Social media does make connecting easy, but that doesn't mean you don't have to put in the leg-work (you still have to exercise social skills). It's tempting, I know. You click a button and you can instantly have a new buddy that you can send updates to about your business.
The only difference between social media marketing and traditional networking, is that social media connects you to a much larger group of people that you can talk to regularly from the comfort of your home. You still have to put your best foot forward, you still have to build and nurture the relationship. A relationship doesn't form just because you've clicked on something. There is no such thing as instant gratification when it comes to social media marketing. CLICK TO TWEET
You are the face of your business, the figure head. After going to a networking event, people remember faces, not business names. Connecting through a personal Facebook page is a good way to nurture the relationship. And now that Facebook has made it so you can create group lists for who you want to post to, such as business, acquaintances and family, using your personal page for online networking is much easier and more comfortable.
There are limitations with a personal page on Facebook, and you do want to have a page specifically for your business so you can reap the benefits of insights, special offers, poll questions and the like, but both play vital roles in making connections.
Although having a lot of "friends" might make you look popular, it won't help you build the kind of relationships for your business that effect your ROI. There are so many people who become friends with me on Facebook, who usually have never met me, and without messaging me or doing anything to start a conversation, immediately invite me to "like" their business page.
No One Wants Fake Friends
The fact of the matter is, even though Facebook has deemed us "friends," we don't know each other from atom. I don't know about you, but I don't tend to care about stuff that's posted by people I don't know. I've rarely liked their posts - if ever - and they've rarely liked mine. I may have liked their page because they suggested I like it, but I don't actually engage with their Facebook page, especially if their content has no real relevance to me, which is typically the case.
You don't want people to like your Facebook business page just to be polite, you want them to like it because they're truly interested in your brand and want to engage. Otherwise, what's the point?
When people send me a friend request just because we have 50 mutual friends - many of which I don't really know - it's awkward. I try not to accept every friend request I get from people I don't know, but I don't like to exclude people. I consider that they could be a valuable resource.
I do try to message them after I accept their invite in attempts to connect, but sometimes I get caught up with projects and lose the window. I've been really pleasantly surprised lately because two people that friended me actually messaged me to introduce themselves. It started some good conversations, it got me excited, it gave me hope.
Change The Spiel
The same concept applies for LinkedIn. Using the generic invite LinkedIn provides is not a good way to start a relationship. Again, I typically don't accept requests from people who do this. You shouldn't either. It doesn't matter how many people you have on your contact list, if you never speak to them, they are of no value.
If you want to truly connect with someone on LinkedIn, you should let them know how you know them or why you want to connect. Just changing the automatic LinkedIn spiel slightly shows you care. CLICK TO TWEET
There are times when I will accept a generic request to connect on LinkedIn even though I don't know the person if I think they may be a good connection or if I suspect they're connecting with me to do business and just don't know better.
When this happens I accept their request and immediately send them a personalized note thanking them for joining my network and asking them how I can be of service. I've gotten some good business this way. It's simple, but brilliantly social.
Follows Can Falter
So many people follow someone on Twitter just so they'll follow back and then never connect with them. No retweet, no direct message, no nothing. You can't just go around following thousands of people and then never have conversations with them. It's not enough to tweet good content. People are less likely to pay attention to your tweets if you don't give them the time of day. If you show you care, they will too.
It irritates me when I thank someone for the follow and they message me back talking about their services. This tells me that they have no interest in getting to know me, so I unfollow them. Or I completely ignore their tweets, which in a sense is worse. Don't miss out on the opportunity to start meaningful conversations because you're too busy touting your services on Twitter.
If you want to start solid relationships through social media:
So if you are a connection of mine via a major social media platform, I invite you to message me. I'd love to chat and get to know you.
Are you guilty of some of the things I've mentioned? Or do you excel at being social? What social media tactics do you use, or plan to in the future? Please comment below. I'd love to hear from you.
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By Sabrina Gaffney
From blogging to bios, freelance website copywriter Sabrina Gaffney, a.k.a the Cagey Copywriter, offers a powerful profusion of web copywriting tips for optimum marketing results! Connect on Google + or LinkedIn.