Communicating with someone via social networking will never replace the power of a handshake, a smile, and a face-to-face conversation. That said, strategic use of social media can enhance the effectiveness of your in-person business networking.
Let’s use the example of a one-to-one appointment in which you and someone you meet through networking and are getting to know each other better. Social media can be effectively used before, during and after these appointments.
Use Social Media Before, During, and After a One-to-One Visit
- Before the visit. After setting the date and time to meet with someone for the first time, do some research on them. Review their LinkedIn profile and request a connection. Look for common interests and shared connections. Check out their website and their Facebook business page, plus any other relevant cyber presences.
- During the visit. As you get to know more about the person and their business, people may come to mind who you think s/he might benefit from knowing. Tell them a little about these people. Then, if the person you want them to meet has a LinkedIn profile, offer to share that profile with the person you are visiting with right on the spot, using the LinkedIn app on your smart phone. You can also show a Facebook business page, if appropriate.
- After the visit. Here is where social media can really cement your fledgling relationship. If you haven’t already connected on LinkedIn, be sure to do as soon after your visit as feasible. Then, like their Facebook business page, and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest if you are active on these sites. Stay in touch with them by liking, commenting on, and sharing their updates and posts as appropriate. All of these sites also allow you to communicate directly and privately.
- Connect the person with other business colleagues. After I meet with someone for the first time, I often introduce them via email to folks whom I believe would benefit from knowing them, and vice versa. Since most people have profiles on LinkedIn, I often copy and paste the URL for their respective LinkedIn profiles into the introductory email. That way, I don’t have to elaborate on their backgrounds. Their profiles can do that for me.
How About You?
How do you use social media to enhance your face-to-face networking? Which types of social media sites seem to work the best for you in this respect?
Joyce Feustel helps people, especially those age 50 and up, to become more effective using social media, especially Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.
She provides social media tutoring and training to business owners, business development professionals, authors, speakers, coaches, business consultants, job seekers and many others. Find her at www.boomerssocialmediatutor.com.