face marketing needs all the help it can get to maximize its potential and if
technology can help, then all the better. But technology cannot replace the
meeting a vendor or customer and talking about issues eye-ball to
eye-ball. Meeting face to face is how we form opinions of people and the institutions that employ them.
When we can integrate the technology to enhance
our interpersonal contacts, then we become winners in this brand new – very old
game of networking.
In a recent issue of Trade Show Executive, I read an interesting article about
Magic Stick, the winner of the TSE 2009 Innovation Award. Magic Stick is a small
about the size of a computer memory stick that you carry with you. When
you see someone also carrying a Magic Stick you can electronically exchange
You each aim, push a button and voila - you are networked.
Welcome to the age of High-Tec social networking whose first victims may very
well be the handshake and a business card. Twitter, Facebook, Web 2.0,
LinkedIn, Flickr, LibraryThing, Ning, Jaiku, EventPeeps, are here to
stay. There is nothing we can do about it nor should we for fear of being
labeled Luddites. We should
embrace social networking as a positive technology
to help us build our personal networks.
This discussion is reminiscent of a time – a
decade ago – when the world was a twitter (oops) about something called a
virtual trade show and how this heralded the death
of face-to-face marketing as
we knew it. What happened to virtual exhibitions was that they became an
integral part of larger face-to-face events providing year round
products, services and education. What was feared to be an enemy became a
powerful ally. The same, I am guessing, will happen to social networking sites.
Face to face marketing needs all the help it
can get to maximize its potential and if technology can help, then all the
better. But technology cannot replace the power of
meeting a vendor or customer
and talking about issues eye-ball to eye-ball. Meeting face to face is how we
form opinions of people and the institutions that employ them.
When we can
integrate the technology to enhance our interpersonal contacts, then we become
winners in this brand new – very old game of networking. Here are a few
as you go about building a productive and profitable network.
- Networks are not mailing
lists – Social scientists tell us that each of us has approximately 200
people in our network. When you misuse the technology and
build lists that
include thousands of contacts you are clearly misusing the tool.
- Find your six degrees of
separation – Each of your 200 people also has a network of two hundred, each
of their two hundred has two hundred as well.
If you take 200 to the sixth
power the number is slightly more than six billion which coincidentally
includes everyone on the planet. Learning how to tap
into these sub-networks
opens you to unlimited potential. If you look carefully you can find anyone
you want to contact through your six degrees of
- Don’t abuse your network
– this is so easy when you simply use your network for commercial purposes.
The people in your network are folks you have
made a personal contact with.
They have families, worries and dreams. When you can treat your network as
an extension of yourself and treat these
people as individuals you cannot
- Stay in touch – there’s
not much point meeting someone at a trade fair, exchanging information and
not staying in touch. Treat your network as a living
breathing thing that
needs attention or it will simply wilt and die.
- Make it a 24/7 habit –
don’t just built your network in times of need. You should be constantly
looking for opportunities to expand your sphere of influence.
Social networking is quickly finding its place in the face-to-face marketing
world. When you combine the power of your interpersonal skills to build your
network and then
- Give something back – If
your network is a living entity then it needs food to survive. The food you
provide is in your willingness to give back. This means
being constantly on
the lookout to offer advice, contacts or a friendly word to your 200 people.
integrate technology to record the experience and maintain
contact you have a winning combination.