With social networking such a hot topic these days, we wanted to know what you thought about online versus in-person networking. Which really works best?
A total of 477 readers responded to the poll, and an overwhelming majority said that in-person networking is the most effective of the two.
We asked: “Which is more effective?” Here’s how the results break down:
At first glance, that seems shocking, especially for a web-based poll!
But a closer look revealed that while readers think in-person networking is effective, sentiment was that relying only on one type of networking isn’t a good idea.
Instead, a balance of in-person and online networking gives people the best of both worlds: the convenience and low cost of networking online, and the benefit of building strong, authentic relationships by networking face-to-face.
So, how can you balance in-person networking with online? Here are three tips to get you started.
1) Bring your offline network online. Using a site like LinkedIn, you can befriend people from your in-person networks through social media, giving you more opportunities to connect, share, and relate.
2) Meet your online network offline. At conferences, Tweetups, and other networking events, make an effort to meet – in person – contacts you’ve made online. This will help you gain the value of in-person networking with contacts you’ve formed through social networking.
3) Invest in each network regularly. Don’t abandon your network once you’ve built it! When you’ve had the opportunity to cultivate in-person relationships with people you’ve met online, continue growing the relationship through conversation, interaction, and engagement online. And don’t get so busy networking online that you miss out on local or regional opportunities to re-engage with your network in person. Make it a goal to attend at least one in-person networking event each month.
What are your tips for balancing in-person and online networking? Share your ideas in the comments!
This poll was posted to Refresh Leadership and to the Express Career blog from March 2 to March 31, with a total of 477 responses. Express readers posted comments to both polls. Read all the comments at: Old School or New School Networking: Which Works Best? and The Networking Wars: Does Online or In-Person Work Best?