I was reminded earlier this week of a mantra I’ve often passed on to those new in Social Networking. It’s something I’ve often kept in mind, but occasionally, something happens to really drive the message home. The mantra is simple:
Make connections online – build relationships offline.
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. have allowed me to make contact and engage with a far wider audience than I would have believed possible, only a few years ago. Casting a quick eye over those contacts and it’s immediately clear that in the vast majority of cases, the stronger engagement is with people I’ve met – or at least spoken to by phone. Of course, there are those exceptions that prove the rule – and in those few cases, it tends to require a deep shared interest that underlies the connection, or a connection which has taken years to cement.
The reason I felt compelled to write on the topic? A brief coffee last week. Someone I’ve not known for that long, originally a few tweets back and forth, then a chance meeting at an industry event. That chance meeting led to a more focussed discussion, then an opportune coffee this week. As I left the coffee-house, I reflected on a few conversations we’d had where my companion had offered to go the extra mile and help me out. Real trust and confidence. We’ve only known each other a few months; I have connections on LinkedIn and Twitter which go back so much further – but carry significantly less weight.
I guess it’s just human nature and no doubt there are specialists in this field who can really explain the detail behind it. I’m not one of them, so for now – I just wanted to share that mantra in the hope it helps others too.