Chapter 4 Excerpt – Want to Meet for Coffee? Putting the Social Back Into Social Media

So you’re actively involved in social media, meeting new contacts, being part of the community, contributing to the dialogue.  For the most part, this is not face to face conversation.  It’s either through the LinkedIn site, or if you take it one step further, through email and phone calls with connections you really have an affinity for and want to get to know better.

I would challenge you – today – to put the social back in social media.

While I am fascinated by the number of connections I have developed over the last several years through LinkedIn, the ones that are the deepest, most meaningful seem to be the ones I’ve met in person.

I mentioned Albert Maruggi in a previous chapter.  Add to that list Shel Holtz, Mark Ragan, Doc Kane, Steven Bauer from Edelman – all connections I developed through LinkedIn and all folks who I have met in person and developed a stronger relationship as a result.

I am still perplexed by the online mentality that connecting in person – while “nice” is not necessary.  I disagree.

The next chapter will detail LinkedIn Live Raleigh.  Through this event, I have brought together more than 2000 people in the last two years.It started as a way to meet my LinkedIn connections locally in the Raleigh/Durham area.  A restaurant, no admission charge and three hours of solid networking.

Over the past year it has become a phenomenon.  Our latest event in January brought 300 people together to network, pay it forward and help each other out.  More on LI Live in the next chapter…

So how do you go about putting the social back in social media? I suggest you apply the rules of good old fashion business networking and apply it to your online connections.

1. If you connect with someone in your local area through LinkedIn and there’s an affinity, suggest a meeting in person.  Be open to what might come out of that meeting.  Be prepared, as well, that nothing might happen.

2. When you travel – conferences, seminars, even for pleasure – check your LinkedIn connections list to see if there are connections in the city you are going to that you’d like to meet.  I have done this for over 2 years now, meeting either one on one or in groups with my connections.  No agenda (see a pattern there?) just meeting to find out more about each other.

3. Be willing to take it one step at a time.  Start with a phone call or a series of emails.  You can discover, sometimes that there isn’t an affinity and it doesn’t make sense for you to meet.

4. Accept requests for your advice or guidance.  This is one of my favorite ways to pay it forward.  If someone asks to meet just to hear about my experiences, I will – at the minimum – meet with them at least once to see if I can help.

Social media is truly “social” first and media second.  We often emphasize the technology, the widget, new application or wiz bang way to communicate.

If we are not social and friend, if we don’t participate in the social networks we use through dialog and interaction, then we might as well stay behind our computer screens and send out bot messages when contacted.

But hey, what’s the joy in that?  My favorite part of social media is finally meeting a good connection in person.  Seeing them for the first time and greeting them like a long lost friend!

Next, LinkedIn Live – the stories will amaze you.  My wife Stephanie and I love these events as our way of paying it forward!

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2 Responses to “Chapter 4 Excerpt – Want to Meet for Coffee? Putting the Social Back Into Social Media”

  1. Your post totally rocks!

    I’ll be looking you up at future local events. :)

  2. Read the chapter on meeting for coffee. I agree! Good stuff. I’m finding that facebook has become very active for business networking lately too! But in truth nothing will ever beat face-to-face interaction. I always enjoy the events you host in Raleigh.

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