Do business cards still work when there’s social media anyway?

A couple of months ago, a social media challenge reached its ever fleeting popularity. Everyone labeled four panel photos of as their preferred profile pictures for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Tinder. This well executed meme captured the different social media platforms and how it can represent the different personalities of your average person. Communication and networking evolved into a more elaborate way to describe and skew our first impressions of a person.

Why choose Business Cards?

People may think that business cards are no longer relevant because networking can be done almost instantly on social media. Everything you need to know about a person is presented on a pedestal for everyone else to see at a click. Hahahahaha With enough patience online, you can even sort out the good traits from the bad. However, it is still arguable, that business cards and its simplicity — a 3.5” x 2” card with just the name, company they may represent and contact information — can spark conversations that lead to negotiations – negotiations to business deals – and business deals that can literally form communities or impact the way of living. 

Business card etiquette

Paper or Screen?

In the business context, mostly anything on paper is concrete, tangible and leaves no room for deception. A person’s integrity is backed by any written agreement or promissory note that something will be paid. Just like a “small card bearing information about a business or business representative” (Miriam Webster), its simplicity bears the  leverage that confirms someone is a legitimate representative of a larger organization.

Social media, on the other hand, transformed into a necessity. It is no longer the past-time one person gets into for a short while, like a video game or a hobby. In fact, the global pandemic that struck the world this year has forced most to keep connected and well informed through it. The various social media platforms today dumbs down the complexities of web codes to stay connected and to customize your online profile with safely and with ease.

Unfortunately, anything done “with ease” can always open a can of worms.  There is undoubtedly more room for false identities, skepticism and disappointment. We can’t dismiss the importance of genuine, human interaction despite how social media is engrained in everyone’s daily lives. The connection that sparks when providing your business card during a meeting or even in passing is fool-proof. Even the bare minimum information presented on it can can pave the way for another substantial conversation down the road. 

A Global Mindset

A key element of doing business in countries like Japan is providing your business card to everyone in the meeting room. In fact, the exchange of business cards is a ritual that signifies the respect you have for your future partners or colleagues in the business. 

  1. You must always have enough business cards for everyone in the meeting
  2. You must always be ready to provide it at any time. 
    1. You must present your with both hands, while making sure the information on it is clearly seen. 
  3. You must make the gesture to read everything on the business card you received. 

For some cultures, the points mentioned above may seem too elaborate. With social media present, it may also seem like a waste of time and effort to practice these things. However, to countries like Japan, this is second nature.  There is definite value in the business card etiquette. 

Blank business card

Business cards should be used regularly in networking activities, especially when building business relationships. Without disregarding the importance of social media today, it is important to keep in mind the essence of face to face interactions between people. Equipping yourself and your business with a well-branded, quality printed business card can definitely go a long way.