For business development interacting on social media can be a very powerful way to grow sales.
But to build strong relationships it is essential to meet face to face. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook are one thing but to build a real network you need to meetup in person.
I have recently seen how powerful it is to meetup with your Twitter followers; whilst attending a recent networking event, I bumped into a PR specialist who I introduced myself to.
She had recognised me from Twitter; that very morning she had read one of my blogs and commented on how she had liked the article and that she would like to work together with my team on some big projects she had coming up.
This was my first experience with the real power of combining face to face business networking with social media marketing.
Now I make an effort to arrange qualified appointments with my social contacts, many of which are only too happy to meet up for s short meeting.
Generally I try to keep these meetings to 15 minutes and arrange them carefully to introduce them to some of my other contacts if they seem like they could have something in common.
Having a short time window means that it keeps your meetings focused and shows them that you are busy so creates an excuse to have a follow up meeting some time in the near future if you find some joint opportunities or projects you can work on.
I have done this on a number of occassions where the business people have actually gone on to build some great opportunities together.
I have been very lucky to have learned about business networking from Richard White author of the networking survival guide. A great resource for business people of all levels helping them to network face to face more effectively. http://theaccidentalsalesman.com/
So many great lessons are within that book, in particular the most valuable was to stop looking at people’s badges so much. What needs to be remembered is that you have no idea who knows who and who deals with whom.
It could be the case that the person you ate talking to could have similar clients to you as an example, so could help by introducing you. But if you stand there and look for your ideal clients badges you could miss a great opportunity to connect with some of your ideal clients.