Fans of social media found themselves without the ability to connect to major networks including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp over the weekend. I use both Facebook and Instagram daily not only as a business communication tool, but to stay connected with friends and family. So, admittedly, I was just as frustrated as everyone else when I found myself unable to log on to those sites where I most likely would have scrolled past pictures of people’s pets and children, read some ridiculously far from reality political post, and laughed at a meme or 200.
Instead I found myself feeling disconnected and it got me thinking. We spend so much time connecting on social media that perhaps we’ve forgotten the importance of face to face communication. I’m not talking about videochats like Skype or FaceTime either. I mean actual in person face-to-face communication. While I regularly use social media, texting and email in both my personal and professional life there’s something about those forms of communication that simply cannot replace the real deal. In my personal life there’s nothing better than having a great visit with a friend or family member and actually getting to hug that person.
Professionally speaking I find in person communication provides a level of connection that other forms of communication, including the phone, don’t offer. Being able to see the body language that goes along with a conversation gives me insight into how a client is feeling. They can be agreeing with what I’m saying, but their body language may give me clues that they’re not entirely comfortable with a suggestion I’m making. Seeing that allows me to dig deeper into a client’s needs and to make changes to the work I’m doing with them if necessary.
That being said, social media still has its benefits. It allows businesses to stay connected with current and potential customers or clients. But for me, social media should be used as a way to encourage customers to connect with you in person. After all, it’s not really benefiting your business if your social media posts aren’t encouraging people to walk through your doors or connect with the services you’re offering.