Relationship-Building: Transitioning Online to IRL

Social media is a philosophy. It’s how we engage as human beings. It’s doing the right thing. And it’s being open, honest and transparent. But, it also has its pitfalls. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.

Well, Women’s Health magazine says there are 15 defining moments of a relationship. A relationship online or IRL (in real life) still has milestones we have to reach. But transitioning from online to IRL is not easy. We, as humans, crave deeper connections. Do you consider it dating someone if that relationship has only been online? Honestly, I wouldn’t. It might actually be a little creepy. So, how do you bridge to that — the IRL relationship?

I’m no expert, but here are a few tips I’ve found along the way.

Be at the right place, at the right time.
This is the hardest tenet, but it also means you have to seek out opportunities too. Sure it’s coincidence that you may be on a plane with someone you. Someone wise once told me, you never know who you’ll sit next to on that next flight. And time and time again, I’ve been amazed by just taking out my headphones.

Face to face / voice to voice.
That first phone call is a little unnerving. Reacting in real-time and in more than 140 characters. As we would online, listen first and invest in the relationship. Working with bloggers and customers, what I’ve learned is take more time listening to how their day went, what they are looking for and then working to propose a solution.

Don’t force it.
I admire the people who can just walk up to someone and talk to them. But often when I stick around, I’m turned off by the cut to the chase mentality. Don’t walk into a room thinking what can you do for me, but what can I do for you. The key here is to be genuine and a little self-less.

Be open to expanding your network. 
The key is – be open. I’ve met some incredible people through networking online – primarily Twitter. From chatting about my favorite TV show (insert plug for Fringe here), learning social media trends and best practices, or professional career coaching – I’ve been floored by the broad network of people.

Commit and invest.
You get out what you put into it. So spend the time and invest in those relationships. I know we get busy, hell – I haven’t posted for months, but when you can, carve out some time to invest. That one person you worked with on one project for a client, may end up being a lifelong friendship. Use the tools to maintain the relationship. I use Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with both my online and IRL friendships.

Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Posted on February 25, 2012, in Marketing, Professional, Public Relations, social media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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