So, you have a twitter account, or perhaps you have a facebook page for your business. A lot of people tell you to post on your social media 2-5 times a week and your audience will grow. Depending on your product or service, that could be true. Let’s face the truth though, you still need to get out into the community to do some face to face networking from time to time. Let’s think about how social media can help you maximize that networking effort.

Is there a better way?

First, let’s think about it from a perspective of connecting. Start with LinkedIn and see if the person you just met has a well filled out LinkedIn profile. If they are a business owner, do they have a Company page? Is it well developed? Can you see what their services are? Do they have videos that shows their products in use? Keep in mind, you might be asked to refer this person in the future, so do you respect what they are projecting about themselves and their business?

Make an effort to connect with them. When you do, write something meaningful in the connection request. Let them know you listened when they spoke and that you will be of value to them as a connection.

Are they giving value?

Next, see if they have a Facebook business page. Look under several possible spellings, as Facebook’s search is not always that great. If you find them, check out their page. Are they following Facebook’s rules for cover images? What kind of posts are they writing? If the posts are not helpful information or if they are simply trying to sell you at every possibility, is this someone you want to follow? If they are giving before the sale, as it were, make the effort to “Like” their page and engage with posts that are helpful by making relevant comments. That simple effort will help them and possibly you. It places your name in front of their other readers. It’s a way of starting a conversation, similar to walking up to a small group at a networking meeting.

If you have twitter, why not find out if they have a twitter brand page? If they do, what are they writing about? Are they critical or are they critical thinkers? Because twitter is a micro-blogging platform, you won’t get a lot of deep conversation, but often you will see thoughtful postings, or links to blog posts that they or others in their field have written. The power of Twitter for business is often in the searching, not the posting. You post to share knowledge, you post to ask thoughtful questions, or occasionally give value in special deals. What is this new contact doing on their twitter feed?

Can I save time?

So, in conclusion, I want you to think about how you connect with others you meet in networking events. The old way is to connect, maybe through email or phone, you see them around or meet for coffee but they never seem to send you a referral or tend not to follow up on the referrals you send them. This could take weeks or months of your time and effort to find out that they aren’t a good fit for your personal network. You might be able to save a lot of time and effort by checking out how they connect to the world already.

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How will this change the way you network?

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