Why Networking Socially Beats Social Networking Every Time

by Jason Falls |

Add friends, send Digg shouts, use the @Twitter function all you want, the real way to grow your blog, business or network of contacts is to pry yourself away from the keyboard, the PDA and interact with other human beings.

MiltonYes, Milton, this mean’s you.

As I ready for Blog World & New Media Expo next week in Las Vegas, I’m compelled to follow good advice and make a list of folks I want to meet, even if it is just for coffee, a cocktail or a handshake and face-to-name connection in the hallway. Even if I do have the advantage of accompanying super blogger Rob May and entrepreneurial whiz Todd Earwood for easy introductions, there are folks I want to connect with that might be scared off by Earwood.

And that’s besides the strippers.

Then I remembered a similar post I wrote prior to SMX Social Media in New York a couple weeks ago and how it really proved fruitful in growing my network.

Here’s a case study and reasons I’ll have more success networking socially than social networking next week. While some figures are estimates, here’s a look at some key influencer stats pre-SMX and post SMX. Notice the timeframe of measurement is a month and a half for pre-SMX and just a couple weeks for post-SMX.

Influencer Comparison

What does the information tell you? The key elements for me are A) Increased trafficand B) Increased feed subscriptions which means repeat traffic. What the information doesn’t tell you, though, is the quality of that traffic. Several top bloggers within the social media, web strategy and public relations space have visited or even commented. So it’s not just networking, it’s networking with influencers. Does this mean I’ll suddenly become one? No. But if I continute to engage and participate with them in meaningful and interesting ways, it might.

Why offer this information? (Particularly considering it establishes public awareness that compared to those I’m networking with, I don’t have a great deal of traffic, subscribers or even friends … sniff, sniff.) Because it shows, to a point, the impact of networking socially at SMX Social Media had on this particular blog.

Replicating that success at Blog World Expo is a general goal and one that I think can be achieved since there will be far more people at BWE and, as mentioned, I’ve got Super Blogger and Tonto there to assist in the meet and greet. Plus, I’ll be networking with people outside the confines of search marketing, SEO and social media.

And aren’t we all Om Malik fans?

My schedule in Las Vegas includes sitting in on a combo presentation from Jeremiah Owyang and Chris Brogan, who guys I read often. My hope is that I can at least buy them a drink. Of course, considering how many times I’ve linked to Jeremiah in the last month, maybe he should buy.

And Mark Cuban is keynoting there, but getting a handshake with him is probably being monetized as we speak.

Other presenters I hope to find a second with include (In no order as the last entry, a guy I totally dig, will prove) Debbie Weil, Mike Arrington, Brian Clark, Rohit Bhargava, Andy Beal, Maggie Koran Fox, Vanessa Fox, Paul Gillin, Shel Israel, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Aaron Wall and Brian Solis.

(Sorry others, I’m not going to be gratuitous and list you all. I’d love to catch you, too.)

Then there are attendees! As far as I know, I might find Jeremy Pepper (another person whose Kool-Aid I’m glad to swig) and any other number of others to connect with.

In fact, if you are coming and I didn’t list you here, email me (jason at jasonfalls.com) and let me know.

And forking over registration fees, airline tickets and hotel room charges (Not to mention withdrawing $600 in ones, right Todd?) isn’t necessary to accomplish some great networking done socially. Perhaps the most valuable connection I made surrounding SMX Social Media was Brian Wallace of NowSourcing.com who I met for coffee right here in Louisville.

So, go ahead. Digg shout. Ampersand Twitter. Friend, poke or even super poke. You still won’t grow your blog (or your business) with out a little grip and grin.

[tags]social networking, networking, BlogWorldExpo, bloggers, influencers[/tags]

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).