Face to Face is Social Too!

November 26, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                              return to JayVee Media Link LLC

handshake over coffee cupFacebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, You Tube, Instagram.  We have all bases covered when we think about social marketing.  We get so busy searching for target markets in our niches, creating and sharing quality content, reaching out and engaging that our whole world becomes an online presence.  It was in this cyber whirlwind that I came across an interesting question in a LinkedIn group forum:  “Is meeting for coffee wasting your time?”

At first I thought the poster was joking.  But it soon became apparent the query was something with which the social media immersed gentleman was truly struggling.

One of the main objectives of social media marketing is building a bond of trust with our clients.  This is so essential, since people are naturally wary of others they meet and interact with online.  How can we REALLY know who is on the other end of our internet connection?  One of the best ways to nurture trust is to allow our brands’ human side to show.  Is there a quicker way to do this than to meet with our current/potential clients?  Of course, judgment and strategy are necessary in order to make optimal use of our valuable time.  If it is geographically feasible, and we feel there may be mutually beneficial business potential, it would be foolhardy not to take the time to meet for coffee.  This is true if the benefit comes by way of quality referrals as well as direct business transacted.

The forum question received many responses.  Every one of them emphasized the importance of face to face meetings as part of our marketing strategies.  Discussion included properly respectful behavior; i.e., not hard selling, but informally discussing business.  The closest thing to a negative reply simply reminded us not to participate if it is impractical, or if we have good reason to suspect that no business gain will come of the meeting.  All told, the comments gave the practice a big thumbs up.

This was my submitted response to the question of whether meeting clients for coffee is a waste of time:

“There’s no understating the importance of a face to face meeting, especially when a business operates primarily online. A coffee shop meeting allows connections to see and interact with a brand’s human side. That’s what we labor for online, because showing that human side is a key factor in building trust. And trust increases the chance of business transaction and/or productive referrals. A face to face meeting over coffee expedites our efforts to allow potential clients to come to know and trust us!”

Another discussed facet of meeting for coffee was the idea of sitting down with peers in our industry in addition to doing so with clients. Aside from the fact that peers can become clients, there are other good reasons to make the time to meet them as well.  Commenter Urban Renstrom said it best:

Urban Renstrom • “It is invaluable meeting people.
Top 5 reasons to F2F (face to face)
1)potential business together
2)understand their business better
3)your network may need their service
4)Get content ideas
5)A fresh perspective
and naturally sharing a cup of coffee.”

Do you meet peers and/or clients for coffee?  What are your thoughts regarding the practice?  Please share them in the comments section below!

coffee cup with business card

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2 thoughts on “Face to Face is Social Too!

  1. Hello,
    In my opinion there are good reasons to make the time to meet potential clients/customers as well. There is only so much you can learn about someone online. If you actually meet someone (for coffee,lunch, etc) you can learn much more about them and have a better chance of doing business with them. I personally speak to many people on the phone so that we may learn more about each other because my customers and potential customers are spread out across the entire United States and Canada, therefor meeting them is not a realistic possibility. I believe that any type of meeting whether it be in person or on the phone can expedite our efforts to let potential clients/customers be able to know and trust each other, hence the better chance of doing business.
    Regards,
    Ken

    • Thanks for your input, Ken! I couldn’t have said it better! A few of the people who commented on the LinkedIn discussion forum for this topic also mentioned using a service like Skype to virtually meet for coffee with current/potential clients who are too far away to physically meet in person. Using such a service allows a face to face discussion regardless of the distance apart we are! I think it can accomplish the same goal where an actual, real world meeting can’t be accomplished.

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