By Sabrina Risley
A great way to market your business is to integrate both online and offline marketing strategies. Let’s explore taking “offline” relationships, online. As we network, we meet many people. Many we “hope” to bump into again, leaving fate to take its course. But this is no way to manage new contacts.
The first key question to ask yourself is whether you have a solid, easy follow-up system in place to follow up with the
people you meet in person? Most people do not, but one simple way to stay connected to your “offline contacts” is to invite them into your “online world.” For example, after attending a networking meeting, search for the people you have just met and invite them to connect with you Facebook or LinkedIn.
You may notice for yourself that those you respond to online are people you have met in person. It’s the same for others… once they have met you and then connect with you online, they have a greater tendency to follow your postings and updates than the people who have never had the opportunity to meet you personally.
Using social media as a way to “stay in touch” can be instrumental in helping you build and continue relationships you have started in person. Let’s look at this in greater detail – connect in person, invite to online network, notice what they are doing, make comments, share their postings, and deepen the relationship. The more you pay attention to people online and respond to what they are doing, the more the person will pay attention to you.
Relationships take time. Don’t force it but rather let it flow naturally. More than anything, be genuine in your responses online. Let’s take a look at the reverse… connecting online first, then in person.
First of all, be sure to strategically follow people you would like to get to know better. When searching for new friends and followers online, don’t allow just anyone into your network. If you are a realtor, search for people in complimentary industries. It’s not a race for popularity, it’s about building quality relationships that really mean business and have significance.
Once you have targeted people into your network, focus on them. People love attention! If you are on Twitter, re-tweet their postings, comment on their updates on Facebook, “share” what they are doing, and offer support. Even a simple reply like “I think you are doing great things, I’d love to connect further” can easily get you a face-to-face meeting or phone conversation with someone.
Social media is the easiest way to meet even the most elusive person. If you are looking to meet someone whom you personally admire, there is no better way than to make that connection online. The majority of people do respond to people who reach out to them. So don’t be afraid to reach out and connect.
Here’s one last thing that should be mentioned. Relationship-building does not happen overnight. Sometimes it can take months or even years before your efforts pay off. Just realize that what you are doing is not in vain, you are being noticed, you are being seen, be patient with the process and, as stated – be real. Transparency is highly valued in the online world. Show a little of yourself in both situations (online and offline) and you’ll soon see your efforts blossom.
© 2010 CERTUS Professional Network / Behind The Moon, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Sabrina Risley is a master connector. She’s been hosting live networking events since 2004 and has welcomed 20,000+ professionals to those events. She shares her observations, insights and tips of how the top 2% of effective and magnetic networkers build their businesses. She also shares what NOT to do when networking. Get her complimentary e-book: Strategic Networking for Success.
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