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3 Effective Ways to Leverage Your Online Networks in the Offline World

by Olufisayo
Ways to Leverage Your Online Networks

Once upon a time, and not so long ago, entrepreneurs might have had more offline contacts and networks. Before such a huge array of social media and other online networking venues were the staple they’ve become in the business world, professional upstarts had to make phone calls, write emails, send snail mail and simply get out there and hustle.

And now, well into the second decade of the existence of essential platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it seems the balance has shifted. It is far easier for many entrepreneurs to build an online presence these days, perhaps even becoming an industry influencer.

However, it is still vital to find ways to translate that online prowess to the the offline world, otherwise known as “the real world.” You may feel that you can reach potential clients or buyers by getting out there. But how?

Ways to Leverage Your Online Networks

We’ve all become so accustomed to focusing our efforts on coming up with a fun, funny, witty, sincere or hard-sell post and hitting send, anticipating instant likes and comments, that we’re out of practice when it comes to engaging face-to-face, via print or other tangible ways.

Here are three effective ways you can leverage your high-quality online networks in the offline world:

1. Become the Master of Your Networks

Take a good look at all of your networks to assess where your greatest strengths lie. Do you have a massive Twitter following that garners hundreds of likes per post? Or perhaps you’ve found your core audience on LinkedIn? Regardless of where your brand exposure is strongest, receiving the best response is where you may find the best path toward translating your online success to the offline realm. Joshua Cooper Ramo, thought leader and author of “The Seventh Sense,” notes the importance of mastering networks for everyone from entrepreneurs just starting out to those simply trying to garner more offline engagement.

In his book, Ramo provides exciting insights that serve as a preview to the next wave of networking that will meaningfully blur the lines between online and offline networking, focusing on connections formed around organic groups. This breaks from more traditional organizational conventions of the past, according to Harvard Business School: Working Knowledge. With these coming transformations in mind, you may find it easier to step out of the online box to meet your clients, colleagues and industry peers in the real world.

2. Actively Participate in Social Media Conversations

Sometimes it is easy to fall into the trap of launching a clever Tweet or posting a carefully drafted article link and letting it passively sit, awaiting response. There is a great deal of quid pro quo, also known as “The Rule of Reciprocity” in the social media world that you need to respect if you want to improve your offline engagement. Actively seek out posts that you find important, using keywords or acronyms in the search tool, and leave likes and comments that spur further comments. You never know who else is awaiting your insights. You may meet a new resource or potential client because of your effort. At the very least, you are further gaining exposure for yourself and your organization’s brand.

For local contacts you make, you can further build on The Rule of Reciprocity by suggesting the two of you attend a seminar or just meet at a local cafe for coffee and good conversation.

3. Offer to Teach a Class in Your Area

Share your expertise and insights at the local level. With all the cachet you’ve built online, use that as your launchpad to take those connections offline and en masse. Meeting with followers and professional friends, as well as offering them some fresh new ideas, is an ideal way to start some face-to-face conversations that may lead to a new project, partnership or purchase.

By ensuring that you are a listener as well as an influencer, stepping into the real world to offer your insights in-person and staying open-minded about the possibilities involved with blurring the lines between online and offline engagement in the next wave of technology, you are well on your way to building bold new real world networks.

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