I was reminded of something very important today, and thanks to social media’s popularity, it’s something I feel people too often forget. Social media has added many new elements to the communication mix, but it will never trump the value of an in-person conversation. Do NOT forget this! Yes, social networks are great platforms for meeting and developing relationships with people who you may have never known it if weren’t for connecting online. But there is something so valuable about having a face-to-face discussion with someone. Social media will never replace that.
It’s important for PR pros to remember this. If there is a local reporter or blogger you frequently work with, invite him/her to get coffee or lunch. Don’t use that in-person meetup as an opportunity to talk up your clients, rather a good chance to get to know that person better. The convo may naturally evolve to talking about what stories that person is working on or what clients you work with, but don’t immediately lead the discussion in that direction. Also think of this as an opportunity to establish credibility and trust. You’ll likely listen to someone you trust, right? Reporters and bloggers will be more likely to return an email or phone call when you reach out with a story idea if they know and trust you.
Same goes for clients. Try to meet at least once a month in person with your local clients to help grow that relationship outside your typical e-mail and phone communication.
We’re all busy, but don’t let communicating on e-mail and social networks become so second nature that you forget the importance of a good old in person chat. It’s OK to step away from your desk every so often. I promise the work will still be there when you return!