Taking Social Networking Face to Face?How many social networks do you actively use? One? Several? How many friends, followers, and connections do you have? How many of these friends have you met face-to-face in the last 30 days? How many friends have you met in the last 90 days you hadn’t previously met in-person? If you’re like many social media advocates, you’re not connecting with others who can help your organization or career as often as you’d like.

Is It Important to Meet Face-to-Face?

Yes. Social media allows us to better know each others interests and opinions, certainly more than a quick in-person greeting. However, meeting in-person adds to, and strengthens, the bond. Although we may have online friends we’ve never met face-to-face, most of us have met those closest to us in-person.

How Do You Meet People?

Friend Allison Carter (@Allisonlcarter) and I conduct a presentation on this subject. She is the unwitting co-author of this blog (at least half the thoughts in this post are hers). Allison recommends starting by reconnecting with people. She shares a story of an organization’s largest customer being from a previous working relationship. Linkedin and Facebook are well-suited for reconnecting. Twitter is ideal for finding people with similar interests, but regardless of the media — Pinterest, Google+, Flickr — what’s important is to reach out.

As part of our presentation, we have every second person change seats with another. We have them introduce themselves to someone new and ask the two questions mentioned below. To continue our presentation, we’ve had to interrupt the two social media groups to which we’ve presented. They didn’t want to stop sharing.

Where Should You Meet In-Person?

Allison reminded me to always consider safety when meeting F2F — meet in public areas. Tweet-ups, meet-ups, and most networking events are a good place to start, as well as one-on-one or small groups at the local coffee shop. Meeting in one’s place of business may also be appropriate.

What Should You Talk About?

This may sound counter intuitive, especially if you’re attempting to make a business connection — don’t talk about you, your company, or product — unless asked. Introduce yourself and ask, “How can I help you?” Follow up with, “What industry, company, or person would you like to be introduced to?”

Our takeaway from this… folks using social media want to connect, and they enjoy helping each other, but may be unsure where to begin. Hopefully, you have a better idea where to begin after reading this post. How may we help you?

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