Confessions of a new media marketing consultant:
As a new media marketing consultant who exclusively works with small businesses, I have the pleasure of connecting with thousands of professionals from all walks of life. Not only are their areas of expertise incredibly diverse but so are their referral marketing strategies.They belong to a wide range of professional organizations and hail from every corner of the globe. I get to listen to their concerns, opinions, and ideas about referral networking and small business growth.
One question that often comes up is, “Do you think that face-to-face networking groups have a future?”
Just surf the net and it can be hard to believe anyone still makes time for face-to-face. The new “site of the year”, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, are fun, entertaining, and at times useful. This avalanche of new tools, media hype and even peer pressure can make networking in the new millennium a very complicated endeavor… oh yeah, and you’ve got a business to run.
We all have colleagues who’ll evangelize any Web 2.0 technology that crosses their plate; maybe even stop at nothing to get you involved too. There’s nothing wrong with being an early adopter but remember, “time” is the new commodity; not “money”. Simply understanding this concept makes you more savvy than 90% of the people peddling their wares on Twitter. Clearly define your goals and be sure all your endeavors are time well spent.
I think you’ll find face-to-face networking is still one of your most valuable investments.
I only see the value of face-to-face networking increasing exponentially as our professional lives become more inundated with digital clutter. One trusted colleague is worth a thousand Tweets.
Whether your mantra is “Givers Gain”, “Meet, Learn, Grow”, or just plain “Let’s Exchange Referrals”; groups like BNI, Rainmakers, or even personal referral circles will become increasingly valuable in the years to come.
Shoot me an email and I’d be more than happy to share my expertise.
*Wait a Minute, Isn’t Referral Key a Social Networking Site?
No, Referral Key is not a social networking site and it was not designed to replace face-to-face relationships. “Trust is Key” which is why we encourage new members to invite people they actually know and trust to exchange and manage referrals within a private network. Members of meet up groups find Referral Key particularly complimentary because it has tools to help them strengthen their existing professional relationships.