I recently read an article by Harrison Kratz that talked about communities and how most people are missing the boat when it comes to capitalizing on them and it made me start to think.
He made the point that we’re all so wrapped up in doing the mechanics of social media that we don’t allow time for the next step, and that’s an actual conversation with another human being either on the phone or in person. Let’s face it, isn’t that why we’re doing this?
I never understood the online dating thing, but if you look at that as an example, I would hope your end goal wouldn’t be just to continue the relationship online. I would hope you would want to talk to the person and eventually meet to further discuss things you have in common.
Social media is no different if you think about it, but how many of us are guilty of keeping people at arm’s length and only communicating with them online. Seems like a waste of time to me. The opportunities are limitless and so are our excuses for not participating. I know in my case, I’ve been invited to several cocktail parties or meet and greets from several of my local LinkedIn groups and really haven’t taken advantage of them, yet I go back and forth with them with emails.
From a business standpoint, we all belong to some sort of national group that probably has a LinkedIn group or maybe you follow a work-related forum. Why not initiate a gathering at the next national meeting or trade show? Don’t wait to be invited, do the inviting and take the leadership role. You may be surprised at the response.
For those folks who want to continue to be wallflowers, we can’t change that, but I would encourage you to at least try one local event. People may not remember who they tweeted with, but most people will remember who they had coffee or a drink with.
Social media is only the first step in the process of developing relationships. Social helps you identify like-minded folks and then it’s your turn to see if you can turn some of them into actual face-to-face relationships.
So what are you waiting for?