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The social media benefits of networking – Emma Maria-Coffey

by: Emma Maria-Coffey
  • 24/02/2015
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The social media benefits of networking – Emma Maria-Coffey
"Surprise, surprise, the unexpected hits you between the eyes." So sang our Cilla for so many years that it surely couldn't have been a surprise to anyone that the programme was eventually taken off air.

I’ve also often thought that while meeting a long-lost relative from somewhere would perhaps be a rather lovely surprise, if the said ‘surprise’ was a Number 73 bus ‘hitting you right between the eyes’ then you probably wouldn’t be that keen on them.

But anyway, what was my point? Surprises. Where do we get them from these days? Friends? Relatives? Absolutely. Completely strangers? Well, this is less likely unless you’re being filmed for a secret video show which will eventually end up on You Tube/Facebook with the title, ‘You won’t believe what this person did next’.

Anyway, the fact is that life can be full of surprises – nice ones – if you’re an active user of social media. I’m often confronted with the argument against, for example, using Twitter because, “It doesn’t bring any business in”. Nothing could actually be further from the truth and I will outline just how surprises and new business can actually be the same thing.

Earlier this month someone within the finance industry tweeted that they were in need of some help with regard to some legal issues they were currently going through. I won’t get into details because well it’s not the actual point here. Anyway, I didn’t see the tweet in question – I’m not on social media every single minute you understand – but obviously other people did.

One in particular, a mortgage broker, did and responded that the person in need should contact me. It’s what I believe they call in this business, a recommendation. No big deal, I hear you say. Except for the fact that I had never met the broker in question or dealt with them; they do not use Blacks Connect and as far as I was aware they didn’t know me from Adam (or Eve). But they did know me from Twitter and had obviously seen some of my tweets and thought I would be able to help.

The upshot of all this was that yes I was able to step in and that clearly went down well with the person who had issued the original tweet. But, it also meant the start of a new business relationship with the broker who’d made the recommendation. I contacted them to say thanks, we recently met up, they have now registered with Blacks and business is already being placed.

The point is that none of this would have happened without social media engagement. How would the three of us ever have come into contact? It would have had to have been a networking event at which the three of us met up, and randomly by chance, were able to go through the same chain of events all in person. To say this would have been unlikely in the extreme is an understatement however online and on social media this is a completely natural way to interact and develop relationships.

So, if you’re still not in the ‘social media club’ then please consider it and make that plunge. There are far more positives to be gained than you might think and, as so many advisers have come to realise, there are clients to be secured and income to be generated just by being involved. I hope there’s not a lorra lorra surprises for you in learning that.

Emma-Maria Coffey is business development manager at Blacks Connect

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