One of the things I have always tried to do when I connect with professionals online is to finally get a chance to meet them in person. It’s wonderful to have these amazing conversations, but it’s even better to be able to have them face-to-face. This week, I had a chance to meet two professionals I have had several great conversations with this past year in person.

Why is it important to connect offline with online contacts? Here are some reasons I believe this is super important today in social media.

  • You get to see the complete person. It’s all good to have online conversations on various topics, but if you have a chance to meet someone face-to-face, it creates a completely 360 degree perspective on a person. You get a chance to see – hey! Is this person the same offline as they are online? Having a balanced approach to how you present yourself is key here for today’s landscape.
  • An opportunity for your contacts to know you as well I have a bucket list of people I want to meet from my communities on social media. By meeting someone in real life, they get to know you as well as well.
  • Bridging from just online connection to real friends and colleagues. With all of the advances we are seeing in social media, many times, some of our best friends came from connecting online. As far as colleagues and professional friends go, I can say this is true for me. Many of the #SMprofs I have collaborated with started off as online friends and connections. This is one of the many reasons why I am super thankful for social media! I’ve had a chance to meet some amazing people over the years.

I had a chance to visit my sister Kristin and brother-in-law Scott this week in Washington D.C., and it also gave me a chance to meet up with some great #SMsports colleagues. Amir Zonozi, who works for a great analytics and social media listening tool Zoomph, and Geoffrey Blosat, who is a digital analyst for the Washington Redskins.

Both Amir and Geoffrey have been very engaged and active in the social media community. I was able to connect with them both last year when I was at the Washington Redskins Social Media Day virtually, and it was awesome. In addition, both have been super supportive for my social media classes and students. In fact, Amir is going to be a guest speaker for my Advanced SM class (#FrebergSM) and Geoffrey will be a returning speaker for my social media class (#Freberg18) this spring! Very excited!

We all had a chance to meet up and chat at the Zoomph offices and catch up. We talked about all aspects of social media, sports, and what is happening in the industry. We laughed, joked around, and shared stories of our experiences and what we are seeing happening in social media.

Amir had given Kristin and I a tour of the Zoomph offices (each office was color coded for a social media platform – which was awesome! Loved the Twitter colored office of course!) Amir also gave all of us their new Zoomph T-Shirts that say Data Nerds on them. Zoomph has the best social media swag! Thanks, Amir!

It was like we were able to pick up exactly how we left off online. Both Amir and Geoffrey were EXACTLY how they are online – both amazing professionals and friends.

In summary, if you are able to connect with friends from social media in person – whether it is at a conference or when you are in the same city as they are – it’s totally worth it. I am very grateful to both Amir and Geoffrey for taking the time to chat and meet with me during my visit in D.C. Thank you, Amir and Geoffrey!

How do you go about in doing this? Here are some things to note:

  • Share you are going to be in the area to set up a group meet up. I have seen many people in my network host meet ups to get everyone together. Jess Smith and Mark Burns do this very well when they get social media and sports professionals together (one of these days, I’ll try to make it to one!)
  • Check in and say I’m here!: I have done this a few times when I am at conferences and let your community know where you are. I have had a chance to meet up with former students this way from Dallas to Chicago for meet ups as well.
  • Reach out to people specifically. Let them know you are in town and would love to meet up. I always try and see who all is in the area and see what their schedule looks like. Most of the time, we are able to meet over coffee (yay!) and chat. Sometimes, it’s been like this case where I have been able to meet at an office.  See what their schedules look like and what works for everyone.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,