Virtual Business Relationships - From Online to Offline
August 16, 2012 • comment(s)
You’ve set up your Twitter, LinkedIn and Company Facebook page, got some followers, added some connections and have some “Likes” … so now what?
Social Media can be such a powerful business tool for not only promoting your brand but to physically connect with others as well. Surprisingly many still aren’t doing this. They’re under the impression setting up the account is all they need to do to get more business or exposure. That’s only scratching the surface. Some of my best business relationships are with people I’ve connected with online and followed it up with a face to face meeting.
Case in point, A little over a year ago I connected with Andrea Walker @andreafwalker on Twitter & LinkedIn. We started sharing information online and established a “virtual” relationship. We met for lunch and found we shared a passion for entrepreneurship and women in business and over the course of a few months we established the S.H.E.-Network which teaches women in business how to use online marketing and technology. Taking this “virtual” relationship offline not only got both of us business but it actually started a new one.
As women we are natural communicators so you would think it would be easy but for some that’s not always the case. Here are some things that work for all of us.
- Connect with people you not only want to do business with but that may be a good “connector” or “networker”. It’s not all about getting business from someone. It’s about establishing a mutually beneficial business relationship.
- Share the information they’re posting and comment. Find a common ground if possible and establish a “virtual” relationship with them. Once you are virtually communicating the face to face is much more comfortable. You already feel like you know them.
- If you meet someone at a mixer or networking event be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn & Twitter. This lets them know you’re interested in what they do and want to learn more about their business.
- Once you’ve connected online and have a virtual relationship, send them a message asking to meet for coffee or lunch. Let them know you’re interested in meeting face to face to learn more about them and their business and to see how you can help one another. You’ll be surprised at how willing people are to meet for coffee to share and learn.
There’s no one formula when it comes to Social Media Relationships but this works for me without fail. So start connecting, sharing and building those virtual relationships and clear your calendar for some coffee and lunch meetings. You’ll be surprised as to where these relationships will lead.