Earlier this week I was discussing social media marketing, specifically Twitter and Facebook, at a business networking group. One gentleman objected to social media because he can only work with people who live in our geographic area.
He felt that since social media platforms reach far beyond the borders of our city of Fort Worth, they offered very little value to him.
The first flaw with this reasoning is that good networking often pays off in unexpected ways. I have seen many local businesses attract new clients and referrals from far away connections. You simply never know who your contact in Boston might know in your own backyard.
But the other, and greater, flaw is that this mindset assumes that social networking is all about me and what I can get from a relationship.
My friend should look at geography and ask who he can help others regardless of where they live. That is the true test of networking, not looking at how we can gain a benefit, or who can do something for us, but at how and who we can help, regardless of whether they can immediately do something for us.
When we extend our help, we will surely gain. And when we extend our help outside our own borders, we put ourselves in position to gain a great deal. It is the "casting bread on the waters" concept. It just simply works.
But having said all that, it often does make a lot of since to build a hefty portion of your social media contacts in your local area. These are certainly people who are more likely to know others in the same geographic area.
Which leads me to a second conversation I had this week. This conversation was with my friend and fellow Twitter user Bill Hurlbut (aka @billhurlbut). He showed me several ways to find local people to network with on Twitter.
- Twibes is a site that allows you to find all kinds of Twitter groups, including groups that are local.
- Twellowhood is a sub category within Twellow.com that specifically targets local Twitter users.
- Nearby Tweets is another way to find local Twitter users.
- Finally Bill suggested another of the brilliant ideas he is known for. He looks up local newscasters on Twitter and digs into the people who follow him or her. He reasons that most of the people who would follow this person would live locally. He does the same thing with the local weather man/woman, because he again assumes that the primary following for these people would be local.
Now I have a hunch that I am just looking at the tip of the iceberg here. If anyone else could suggest other resources for finding local Twitter users (fondly known as "Twits") please leave your comments for us.
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