Tuesday, 9 June 2015

A New Focus on Networking.

Social Media is a valuable source of making new connections - although not everyone would agree. Would you?  Has face-to-face networking still got a place?

Much networking is carried out via Twitter (business) Facebook (mainly social but also some business through groups and 'pages'), Linked In (business) and other sites too numerous to mention. And let's face it. Lone working can be lonely and isolating.

Connections and links via social media do not, I feel, eat into creative and business time as much a business meetings can. I do a lot in the evenings with my small Net book computer on my knee while the TV churns out its evening schedule.

However, the value of face-to-face networking for business cannot be underestimated. Of course, it is easy to plunge into committing oneself to a huge variety of meetings that eventually, can take over your life and be detrimental to production.

Am I speaking from experience? Or is this a sweeping statement?

Recently I was forced to take a step back and review my involvement with various 'hubs' of networking. Over the last few years, as I stepped into a world where I was virtually 'on my own' without the cushion and comfort of a large organisation where many meetings for planning and review were integral to my role, I embraced many new opportunities for connecting to like-minded people in my areas of business. marketing my brand (Rosalie Marsh),my products (books), my availability for speaking on both genres, and 1:1 consultations and workshop delivery for professional development.

As a writer of different genres - travel and career/employability development - I was keen to spread the word. Well, to be exact, my word and to open up areas for getting my products (books) known to a wider  audience where distribution is worldwide.

On reflection and after some trial and error, it became clear what worked for me and what didn't. Recently, new opportunities have arisen not only in the writing world but the business world as well. I often hear:
'I hate Facebook. I don't want the world to know my private business etc.,'  ' I don't like Twitter.' Privacy is in the user's control. Limit who can see what. Sever connections if not suitable. 
Facebook business pages reach a different audience but often stem from 'friends' on the personal pages.
Twitter is a window to the world depending on which users you follow. I love to get the latest news from on line publications as it is published. I love to keep connected to family through quick posts, private or otherwise. As I write, Tweet Deck pop-ups are giving me me news from various local and national newspapers and books sites.
Linked In is more for business and professional debate. It has proved very useful in reaching yet a different audience.
Local Community Radio appearances have stemmed from conversations on Facebook and Twitter.

To go back to my question  'Has face-to-face networking still got a place?' I would say yes and yes again. It is good to get out there to connect and interact in person.
Facebook has been valuable in connecting me to both writing and business groups with opportunities for face-to-face networking and connections. Twitter too, has opened up new doors and opportunities for connections. The new #Wrexham Hour on a Wednesday evening has proved successful in opening new doors with one conversation leading to a new connection which then led to a business group on Facebook.
Some of my Linked In connections - people who new me in another period of my life - have been pro-active in providing reviews for my business books.

My final message is that constant review of current approach and activities is essential. If what works for one section/area of business does not work for another - change your approach to suit the needs of that area. 

But don't let it take over your life. Be disciplined.