Real world social networking is not perhaps as fashionable since the rise of social media but the benefits of face-to-face contact with people means that it can never really be replaced. Twitter and Facebook are becoming ever more important tools for businesses to communicate with their target markets and keep in touch with competitors, but can these mediums ever really rival human contact?
Business clusters – where companies working in the same field are situated in the same area – demonstrate the importance of real world social networking. The most famous example of this is perhaps Silicon Valley, which is home to many of the world’s largest and most influential technology centres. Working in an environment dedicated to the field has helped entrepreneurs thrive in the area and has led to the creation of many new businesses.
In the UK we have the lesser known Silicon Roundabout, an area just off Old Street whose cheap rents and fashionable underground lifestyle originally attracted a young tech crowd in the early 2000s. Now, it is the technology hub of the moment.
Real world social networking in these business clusters is said to have three major benefits: firstly, it increases productivity; secondly, it drives innovation due to the heightened competitive environment; finally, it creates new business in the area, because once an area is established as a hot spot for a specific field, similar businesses gravitate towards the area.
Although we’ve embraced social media at SilverDoor, we still realise the importance of real world networking and make a conscious effort to build face-to-face relationships with as many of our clients and suppliers as possible. Simple things like hearing someone’s voice and looking them in the eye give us a sense of who they are and allow for a relationship to develop based on trust and mutual understanding, which is much more difficult to achieve through more impersonal mediums.
Email and social networking sites, although great for reaching a wide audience, are not as influential or effective as face-to-face meetings. Emails can be considered spam and business cards discarded, but a face is much more difficult to forget. This human interaction also gives our clients a chance to hear the conviction behind the statements we make: an email can be filled with empty promises, but this is hard to fake in real life situations.
Real world social networking gives us the opportunity to showcase what we’re good at: working with people. We’re proud of our ability to communicate effectively both within and outside of the office, except when the ITM Dragon Boat Race comes round in July – then, it‘s SilverDoor against the world!