This is a question that many people have when they hear me talking about online networking, such as with LinkedIn. And the answer is yes, better, even!
That doesn`t mean you should be excluding offline marketing, a combination of the two is the perfect way to go. But first, let me explain just why I think online networking is actually better than offline.
First of all, you have the potential to reach many more people on the internet. When you post in a forum, you aren`t just talking to the people who are there at the moment, but everyone who has registered with that forum. And not only that, often forum posts are public and will show up on Google in the search results, meaning that one little paragraph can potentially connect with millions of people. You certainly don`t get that scale when you chat with someone at a business conference!
Another huge advantage to online marketing is that you can reach so many people that you would never have access to in a real world situation. While business meetups and seminars can expose you to more people than in your home town, you`ll still find that you are able to reach more online. And location is not an issue, so you can literally network with anyone in the world.
Online networking is definitely not the only way to network, but it should certainly be a big part of your marketing strategy.