On another message that came across my inbox via the American Marketing Association’s Special Interest Group (AMA-SIG), I read an interesting message with the topic “What comes after Social Media?“.Â
Social media creates many opportunities for us to connect with clients and colleagues.Â How do you take the next step and interact with those contacts on a more personal basis? Or do you? Do you see value in having tweet-ups, bar camps, conference calls, etc.? What are the downsides, if any, to taking that next step?
The next step, my friends, is to go ahead and meetÂ these people. There’s something wrong if you think that the web is just the place to hang out. There’s much more you can do to connect with those who you follow on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. As stated above, go ahead and attend tweetups, barcamps, unconferences, and other events arranged and promoted online via these same sites.
Is there any value in these meetups?Â Of course! I certainly do find value. Just take a look at a couple of my posts (here, here, and here) from events I’ve attended in both Washington, DC and also here in San Francisco. If anything, I’ve gained valuable insights into what startups are doing, knowledge to help me grow as a consultant that I can bring to any company, and perhaps the most importantÂ thing of all…networking with people who I follow.
There are a lot of A-list celebrities on social networks and most of them are pretty good people to know and quite nice. Yes, it can be slightly intimdating to have that conversation and say “hey, I follow you on [enter social site here]”, but I assure you, the conversation goes much more smoothly. In the end, you’ll be able to swap business cards or web aliases and move on knowing you have a connection you can foster and grow to become a valuable resource.
What’s the downside?Â Downside? To meeting people? Are you serious? There’s no downside unless you don’t take advantage of meeting people in your industry.Â
It seems to me that this post is slightly skewing towards the web industry and I’d like to say that what I write here has the same applicability in anyÂ industry, whether it’s in manufacturing, military, non-profit, public relations, engineering, financial, etc. Get out there and meet people who are thought-leaders in your industry that you believe in and follow online. Social media simply puts your foot in the door in building a relationship. You’ve interacted with them? Good. Now go meet them and cement that rapport.