The Importance of “Social” in Social Media

In so many of my conversations with professionals, I find reactions such as,”so you sit around all day and play on Facebook?”. But, if that was all I did, why would I need to go out and talk with these individuals Face-to-Face? I make a point to get myself out and away from the computer. I find my best social media connections come from those with whom I have had a great social interaction.

Social platforms have made the entire world within reach, so our networks have become much more expansive. Yet, the human interaction is still vital within social media. Here are some  ideas to build your connections through live interaction and strengthen through social media.

Get out from behind the computer; go socialize!

If you are looking for business contacts, get to a networking event. Try finding one that is specific to your industry and find one that is either general or in a field you want to learn more about. For instance, I go to two networking events specific to social media, JMU612 and Social Media Breakfast. In these events I find knowledgeable professionals that I can share ideas and best practices. These become great individuals to follow on LinkedIn and Twitter. General networking can come from professional events, community events or simply going out with friends. Simple conversations in these everyday situations can lead to a substantial connection. Once you have established this connection,make note of how you met them (LinkedIn Contacts) and make sure to foster the relationship through the appropriate channels. If it was at a networking event, see if the organization that held the event has a LinkedIn group and continue conversations with them on that forum. With over 500 connections on LinkedIn, I try to reconnect with one person every week and would suggest to do that 3-5 times a week if you are in sales or job hunting.

Join video chat discussions

I have become more and more infatuated with Google hangouts and find that not nearly enough people are taking advantage of it or using it to the fullest. I have seen examples of people using Google Hangouts as a broadcasting tool but I feel it is best suited for dialogue. I encourage you to find individuals looking to have a roundtable on topics important to you and view recordings of topics you are interested in. These can be found on either Google+ or YouTube, now that they have been integrated. Video interaction with your friends and colleagues can not only strengthen your relationship but solidify it as authentic. Too many of us have  heard the stories of “catfishing” turning into an embarrassing relationship and LIONs (Linked In Open Network) looking to have you connect to just to be another number. So get these people in front of you, even if it is over Skype or FaceTime.

Setup your social platforms before going to events

This one may take some practice, but just because you are at an event live doesn’t mean you can’t have a conversation online. The trick is to not post in the middle of your live conversations, but to monitor and post at convenient times in-between. You do not want to make a bad impression with those you are chatting with in person by looking at your phone constantly. If you know you are going to a panel discussion on social media, make comments and quotes about the topics the panelists are discussing and make sure that you know what the handles/hashtags (twitter) are before going to the event and whether they have an event page (Facebook) to upload comments and photos. Knowing these before hand will make you efficient with your posts and able to monitor conversations in real-time. These conversations can turn into an opportunity to meet after the event!

On a final note, all these approaches can not only be used on a professional level, but on a personal level, if you are looking for Mr. or Ms. Right.

…and that is your Sprightly Insight for the day!

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