Thanks to technology and the emergence of social media, we now have the ability to connect with a large number of people no matter where they are in the world. The popularity of communicating virtually has grown significantly in recent years. Instant messaging, email, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media channels have made it especially convenient to talk with anyone at anytime and from anywhere around the world. There is no doubt this trend will continue. For businesses, social media is a great tool to help you get discovered by potential customers through regular engagement and sharing of information. Everyday conversations and interactions lead to the purchase of products and services.
I know the value of social media and have experienced its power to help create connections with other people. I have found that my years of being involved on different social media platforms has helped me grow personally and professionally. Sad to say though, there are more and more entrepreneurs relying solely on virtual communication and questioning the value of face to face interaction in building their brands and gaining new customers.
Virtual Communication Versus Face To Face Interaction
Due to the economic recession the world has experienced in recent years, some companies have reduced the time and money it takes to have face to face meetings and interactions. Instead these companies are conducting all their communication virtually. With the need to cut expenses, trimming travel budgets has become an easy target. As business owners, we all want to make sure we are using our resources efficiently. Problems arise when we do not set goals in the beginning. If your goal is to grow your business in today's economy, you'll need to find a balance between virtual and face to face communication. You will also need to assess your priorities and find solutions that will help both you and your clients communicate more effectively.
Advantages Of Meeting Face To Face
I attend and speak at 1-2 conferences every month. Whether it's a trade show, convention or casual meet up, face to face interactions provide a significant business benefit you can't get from just utilizing social media, video conferencing, emails or even phone calls. There are some who argue that video conferencing is almost the same as face-to-face. In some cases they may be right, but mixing in a generous dose of in-person engagement can make a huge difference.
Whenever I speak at conferences, one strategy I always emphasize to my audience is that you cannot just do social, you need to be social in order for your business to grow. Here are some important benefits I have experienced from having in-person meetings and interactions:
Use Technology And Social Media To Extend The Conversation
In business, you really need to know how to work smart. As a smart marketer, you need to be able to marry both types of communication in your growth strategy as I have. Here are some techniques that can help you leverage technology and social media to extend the conversation before, during and after an event:
Before the event:
During the event:
After the event:
With the many technological advances in communication, it can be tempting to just rely on email or social media to interact with clients and prospective customers. Always look for opportunities to engage with people in real life. If you don't have the time or money to travel long distances, why not engage with prospective clients through local meetings and tweet-ups? Check events that are available to you locally. People want to do business and interact with other humans beings. Having said that, it is imperative you look for opportunities you can humanize your business or brand.
Both virtual communication and face-to-face interactions have specific benefits. In-person meetings facilitate engagement that helps us form stronger bonds that create long-lasting business relationships. While virtual communication, including social media, helps us keep the conversation fresh and alive, smart business owners find ways to combine both virtual and in-person interactions to build more meaningful and profitable relationships. Revisit your business objectives and strategies regularly. Check your metrics and maximize strategies that are working well. Do you factor in face-to-face meetings and interactions as part of your relationship building strategy? Share what works for you by leaving a comment below.
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