Friday, January 22, 2010

Do you have to have face-to-face meetings to create real relationships (and eventually opportunities)?

Ahhhh relationship seems to be a trend for many this year. I am not talking about relationships in your personal life (although I will admit that making more time for my husband was a resolution this year for me). I am focusing on relationships within social media. I am shocked at the amount of people that don’t realize the relation ships they are building or destroying through their use of social media! This is a very important aspect to what you are doing with social media – so pay attention!

I recently had someone try and convince me (in regards to business) that … “Unless you meet someone face to face, they don’t care to remember you no matter how often you converse online. Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Linked In, they are all a waste of time and energy. Everyone likes the face to face meeting!” I have to admit that at first I was slightly taken aback… how could anyone think social media was a waste of time (perhaps I am slightly addicted and took this far more personally than I should have, but still)?! I started looking them over and taking mental note:

- Young – so the issue isn’t a generational gap

- On all social media sites frequently – obviously not an issue of not knowing how to use them

- Engaged and has many friends – can’t be a fear of connecting with others

- Reads my blog – must know my thoughts and can read why it works and how

I was lost – how on earth could someone that I would profile as being the ideal user of social media for business be standing here telling me it is all a waste of time!? Then it hit me, this person is the youngest employee at a firm of people at least 20 years their senior… BINGO!

“Is that what your boss told you? Because I know you used it all the time at your old job and you use social media every day for your social life.” I pointedly asked my question and I was right. It seems that my dear friend had been told by their employer that relationships in business can not be made using social media and that phone calls weren’t enough either. It has to be a face to face meeting to have a relationship – end of story.

Now I am not suggesting that everyone who is “older” (please define for yourself what age “older” should be) are against the use of social media. I have met many individuals whom are extremely knowledgeable in the area and I would consider them “older”. I am also not suggesting that those of you reading this (and it applies to) tell your older bosses who dis-regard the value in social media to jump off a bridge (unless you are looking for a reason to change jobs?)… but I will say that when you partner Social Media with the phone calls and face to face meetings, you can create double the opportunities.

It brings me to my question - Do you have to have face-to-face meetings to create real relationships (and eventually opportunities)? I have been lucky enough to experience both ends of the spectrum (and many in between). I have been successful and sold to individuals whom I have only connected with on Linked In and I have sold to people who I have called, chatted with and met face to face. In my opinion it is about the person you are connecting with, not the right or wrong way to do it!

Let me explain – imagine for a moment that my friend’s boss never received a phone call or another meeting invitation. Those trying to reach him would not be successful and ultimately lose out. Now, same goes for those who rely solely on the internet as a way to connect. There needs to be a marriage of the 2 in order to make it successful. The secret to success is finding the right balance for your clients and business… there is no secret formula to it (I will continue to look though, and if I find it I will send it along).

I recently asked a wide age range of my clients their thoughts and there was no rhyme or reason to the answers. Some like e-mails and LinkedIn, others liked meetings and snail mail… some liked it all.

At the end of the day only you know your business and purpose for using social media. Perhaps for my friend, in his company, social media does not yet have a place (although I still think they are missing opportunities by shunning it), but who knows…

Until next time –


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