Last week I was an exhibitor at Frederick Chamber’s Business Expo. It was a great event where I saw friends and met a lot of people as well. I don’t get to do these events as often as I would like, but I like to get away from the computer and have conversations longer than 140 characters when I get the chance. I find that my online networks grow as my offline networks grows. That’s right to build your online community, you should look to go offline.
After the Expo, my Twitter and Facebook connections increased with familiar names of people I had met at the Expo. This allows us to continue the conversation and build the relationship online until we meet IRL (in real life) again. This is one of my personal favorite aspects of social media, continuing the conversation between meetings. I like to get to know people both professionally and personally, so being able to connect online really fosters that.
People ask me all the time about how to build their online networks and they seem surprised when I mention they should attend events such as Tweetups or conferences. I know they are really looking for a silver bullet-type answer, but the truth is building your community takes work and time. I find that the people I am most connected to offline are those that are most likely to interact with me online.
For this reason, be sure to make it easy for people to find you on online. Put your main social media accounts on your business card or add it to your email signature so when you send that follow-up email, all your contacts are readily available. Until, we meet IRL, I’m happy you stopped by to connect here. What has your experience been with connecting offline?