Be it a business or an individual, the dramatic developments of social media have not gone unrecognised.

Social media is a means of connecting individuals and businesses in virtual communities, where they can create, share and exchange information and ideas.

As such, this relatively new online networking can in fact add value to the traditional offline networking, and vice versa: Here are 3 Top tips to help you get the best out of your networking experience:

1. Connect with other event attendees before an event

When a webpage is ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, users are entering into that virtual community of shared interests. Here you can share ideas and discuss opinions, and even be notified of offline events. In this way, you can already built up ‘relationships’ with the businesses, and indeed other users, prior to meeting at offline events. An example of where this is working well is the launch of the Rugby Business Network on 2nd July where a massive offline community (over 13,000 members world-wide) is now capitalising on this by connecting businesses ‘face to face’ at a local level.

2. Make sure you take action to follow through

At events, offline networking often involves ‘mingling’ and handing out business cards (over a glass of wine!). Adding another dimension to this would be to invite the business/ individual to join your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook network- it would even be an idea to mention this on the business cards. This would provide the opportunity to learn more about the user, online, and as another means of communicating. Successful networkers are those that take action – so take that business card and connect with people online to follow up an interesting conversation (say for example via LinkedIn). LinkedIn’s new Contact Feature has a mini CRM system to allow you to keep track of where you met, what you discussed and even has segmentation and reminders built in!

3. Stay connected

Once the user is within that online network, it is a lot easier and convenient (and cheaper!) to stay in contact after that first initial meeting. This can generate business opportunities with the contact, and even opportunities with businesses which have been recommended or you have been referred to, during the course of communication.

To observe and pinpoint this globally felt digital revolution, Mashable, a Scottish- American news website, technology and media blog, launched Social Media Day way back in 2010.

Over the last couple of years, Social Media Day Meetups have more than doubled with thousands of attendees worldwide.

A sociable day of media

To read and find out more about the 2012 event, view the videos and last year’s presentations.

This year, the said event is being run at Swindon’s National Self Build & Renovation Conference Centre on Friday 28th June from 14.30.

The stakes are high, but let’s make this year’s Meetup day bigger and better!

Calling to attendance are a host of speakers and networking opportunities:

  • Introduction by Rob Thomas, Director at WSI e-marketing. As an International Speaker who lives and breathes Social Technology, Social Media & Mobile Marketing, Rob will be giving a presentation on: “Where does Social Media fit into a successful eMarketing Strategy?” 
  • Keynote Speaker: Tamsin Fox-Davies, Published Author, International Speaker & Small Business Evangelist. Tamsin will be giving a Presentation on: “Social Media and eMail Marketing – How does that work!?” 
  • After the speakers have spoken, an organised speed networking is an opportunity for those that want to meet other local business leaders / owners and get the most out of the event.
  • Between 6:00 and 7:30 is a social time for those that want to stay a bit longer and network over a glass of wine/ soft drinks and nibbles.

The event is totally FREE which is jointly sponsored by Constant Contact, NSBRC & WSI – who have kindly provided the venue and refreshments, and WSI-eMarketing who are managing the communications around the event.

If you’re interested in attending you’ll need to do one of three things:

  1. If you aren’t already, join this official Swindon Mashable Community and mark yourself as ‘attending’ here. This group will be the focus for future such events so you’ll want to sign up to keep in touch.
  2. Join the Business South West LinkedIn page which has been specifically set up to provide networking before and after the event for all attendees.

Get directions to the NSBRC here.

So that’s real online to offline networking in action – see you there?

If you’ve had experience where offline networking has increased the value of offline networking, through engagement, pre or post, a face to face event, why not share you experiences or any other hints and tips here:

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    5 top tips on how to organically drive traffic to your website

    […] Get yourself out there and network. You can do this by attending events and speaking to businesses of interest. By networking offline, you will have the opportunity to meet and invite potential clients to join in on the various marketing platforms as a means of staying connected. This itself could generate business opportunities. Click here to find out how offline and online networking can benefit your business: http://blog.wsi-emarketing.com/3-top-tips-to-maximise-online-and-offline-networking/ […]

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