Wow this is an old one but time isn’t relevant..
.As I’m in Ottawa for a table top show I began thinking about just how valuable it is to meet face to face and shake hands. In a business with four locations spread across south western Ontario people here keep asking us why people from all four locations are here when we all do the same thing. The way the business are set up is different then most, each location operates as a separate business, if you order from a location they are the ones who ship, bill and look after the order. Pick who you want to deal with based on what you need. Do you want to deal with one because of past relationships? Great! Is on location better for you for shipping or picking up? Excellent! As for why we are all here, those past relationships can only truly be built upon face to face. As humans we don’t get the same feeling talking over the phone and yes video calls are great but it’s still not the same..
What this means to you as a Social Media person.
.Now we in Social Media have amazing connections because we all use these multimedia forms of communications. Thats all fine and well bit it’s still not the same as an actual face to face meeting. Ever heard about how all the great stuff and conferences happens in the hall ways. Expos, I’ve been to more then a few for my industry, are basically just one big series of hallways..
So what is my advice?
.In the Social Media scene, first and easiest thing is to get out to a local meetup. Use Facebook Event, Upcoming.org, eventful and meetup.com to search for one. If there isn’t one in your area, START ONE! Sure for a while it might be just a couple of people but that connection alone is amazing. I’m great Friends with some of the people who were at my local meetup from the begining. If you all do a good job using all the platforms to get the word out you’ll see it will grow! (Tip: TwitterLocal is an amazing way to find local twitter users!) To go one step further go to your nearest podcamp, it may involve a bit of travel but it’ll be well worth it. I’ve also found that presenting, no matter how simple that presentation may be, is a great way of making connections. After your presentation, stick around in the room, or just outside it in the hall, and talk to the people that were there. Take their questions, and more importantly ask some too. Be sure to get some sort of contact info from them, and give yours, as well..
Outside The Social Scene
.Find the events where your industry meet, industry magazines is a good place to start, and get out to them. It’s a little steeper step to start an Industry Association but by all means don’t let that stop you. Aside from googleing others in your area there isn’t much more to it then that! Although from experince unless you live in a major city larger expos and conferences may force you to travel, but hey it’s business so warm up your expense card!
.As uncomfortable as it may be get out there and meet people it is the best way to connect. So get to it!