Social networks play a key role in studying various individual and social behaviors. To use social networks in a study, their structural properties must be measured. For offline social networks, the conventional procedure is surveying/interviewing a set of randomly-selected respondents. In many practical applications, inferring the network structure via sampling is too prohibitively costly. There are also applications in which it simply fails. For example, for optimal vaccination or employing influential spreaders for public health interventions, we need to efficiently and quickly target well-connected individuals, which random sampling does not accomplish. In a few studies, an alternative sampling scheme (which we dub `alter sampling') has proven useful. This method simply targets randomly-chosen neighbors of the randomly-selected respondents. A natural question that arises is: to what extent does this method generalize? Is the method suitable for every social network or only the very few ones considered so far? In this paper, we demonstrate the robustness of this method across a wide range of networks with diverse structural properties. The method outperforms random sampling by a large margin for a vast majority of cases. We then propose an estimator to assess the advantage of choosing alter sampling over random sampling in practical scenarios, and demonstrate its accuracy via Monte Carlo simulations on diverse synthetic networks.