One of the real ways to get ahead in these online channels is to take things offline. To meet people in their protein forms. To share, to learn, to build and to grow. Never forget that.
There are still many brands that believe these online channels and platforms are filled with very lonely individuals who spend their time stealing music and illegally downloading Hollywood blockbuster movies while playing Warlocks in massively multiplayer online role-playing games. People who could never really influence anybody, let alone get a date. Those who are engaged online or those who take the time to scratch beneath the surface (just a little bit) know that those who think like that are actually the same people who are online. The demographics and psychographics are there. Almost everybody that any Marketer would like to reach has a significant online audience online, and they're not just lurking either - we're talking about very active participation and serious communities.
How do you really grow and make these online channels work for you?
Get out into the wild. Meet those you have met online and connected with for a coffee, invite them to lunch or - better yet - create a meet-up, unconference, tweet-up or attend an old-fashioned traditional convention. Not that connecting on Facebook or LinkedIn isn't "real", but nothing beats a real world meet-up. Always remember that you can't read body language online, and then there's that old saying that, "words account for only 7% of all communication."
Online social networks are not a substitute for pressing flesh.
They are an added component of relationships that allow you to keep those connections going during times when you can't meet in person. Never forget that.
Here are three immediate opportunities to connect: There is a PodCamp Montreal happening this weekend. The good folks over at Mesh have created Mesh Marketing, which is taking place in Toronto on October 22nd, 2009. It's also Advertising Week in New York City from September 21st - 25th, 2009. Beyond that, there are plenty of other opportunities happening in the next little while to make your online social networks really come to life. Now it's your turn to make them work for you by getting out there and meeting other like-minded individuals.
What are you waiting for?