When will we ever use this in the real world? I remember hearing that question posed by students over and over again when I was in school.
Now, years later, as the founder of Social Marketing Solutions, I get questions from entrepreneurs about social media and how they can convert online interactions into real world relationships that have tangible benefits to their business and personal lives.
When was the last time you met a social media contact out in the real world? If you have never done it, or it's been a while, you could be missing out on the most powerful connections in business and life.
Since I began networking on social media, it has completely changed the business landscape for me. The virtual relationships I've made via social media have been my biggest business driver and enabled me to take my career to places I couldn't have imagined only a few years ago.
My online activities have allowed me to create a massive global network that would not have been possible using traditional networking activities.
The relationships I've made have created powerful brand advocates for my startup that have helped me attract new clients and build credibility.
However, to maximize the value of a virtual relationship, I am a firm believer that it should be converted into the real life whenever possible. I have made it a point to make this happen over the past year and recommend that you do the same.
Before traveling anywhere, always check on social media to see if anyone in your social network lives there. Then, arrange a meeting over coffee, lunch, cocktails, etc. Never miss an opportunity to take this step.
Are you going to a conference or a trade show? Make sure to study the agenda to see who will be speaking. Connect with the speakers a few days before the event on LinkedIn, beBee, and Twitter. Then, arrange to meet over coffee at the event.