The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Turning Social into Physical

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The cynics see Social Media as virtual reality or a computer game. “You’re not really meeting or talking to people” is the typical comment. And they are right to an extent. Much of social media usage can appear like collecting butterflies – aesthetically pleasing but ultimately a listbuilding exercise.

One of the things I have been looking at is how to break out of the virtual and into the real world. After all, in the real world sometimes an email, or even a phone call, can’t replace the benefits of a face-to-face meeting. In some ways this is the real opportunity. Social Media is fantastically easy to wield as a way of getting introductions to like-minded people (Facebook Groups), huge crowds of people happy to communicate (Twitter) and large numbers of business contacts (LinkedIn).

I’ve gone up to people in shops and in the street and introduced myself as a Twitter follower (I really have), and I’ve arranged meetings from LinkedIn contacts to discuss general topics and the response has been favourable. In some ways it would be impolite to not say hello if you have the opportunity – you’ve already learned quite a bit about each other.

So here are some tips to help ease the process along:

1. Create the links in the first place off something concrete and make the invitations meaningful. If your first introduction refers to a conference you both attended some years ago the link is more tenuous than making it your policy to see if people you met yesterday are on LinkedIn.

2. If you are an Engager in Social Media it will clearly be far easier than if you are a Lurker. If you lurk a physical approach is only saying “Hey, we’re both on Facebook” whereas if you are already engaging in dialogue its more like “Nice to meet you finally, lets carry on the conversation”.

3. As with all communication you need to have a context. Why are you wanting to say hello? If the answer is just that you want to sell them something you can join a long and fruitless queue; if you want to learn and share most people will be happy to join in.

The most powerful networks, virtual or real, are the ones which are actionable. Try testing yours….

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Written by greencontact

March 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

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