Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all the posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Be it a businesses or an individual, the dramatic developments of social media have not gone unrecognised.

Social media is a means of connecting individuals and businesses in virtual communities, where they can create, share and exchange information and ideas.

As such, this relatively new online networking can in fact add value to the traditional offline networking, and vice versa: Here are 3 Top tips to help you get the best out of your networking experience:

  1. Connect with other event attendees before an event. When a webpage is ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, users are entering into that virtual community of shared interests. Here you can share ideas and discuss opinions, and even be notified of offline events. In this way, you can already built up ‘relationships’ with the businesses, and indeed other users, prior to meeting at offline events. An example of where this is working well is the launch of the Rugby Business  where a massive offline community (over 13,000 members world-wide) is now capitalising on this by connecting businesses ‘face to face’ at a local level.
  2. Make sure you take action to follow through. At events, offline networking often involves ‘mingling’ and handing out business cards (over a glass of wine!). Adding another dimension to this would be to invite the business/ individual to join your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook network – it would even be an idea to mention this on the business cards. This would provide the opportunity to learn more about the user, online, and as another means of communicating. Successful networkers are those that take action – so take that business card and connect with people online to follow up an interesting conversation (say for example via LinkedIn).
  3. Stay connected. Once the user is within that online network, it is a lot easier and convenient (and cheaper!) to stay in contact after that first initial meeting. This can generate business opportunities with the contact, and even opportunities with businesses which have been recommended or you have been referred to, during the course of communication.

To observe and pinpoint this globally felt digital revolution, Mashable, a Scottish- American news website, technology and media blog, launched Social Media Day way back in 2010.

Over the last couple of years, Social Media Day Meetups have more than doubled with thousands of attendees worldwide.