Networking. Still a key element to growing any business, but with the surge of social media platforms, is the old offline, group meeting style of networking now dead? Certainly not, if my morning was anything to judge by.
Recently I have made it my mission to attend more exhibitions and networking events in the effort to boost my personal profile, as well as that of iThinkMedia. Concentrating on local events has been something that has proved very fruitful, so I have tried to attend more and more. This morning was the launch of the Park Inn Networking Group
, or conveniently named PING. The purpose of the group is: “a fortnightly meeting for Harlow Businesses which combines face-to-face networking with practical advice on Social Media.” For me, this group is combining the best elements of networking, as there is a great LinkedIn group
which has questions from inquisitive novices of social media, as well as some great hints and tips from more of the well versed within the world of social media. But this is all followed up with fortnightly face-to-face meetings.
The networking event was opened by Harlow’s MP Robert Halfon, who to my surprise was a great social media advocate. Dropping in a subtle plug for his own Twitter account, (@halfon4harlowMP
) I was encouraged for how much Robert championed the benefits of social media.
Then to the ‘mingling’. There was some great conversations taking place with a very diverse mix of people in attendance, which initially I though could be a problem. However, the structure of the meeting was taken hold of by organisers Ian Hudson
and Vance Rowe
– two guys who by no means claim to be social experts, but can hold a good networking event!
The meetings have different focuses each time, with the launch focusing on the benefits of using YouTube for your business. Now this may seem a very basic concept for some, but the interaction and questions that resulted from this demonstration clearly showed that the information being presented was just what attendees were after. With some help from some of the attending professionals, such as a great new contact I have made in Frintan Lambe of Popcorn Web Design
, advice was given to all those new to the world of YouTube. All in all, I found this a most useful networking group and would hopefully like to present to the group in the future.
But is social media taking over the need for offline networking? Possibly. But I do not think you can ever replace the need to meet people face-to-face and create a true connection. But I may be wrong, so please leave your comments below and let me know what you prefer – online or offline networking, or both? And of course, as this is a piece about networking, please don’t forget to follow me on twitter (find all the details below!).