Complete the Social Circle: Taking Your Online Networking Offline

From my appearance on Rockstar Podcast

I had the opportunity to take my online social networks offline and connect with some new and old friends offline. A friend I met through Twitter gave a presentation on using social media for the DJ business at the Crowne Plaza in Edison tonight.  If you aren’t already familiar with Lorenzo Araneo or @screaminlunatic on Twitter you should be and this is a recommendation to follow what he does on the social platforms.

Social media can be an overwhelming marketing effort to add into your already busy marketing mix, but it is a necessary element to your overall brand, be it personal or business. If done correctly and seen as a complement to your offline marketing, the rewards are limitless. Personally, I enjoy connecting with people both on and offline and tonight’s event was a perfect opportunity to marry the two.

I knew Lorenzo would be there, obviously and other friends including Craig Caruso of Caruso Apps and Tony Neto from SCE Event Group were also in attendance. It’s been awhile since I had been able to catch any face-time with all of them so I decided to go. As the social media champion for my hotel, it also gave me an opportunity to get Sheraton Eatontown out and seen in the wedding market.

Unbeknownst to me I would also meet Greg from Ambient DJ’s and Adam Skuba from Skuba Entertainment.  Greg and I have conversed through Twitter and the Sheraton account before and we were able to take the online connection and meet like old friends. These are the types of opportunities I most enjoy. Seeing connections come full circle.

A few takeaways I’d like to share from Lorenzo’s presentation tonight are:

1. Your social sites should be driving traffic to your biggest sales tool besides yourself and that is your website. Don’t reverse it by driving people to your Facebook page first. What if Facebook goes away in a few years? Websites will pass the test of time while social sites will continue to evolve and there is always potential for the new “next best thing”.

2. Evaluate the time you are spending on social platforms and stick to the 80% business. Resist the urge to check the “red flags” on your personal  accounts. While on your business pages use your time to connect, like and interact with affiliate businesses that can help drive a potential customer to you in the form of referrals. This is networking my friends.

3. This one is a gem. allows you to set up alerts sent to your email whenever any business you set them up for posts on Facebook. This has value for accounts you want to stay up to date with and also allow you to spy on your competition and see what they are putting out there. Alerts can also be added by URL so it’s possible to include other platforms like Twitter or blogs.

4. Twitter is not about what people are having for lunch – Facebook actually is. (This one made me laugh and it’s because I SO agree!) Twitter is made most useful when listening, make that the goal. Use and use it a lot. Think of it as the Google of conversation.  Do a Twitter search for your top keyword and see what comes up.  How you can interact with customers as a person? Don’t be robotic.

5. Speaking of which, people are emotional by nature.  Tap into that. Empathy is your biggest ally here. Don’t go for the hard sell. Be empathetic, be real and the rest will naturally come.

6. This one also made me laugh: Don’t charge 2012 rates and offer 2006 services. Get in it, get on it.

7. A lot of uncertainty surrounds Google+, embrace it today for it could be the Twitter or Facebook of tomorrow.

8. Have a fundamental understanding of why you are present in the online social space. Without the why you can’t have goals. Without goals it’s awfully difficult to be successful or at the very least measure your success.

9. Do pro bono work for segments that hold a special spot in your heart. Lorenzo chooses seniors and Vets. Yours are something that means something to you. Don’t shout about it, just do it well and the rewards, besides warming your heart will come.

10. Finally use platforms like LinkedIn and Quora to answer questions and build yourself up as a topic expert. Becoming an information resource has social proof and is so valuable to both your personal and professional branding.

Relationships take work. Nothing happens overnight and nothing of value comes without effort put into it. Open yourself to the ability to network in the online space and you open so many more opportunities to connect with people. Fostering these relationships and being easy to know in the on and offline space will open up your world. I’d love to hear about your successes in the social space both on and offline below. Comment away and thank you for reading.