There’s no question that social media has changed the way we all communicate. Be it Twitter or Facebook; Yammer or Reddit; LinkedIn or Pinterest. We are all using these tools on a daily basis to share information, learn something new, have a laugh, and most importantly, connect with others. As we use social media to build our personal brands online, we often forget how important it can be to do so offline.
Last week, I attended the Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA. I’ve been attending these conferences for five years, and over the last three – social media has made these conferences even more enriching. How so? Well, I use Twitter and LinkedIn as an HR professional. Over time, I’ve virtually connected with other people in the field – whether practitioners, thought leaders, or academics – and when I arrived at the conference, I already had a network of people to interact with. But meeting these people in person, having a drink together and sharing an idea and a laugh, has helped solidify these relationships. Now these people know me a lot better. They’ve shaken my hand, seen the sincerity in my eyes. Meeting in person takes your relationship to a different level. Besides that – I was introduced to tons of people and made lots of new connections as well. I’ve added over 60 new followers to Twitter in the four days of the conference.
Sure online networking is easier; it’s less time consuming and you can do it any time – but the value added by connecting to people offline cannot be surpassed. When it really comes time to draw upon your network – people will be more comfortable working with or recommending you if they’ve met you offline.
Mike Spinale is a corporate Human Resources leader at a healthcare information technology company located outside of Boston, Massachusetts and is an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University. He has over eight years of experience in HR and management including career counseling, recruitment, staffing, employment branding, and talent management. Mike has dedicated his HR career to modern views on the field – HR is not about the personnel files – it’s about bringing on the best talent, ensuring they’re in the right seat, and keeping them motivated and growing in their careers. In addition, Mike is the author of the CareerSpin blog where he offers advice and opinion on job search, personal & employment branding, recruiting, and HR. Mike is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Babson College. He is also a board member of the Metro-North Regional Employment Board, a board which sets workforce development policy for Boston’s Metro-North region, and an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Northeast Human Resources Association.