Social media is a great place to find and make initial contact with strategic partners or influencers as well as groups of your target audience. However, once you have made that initial contact through social media and you make the decision that there is synergy, how do you start building a relationship? After we make a connection it is time to move to a conversation and eventually to a relationship and that can’t always be done exclusively online.
How To Turn Relationships Built on Social Media into A Deeper Connection
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can’t build a business relationship online because face to face networking is not always possible due to being in different cities or even countries. In that case you can plan a virtual coffee or a conversation via phone or Skype. Although, even when you are in the same city, I highly recommend meeting through one or both of these options at least once prior to meeting in person. This way you have had some type of social engagement which will help the conversation flow more naturally in person.
Are Social Media Relationships Less Viable Than in Person?
There are so many options for connecting with your contacts online that it may actually be just as good as, or maybe even better than, building relationships in person. To start with, there are the numerous ways to “meet” new connections online.
- LinkedIn group discussions
- Facebook groups
- Twitter chat
- Speaking on a teleseminar or summit together
- Both guest on a radio show or podcast
- Online introductions
Connection to Conversation to Relationship
Connections created through these online means can easily move from connection to conversation and then to relationship without ever meeting in person because social media has so many different methods for connecting. And let’s face it, connecting online can be a lot easier to fit into a busy schedule than planning to meet in person.
Be that as it may, nothing will ever replace the connection made with someone in person. So, at some point, whenever possible, you should attempt to find a way to meet your closest online connections in person at some point. When you are able to eventually meet in person that is where the magic happens!
Ideas of where you might be able to meet in person
- Networking event you are both traveling to
- Industry conference or workshop
- A meet-up group
These types of events are also good opportunities to build new relationships, but only if you have done your work in advance. You start by checking to see who will be attending the event that you would like to build a business relationship with. You can then make a connection with them on social media in advance. This will allow you to start engaging to see if you have synergy with so you will know with whom and where to spend your time and energy once you are at the actual event.
It would seem that building relationships through networking on social media and face to face actually work best when used together. While most people in this digital age may lean more toward social media and online connections, it is important to not forget to still utilize face to face networking to complete the connection whenever possible. However, when geography or other obstacles keep you from an in person meeting, it is great that we have social media to keep us connected.
How are your business relationships built – primarily through social media or in person? I would love to hear your experiences with both!