12 Ways to Merge Your Online Social Media Networking With Your Offline Networking

Networking online with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great, but it seldom pays off for you or the people you network with until it transitions to the offline world.

By the same token, you probably have a number of offline contacts that are not contacts online. If you can help these people to start using and benefitting from social media networking, they will be very grateful and will regard you as someone who has added value to their efforts.

Here are some ideas that may help you extend your online social networking into part of your offline network:

  1. Send snail mail. Despite our technical age, everyone loves greeting cards and hand-written thank you notes. Facebook, for example, lists your contacts’ birthdays, so be sure to put them in a tickler file to remind yourself.

  2. If you have a collection of your best blog articles, make hard copies and have them bound. You can send them to offline contacts to encourage them to follow you online. And you can offer them to your online contacts as a way to get their addresses.

    These bound blog articles can be a great intro piece to prospective employers. Unlike 99% of other mail they receive, no one will throw a book or booklet away if it contains valuable information.

  3. Put your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn IDs on your business cards and stationary just as you do your website and email address. Point them out when you meet people. Chances are they've heard about Twitter, etc., but aren't on using them yet. Explain how it can help them and "recruit" them to join your social media network as well as your offline network.

  4. Organize or attend “Tweetups” as a way to meet with other Twitter users who live in your local area. Not only will personal contact solidify your existing relationships, you will also get the opportunity to meet new contacts.

  5. Whenever you have a speaking opportunity, mention how you are using social media. Even if you just mentioned it in passing, you will be asked about it later. this will provide you with more opportunities to cross "pollinate" your online and offline contacts.

  6. Another offline event you can organize or attend is a Meetup. Check out meetup.com for local events of interest, or else organize your own. Then you can announce it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

  7. Organize free teleconferences with your contacts to discuss areas of interest. Sure it’s not as powerful as meeting them face to face, but hearing their voices still creates more personal relationships.

  8. Look for ways to add value or send free stuff to your online contacts. If you value the person enough, you may purchase a book to send them or copy an article from a print publication. If you are writing a book, you may send them a draft for their input or to review on their own blogs. If they do write a review, be sure to send them a final copy once it is published.

  9. Almost all of your online contacts have an agenda. They are either seeking a new job or they want to attract new business. How can you help them achieve their goals? Can you “match make” them with some of your offline contacts? Can you offer to hand deliver a resume to someone you know offline?

  10. Attend big seminars or events like the annual Austin, Texas “South By Southwest” event. Send emails to your contacts before you go and make arrangements with them to meet while attending the event.

  11. Participate in causes. A lot of people who identify with the Democratic Party in the U.S. made invaluable contacts and friends by working together to get Obama elected. But there are other causes you can either organize or support with your friends online.

  12. Clippings of offline publications is not a lost art. Recently I saw a review of Pam Slim’s (aka @pamslim) book in my local newspaper. She was delighted to receive the clipping in the mail.

    Because clipping and mailing something takes more effort than forwarding something by email, a lot of your online friends will appreciate your extra effort for them. Harvey Macay, the author of “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive,” built a multi-million dollar business by remembering his customers’ alma maters and favorite teams and sending them clippings.

Networking, whether online or offline, follows the same rules. The more you give, the more you will receive.

Be prepared to give more than you receive and constantly look for ways to add value to your contacts.

After all, the goal is to turn contacts into friends.

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COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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