http://images.eventsinamerica.com/images_users/user4cd6d77ebe289_1.jpg     Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
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Barry Siskind's Articles


Social Networking and Face-to-Face Marketing


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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.

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 gadget,
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 contact information.
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, SecondLife,
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
exposure to 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
thoughts 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
    separation.
  • 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 lose.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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
integrate technology to record the experience and maintain contact you have a winning combination.
 
 

© 2012 by Barry Siskind