Social Networking: No Computer Required
Although it is typically described as interacting with virtual community members, social networking takes on new meaning when it becomes an offline approach. Social marketing is certainly one of the buzzwords of the year. MySpace, Facebook, and a plethora of blog networks and discussion forums all fall under the umbrella of social networking. Although it is typically described as interacting with virtual community members, social marketing takes on new meaning when it becomes an offline approach. The convenience and comfort of the online world has added much to business networking. However, is it possible that this virtual connection has also taken away from the benefits real-life face to face interaction offers? Perhaps a healthy balance of online and offline networking is what it needed to take a business—even an online business—to the next level.
An Internet marketer can find numerous effective and interesting ways to connect with people offline. Keeping a stash of business cards to hand out to people you meet while out and about is one simple way to create interest and discussion about your business. Every Internet marketer knows to always include signatures and links in e-mails, forum and blog postings in order to bring in business. The same techniques can be applied in the outside world by utilizing business cards or just your voice to bring your business and interests into conversation. Getting involved in local business networking events is another effective way to enter offline social marketing.
Attend chamber of commerce events, lunch and learns, or happy hours for professionals to get plugged into circles of people with whom you can swap business advice and learn more about what is going on in your area. Nervous about leaving the security of your office chair and computer screen? If you have been able to be successful at online social marketing, you can succeed offline as well. Simply use the same social skills that have worked for you on forums and blogs: show a genuine interest in people, be friendly and thoughtful, and use honesty and integrity as you meet with people. Internet marketing seminars are a great way to connect with people who have similar interests and goals. By using your people-skills, you can develop rewarding professional relationships that will benefit your business and perhaps even your social calendar. Furthermore, such seminars will provide you with information to build your business. You are basically doubling your money with this offline social networking option. It’s all about avoiding the “stuck in a box” scenario. A true Internet marketer is always seeking out opportunities to connect with others, and the offline world provides many avenues for connection. True, it may not be as easy or comfortable as an online forum.
After all, in the real world we don’t walk around with our profiles, including hobbies, goals, and favorite movies, listed on our shirts, nor do we have our favorite song playing in the background. But by being honest and real and displaying genuine interest in others, you will find yourself succeeding in the offline world of social networking—no screen name required.