topic.
Secret #2- Widgets that instantly find thousands of followers don’t always give the best return on investment
Social media gurus always tout the benefits of handy widgets that automate Facebook and Twitter followers. Do you realize that the 5,000 people you just added probably won’t be interested in your products or services? You just wasted time and money adding people who don’t care about what you’re pitching.
Use this same social media approach when you attend networking events and collect business cards. Don’t just pitch your products/services to just anyone you meet. Talk to people who might actually benefit from what you offer. It doesn’t make sense to attend a networking event filled with seniors if you are a nightclub owner whose target audience is 21 year-old college students.
Secret #3- Freebies don’t always mean more subscribers, BUT worthwhile freebies make all the difference
Freebies don’t always mean instant success. Contests don’t always draw thousands of new members to your site either. In the social media world, if you make your prize too abstract or unappealing, you will drive away visitors.
This social media tactic also applies to freebies offered in the offline world. If you attend networking events and conduct raffles or contests, make your prizes worthwhile for guests. Target your audience and get inside their heads. You want your guests to actually use the product or service you’re giving away.
- How will this freebie benefit the contest winner?
- Will this freebie make them contact me for more services or products?
Secret #4- Don’t scare away others with the “me me me” syndrome
If you start every blog comment or tweet with “I did” or “I want” then you are headed down the “me me me” syndrome path. Social media is all about helping others. Being an expert in your field doesn’t mean acting like an egomaniac.
If you start every networking conservation with “I” you will be met with glazed over expressions. Don’t be surprised when people make excuses to leave the conversation. Remember the “social” in social media and apply that to your offline conversations. Social means give and take – social doesn’t mean a one-sided, it’s all about me conversation.
Secret #5- Always use professional Net-iquette
Don’t come across as rude or condescending in your Facebook or Twitter updates. You never know who will come across your updates in the cyber world, and how it can come back to haunt you.
This tip should always be applied to offline networking. Always remember to practice professional, ethical etiquette whenever you meet new people. Think before you speak, and remember that you represent your company/business. First impressions make a lasting impression, so always put your best face forward.