Connect & Collaborate

Susanna talks to Bear
Susanna chats with musician Bear at an open mic night at the Highland Park Grill.

This week, Flourish Media has begun working with Connect Aiken to promote their events on social media. Connect Aiken is a project to build community by using events and media to help people in our city find others who have complementary skill sets and share their passions. From music to cycling to dog training – just to name a few examples – Connect Aiken has helped people across the city find their tribes and share their talents.

So, naturally, I’ve got connection and collaboration on the brain. We recently started working with Bella Magazine, a collaboration that began through mutual connections in local art and business networking groups. The magazine’s new owner built her own businesses through connections she made through volunteer work with local events. 

There’s a common misconception that social media makes people more isolated. While it is possible to spend hours alone staring at YouTube, that’s not the facet of social media that gets me excited. What I love about the various media platforms is how they connect people who might not otherwise find each other. Sometimes, that means finding new customers for local businesses. And sometimes it means introducing two business people who have something in common and can help each other.

Either way, social media is an essential networking tool for any small business. It lets us make connections online that can turn into real-life networking and business opportunities. The Great Business Schools site put together this massive networking infographic to show when people think it’s important to interact in person in business situations. While a majority of business people surveyed prefer to work remotely or telecommute for day to day work, 95% believe “face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships.” They also found that people came up with more and better ideas when they met in person.

Since we started working on Connect Aiken projects, I’ve discovered people I knew from volunteer work or my kids’ schools who are involved in these projects. Connections are everywhere! It makes me feel confident that, as we reach out via social media to promote upcoming events, we’ll find more people we didn’t realize we knew or had interests in common with. We’ll connect online, then meet in person, and our networks will grow and flourish.

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