I get asked these questions all the time:
- What is the best social media channel?
- What channels should I be using?
- What is the most effective tool?
My answer takes people by surprise – go meet people.
Really. We’re biological animals and we need to be in the same space with others in order to “read” them. We can quickly tell if a person makes us want to run in the other direction or if they have an energy about them that we respond to. Shaking hands, looking people in the eye, and carrying on a conversation will do more for your business than many of the social networking tools you’re using.
Social media is a reflection of who you are, how you communicate, and how you do business. A reflection can’t stand on it’s own. You must actually BE there. You must be seen and heard from otherwise your audience can’t truly SEE you.
Try it. Go to a networking function with real people. Don’t just talk to those you know, meet someone new. My goal is to have three real conversations, they can be with people I just met but that’s not necessary. Listen when people speak rather than just thinking about what you are going to say. Those conversations will continue at event after event and the result is that you will build relationships. We want to do business with people we like and feel comfortable with.
Many people don’t like the word “networking” and neither do I. It makes me think of a gear wheel in a machine. Instead I simply call it meeting new people…and building stronger relationships with those I already know.
Where’s the benefit?
I’ll give you an example of a recent event I went to. I knew a good portion of the room at a breakfast meeting so I scanned to decide who I was going to say hello to in the small window of time I had. I turned to the woman next to me and said, “I love coming to events like these because you see people you need to talk to anyway and you get things done!” Right then, a man whose name was literally on my to-do list, walked up to me, and said that he had completed the task I needed done. I was happy to see him and told him, “Thanks! Now I can cross that item off my list.” I’ve never had my point proven so quickly but it’s true. Another person came up to me and said, “I need to hire you!” I’m telling you, not only do I meet new people, but I often get more done in that short amount of time than in the rest of the day.
Why would a social media consultant not recommend social media?
It’s not that I’m saying DON’T use social media. I’m saying know when to and when not to use it. I started my business as an organizer specializing in technology and social media wasn’t yet a core part of my business development. Face-to-face communication is still the most effective and highly preferred in the majority of industries today. Social skills are decreasing and in demand. If you are in the technology field, we tend to hide behind our keyboards so being physically present is even more important and impacts how much business you book. Show up, represent, and when you’re not in “the room” your digital channels will enhance your brand and message. You are your brand, not your online posts.