Networking Happens Offline, Too.

Aug 2012
Donald Garcia, Katie Wagner Social Media, Aliso Viejo Lip Dub
Katie with Aliso Viejo Mayor Donald Garcia

This past weekend, the KWSM Staff participated in the Aliso Viejo Lip Dub. More than 1300 Aliso residents came out to make a video that will go up on YouTube to help publicize the city. We created a giant music video, lip syncing to the songs “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO.

(To get a better idea, check out this Lip Dub by the residents of Grand Rapids, MI)

The KWSM offices are in Aliso Viejo, and Stephen and I also live there. We love the sense of community that exists, and we are especially excited that the city has embraced social media. Aliso has a Twitter account, an e-newsletter and a YouTube channel.

Participating in the Lip Dub was a great way for us to bond as a team and network with others in our community – but it was also a good reminder that sometimes getting “social” means getting out from behind the computer, and interacting with people face to face.

As social media consultants, we spend a lot of time thinking of ways to engage an audience and build relationships. We put a lot of thought into initiating conversations and acting on feedback. But as seriously as we take this type of ‘networking,’ it’s only the first step in growing a business. Social media drives traffic to the website, or spurs people to make a phone call or send an email – but it doesn’t make the sale. It’s too early in the process. Business owners must take those early relationships, and turn them into a closed deal.

I posted a picture from the Lip Dub on our Facebook page and someone commented on it. At the event I had a business owner shake my hand and ask me about my company. Which one of those relationships is more likely to turn into a business deal?

It doesn’t mean that relationships formed on social media aren’t real. There are people I’ve met on Twitter or LinkedIn that I do feel close to. But the strongest relationships are always those forged IRL (‘in real life’). I find that when I take the time to grab coffee with someone I’ve met online, the connection intensifies. I’ve started relationships on social media that have led to clients, referrals, and even friends. But it’s usually when I take that next step that they become most productive.

Isn’t that human nature?

Social media is huge because people want to be heard. Social Networking sites give us a chance to post our comments and put our ideas out there.

But more than that, don’t people want to be listened to? Don’t we all crave the kind of understanding that comes from sitting across from someone and having them nod and smile as we talk?

Posting on social media is a fabulous way to build your company’s visibility and extend your reach, but the best way to close a deal is still with a handshake.




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