How you can use social media to create meaningful connections
Jill Pavlov Vazquez is a copywriter at Ready for Social and owner of Your Creative Concierge, a full service copywriting shop. Her work has been featured in magazines, national campaigns, and popular blogs. She also performs comedy and can be found on Instagram at @yourcreativeconcierge.
Can you remember when social media was just a simple network for socialization? Those times are long gone since social has quickly transformed into something larger than life. Today, social media has become the top way to connect with people worldwide, not just privately but also for business purposes.
Just think about it! No longer restricted to those just physically around us, social media exposes us to a whole new pool of talented professionals. It also provides us with unlimited opportunities and the potential to meet others who will help us in our business journey – every step of the way. Wouldn’t you agree that these reasons show how important it is to learn to effectively and professionally network in the digital world?
Social networking leads to social selling.
Savvy social media networking is a solid path to social selling and will help you land new customers and clients amongst your connections. Learning social media networking skills can also increase your professional contacts by tenfold and teach you powerful communication skills within the digital world.
Do you want to become a social media pro? Good! Because you can take a few proactive steps to get a jumpstart on your social media networking.
- Build your social media presence. Who you present yourself as on social media is how people view your personal brand – so make sure your profile and posts adhere to your values and goals for connections. Figure out which social media platforms are most popular in your industry and choose one or two to focus on to create connections. Start with people you know first and grow from there.
- Post engaging, interactive content. This step may seem like a no-brainer but think about it for a second. It’s THE key to building your network. Relevant content keeps people interested in coming back to your account. To make your content as engaging as possible, make it reader-friendly, keep it to the point and ensure it is helpful to the reader. Your posts should add value to their life for them to want to connect.
- Reach out to people on every level. You don’t have to be internet besties with every CEO out there. Sometimes starting small is the key to getting your foot in the door to businesses you’re striving to connect with. Don’t forget to network with your peers, either. It turns out that messaging employees with smaller roles at the company has a better response rate. Remember, you don’t have to reel in the biggest fish in the pond to make a catch!
- Send direct messages. Straight to their inbox is the fastest way to connect. Make it brief, courteous and above all, personable. People can easily spy a copy and paste, so add a few details to make your message tailored to them. You can introduce yourself, tell them what drove you to connect and thank them for accepting your request.
- Ask for advice instead of giving it. A great way to build natural connections on social media without sounding spammy is to ask someone for their opinion or guidance. It’s a very organic way of building conversation that makes them feel like they are in control versus being sold.
- Don’t aim for the hard sell. People aren’t interested in sales pitches on social media. Today’s users are smarter than ever and can easily spot a sales pitch. You have to be savvy with it and play the long game. Invest in learning about your connections and their needs and work on building a relationship first.
- Give the love you want to receive. You get what you give on social media, so put yourself out there. People are more likely to interact with your posts if you actively engage in theirs. This tactic also includes joining groups and pages that are relevant and being a participating member.
- Post regularly and with purpose. Again, your content is your main tool to communicate your message, so generating consistent content is extremely important. With every engaging post, ensure you have a call-to-action to keep the conversation going. It’s your chance to advertise your events, blogs, promotions and more – for free.
- Be helpful to others. Social media karma is real. If you help someone, they are more inclined to help you. Whether that means sharing a post for them, donating to their cause or sending them a job posting in their industry, a helping hand receives another helping hand in return.
Learn the social media basics of networking on each platform.
The guidelines above are general tips on social media platforms, but each unique network has its own personality regarding connecting. Here are some quick tips on expanding your network based on your chosen social media space:
- Facebook: Facebook groups are an excellent tool for meeting like-minded individuals. You can post and comment on others’ posts with the intention to connect within these specific groups regularly. In fact, it is sometimes a more useful tool than posting on your page, as posting too frequently can cause some to unlike or unfollow.
- Twitter: Twitter is the most fast-paced platform, and its reply feature is your best bet for connecting and staying in the conversation. Twitter tends to generate heated discussion, so always keep it professional and polite.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn can help you to become a thought leader in your industry by sharing your expertise. It’s a great space to share what sets you apart as a brand – both on your own profile and in relevant groups throughout the site.
- Instagram: Searching hashtags on Instagram is a great way to find the people you want to follow. It’s also the way how other people will find you. Hashtags can help you build an audience by connecting you to those interested in similar things. Ensure your hashtags are relevant and make sense for your post to maximize their effect.
Social media can open doors.
If you’ve ever made a valuable connection on social media, you’ve already unlocked the power for yourself. Social media, when utilized correctly, has helped people land jobs, book clients, gain visibility and climb the ladder to achieve their professional dreams.
So don’t be shy—put yourself out there, and network with intention.
How do you plan on connecting with someone today? What’s been your most successful way to connect? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.