If you are in business and plan to excel, you have to network.
With the advent of social media, networking websites and many other tools the Internet offers, digital networking is the big thing. Going digital is definitely a great way to connect with lots of people fast. Blog from your car and Twitter from the coffee shop and you, too, can become a 24-hour marketing machine. Facebook your way into your clients’ hearts and accumulate enough “friends” to develop an endless stream of new clients.
Did I mention you can find DCW on twitter?
More traditional methods of networking are still practiced, just not as often. How often do you get to meet someone face-to-face now? Let’s face it, it just isn’t as convenient.
Still, the real question remains: Is it really necessary to choose between the two?
Reach out to millions
Numbers are always on the side of the Internet. No other medium puts millions, if not billions of people within your reach. Social media networking has allowed thousands of like-minded individuals to find each other and begin conversations. Connect with other businesses or customers on a local and global level.
Make a real impression
Traditional means of networking still makes for the best impressions. Meeting someone face-to-face, shaking their hand and progressing into an interesting and useful conversation beats meeting over the Internet every day of the week. It is a lot easier to earn someone’s trust in person.
Is Time a factor?
No, it’s not. Meeting people and making new connections is a gradual process. Whether you do it at seminars and events or through the Internet, progress is the only goal. Who is to say which new connection in your business network will lead to your next big break? Gathering more connections faster, through social media, is not necessarily the better method- it is simply faster. Meeting people at conventions and the like is slow, but it is also tried, tested and trusted.
What, you thought any portion of increasing your own business would be free? Even networking costs money. If you are more into traditional ways, then you are spending money on traveling to events, conventions and seminars; not to mention the money that is going towards entry fees. Of course, these traditional networking means also cost more time. The traveling, the event and the lingering conversation after all take a chunk out of your time.
Social media and other Internet based networking are fast, easy and usually free. Those are some pretty big pros for digital networking.
There is no right or wrong answer here. The truth is that both methods produce worthwhile results. The best way to go about it is a combination of the two. Involve yourself in social media networking to a moderate level, don’t get obsessed. When you can or when it’s convenient, drop in on a conference. Meeting a colleague online and then cementing the connection in person at a conference is an unbeatable combination. That is a solid contact that will be inclined to help you out whenever possible. The real goal is to have all your contacts at that level. Do what you can to get them there.