The past couple of posts at have been about the value of a relationship driven model of social networking. The process of connecting to individuals on and off the web is an extremely important idea that needs to be embraced.

Chris Brogan has always done an excellent job at giving tips on connecting to your readership, as well as, social media friends and acquaintances. He wrote recently on the Five Ways to Connect and Add Value to your networking practices. I thought I would add my own spin on connecting on and offline.

1. Combine Online and Offline Connections

In any business centered social networking group in an offline environment being a connector is a huge priority to most members. In Indianapolis we have Rainmakers, the Chamber of Commerce, and BNI (plus many more).

Personally, I am a member of the Rainmakers Marketing Group. We have hub meetings all over the state of Indiana and we are approaching 3000 members in the community. The group has recently launched a social media platform for the members called: Let’s Make It Rain. The community has allowed for members to network online and move the relationships to an offline meeting (whether lunch or coffee). This has increased the potential for strategic relationships because of the power of connecting 24/7 in an online environment.

I use the sites Let’s Make it Rain and Smaller Indiana to align myself with professionals I may not meet at a Rainmakers Marketing event. If you can use both networking mediums (web and events) to grow your network you have a better chance of connecting with the right people!

Combine the two models to get the most out of networking (whether business of personal).

2. If You Want To Be Interesting, Be Interested

This follows the second guideline on the Chris Brogan post, Connecting Other People. A fellow FriendFeeder, Mona N. (check out her blog), posted a feed that had this image.

This image speaks volumes when pertaining to the concept of the value of connection in social media and networking.

If you want to be interesting to other people you need to be conscious of what they are needing in return. If someone sends you business, write them a note or send them a gift card!

Always be thinking about the individuals who helped you get to where you are today. In the small business world and even in social media this is the most valuable concept you can and SHOULD remember.

Pay it forward. Always, pay it forward. Take interest in what your friends are posting. Take interest in what your clients are doing (other than your project.

Be Interesting. Take value in what others are offering. Connect with your online friends in an offline environment. Make the community a rich combination of community and influence.

Social Media has huge potential to help companies all over the world connect with each other. It is our place to help that dream become reality.