Why Social Media will NEVER replace face-to-face Networking

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The Problem with Social Media

These, days with all of the social media and tech to stimulate our brains, we rarely live in the moment. People are having dinner with their spouses, sitting in business meetings and even crossing the road whilst using social media on their smartphone.

It’s not healthy for positive interpersonal relationships, and in actual fact, if you are out having dinner or a business meeting with someone, it is downright rude! The reality of the situation is that social media will never replace face-to-face networking.

Networking in both our business and personal lives plays a massive role in helping us to achieve success and personal happiness. How can we really do that effectively if we are hiding behind a laptop or smartphone 90% of the time?

Reasons why Social Media will NEVER replace Face-to-Face Networking

  • Humans are social creatures, and socialising face to face is important for well being.
  • You can’t tell people’s true facial expressions from social media or text messages.
  • You can’t sense sarcasm through social media.
  • Social Media can actually present an image about you that is far from the truth. Read the recent article on attn.com about Essena O’Neil (teen Instagram star) which highlights the contrast between social media perceptions and reality.
  • Social Media doesn’t allow for a personal relationship like face-to-face networking.
  • Social Networks can be hacked!
face-to-face networking
Image Credit: National Rural Knowledge Creative Commons on flickr.com

You can probably think of many other reasons why a face-to-face networking meeting is so much more effective than using Facebook or Twitter. But the bottom line is that it will never offer the interpersonal business relationship or friendship that we get from human interaction.

Does that mean that we shouldn’t use Social Media?

Absolutely not! I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t use social media at all because it is impersonal. I think that it should be used in business and personal relationships as those people see fit. But we simply need to be aware of the limits of social media. We need to keep things in check and avoid hiding behind the computer or smartphone, particular on big issues.

How to Combine Social Media and Face to Face Networking

Social media and face to face networking should compliment each other, not replace each other. You will probably find that people who you meet in person are then added to your connections online, whether it be through Linked In, Facebook, Twitter or a different social network. You may also find that some people who you virtually meet initially become business (or personal) contact in the real world (within reason and safe environments, of course).

Book yourself on some face-to-face business networking events and see who you meet. Chances are, it will be more profitable for your business and your social media following will grow automatically as a result. You could also consider making new business or personal relationships through www.meetup.com. Grow your network, grow yourself and grow you success.

Social media should help you to grow and cultivate relationships. It allows you to share tips of your trade and drop contacts a line saying ‘How are you doing today?’ It allows you to get a meeting firmed up in the diary, or to share marketing for a particular event. It can also be great for video conferencing someone who is abroad.

And don’t be all ‘me, me, me!’ when you do your social media marketing. Too much promotion can be overkill. One in ten promotional posts or tweets in fine.

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If you would like to read more about relationship building through social media, I highly recommend reading Mari Smith: The New Relationship Marketing. Mari Smith and Guy Kawasaki teach you how to build a large and profitable network using the web.

If you enjoyed this article you might also like to read about employees and social media use outside of work






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