Social Networking continues to be all the rage! Social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more have dominated our attention for well over a decade now.
As a small business owner, Social Networking can be your biggest boon… leading to new connections you may have not been able to make any other way – without great difficulty that is; Or, it can be your biggest bane… enticing you to continuously waste your most precious commodity, your time.
The choice is yours. Social Networking can become whatever you want it to become for both you and your business. Now anticipating that you want value for your efforts, I’m going to share with you 10 tips that can help make your online Social Networking efforts much more fruitful.
Tip #1: Personalize Invitations to Connect
Just because you can hide behind your computer doesn’t give you an excuse to be lazy. Give people a reason to want to connect and network with you. Don’t send dry and impersonal invites to connect … ever! I don’t care who you’re looking to connect with.
In my opinion, because of its already built-in cold nature, social networking requires even more personality and vitality injected into it, than traditional offline networking.
Tip #2: You've Got to Give to Get
Nobody likes to hang out around the proverbial “taker”. You know… the type of person you don’t pick up the phone for when they call… thank you Caller ID! So to make sure you don’t end up like our friend “taker”, always be on the lookout for, as Dr. Stephen Covey says in his much heralded book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, opportunities to make deposits into the personal bank accounts of others.
Tip #3: Think Quality, Not Quantity
Social Networking shouldn’t be a popularity contest to see who has the most connections. You’re better off having fewer mutually lucrative and beneficial relationships than having tons of connections that bear no fruit.
Tip #4: Be Authentic
Nobody likes a liar… a cheater … a fake… a phony… or whatever you call someone who presents themselves as something they’re not. Be true to yourself and others and your natural magnetism will shine through.
And it’s that magnetism that brings stronger more genuine connections that can really bring results. Yes we can all improve our game a bit here or there but, trust that you’ll bring more to the table when you’re being yourself.
Tip #5: Open the Door and Let Them In
The more you’re willing to share about yourself, the more parallels others can draw between you. These parallels can serve as a great stimulus for conversations to begin. Having things in common certainly helps break down comfort-level barriers.
People tend to be more willing to connect and engage in conversations with others who share similar backgrounds, experiences, tastes, hobbies, et cetera. So be willing to share a bit about you. Just be careful not to share anything you wouldn’t want everyone in the world to know because once it’s posted online, it’s available to all to see.
So in closing, remember that these keys only work if you diligently and consistently apply them. And I firmly believe that much like the offline world, strong relationships lie at the core of any and all business success.
Tip #6: Know Your “Why”
There’s that dreaded question again… you know… the one you know you need to ask yourself but you often hate to… what’s your “why”… What’s your “why” or your reason for social networking in the first place? And what results are you seeking for your efforts? Knowing your “why” is not only critical for your success in Social Networking, but for any marketing activity you engage in.
Tip #7: Play Hard or Don't Play
As much as you may like to, you just can’t market yourself effectively on every Social Networking site out there… there are just too many them. I’m not saying not to have a profile in a bunch of them… I’m all for free marketing.
What I am saying is choose a select few to play hard in. These should be the ones that strategically give you the best chance at connecting with your target market. Go deeper than just creating a profile. Use these to connect with others regularly and build strong relationships… the kind of relationships that may eventually bear fruit.
Tip #8: The Power Is In the Follow Up
Just like in the offline world, it’s not enough to meet someone once, exchange business cards, and do nothing. If your objective was to do nothing, why waste your time, and theirs, in the first place… time is money. Have a plan for follow-up! Know “who” you’re going to follow-up with… by “when”. And know “how” you’re going to follow-up with them… and “why”.
As you mine your contacts deeper by continually following-up, the real gold starts to surface. Remember it’s not only who they are that counts, but who they know as well. And people generally are more likely to introduce you to their network once they know, like, and trust you… so continue nurturing those relationships and watch new doorways open!
Tip #9: Be a Connector
Want to improve the quality of both your current and future contacts? Then make it a primary objective to continually find ways to add value to them. The Law of Attraction tends to kick in here as like attracts like. The more value you give, the more value you get as others tend to flock to and mirror those they respect and appreciate. The best way to add value to relationships, help others get what they want.
Regardless of what it is they want, just about anything is possible through relationships. So who do you know that may add value to someone else you know? Connect them and they’ll both be grateful that you were thinking of them.
And because of the “Law of Reciprocity”… as author Robert Cialdini shares in his great book “Influence”… those now happy contacts quite possibly will feel a sense of obligation to reciprocate and help you back.
Tip #10: Ask For What You Want
It’s this simple… you don’t ask… you don’t get. In my observations, people are generally very willing to help others… they’re just not sure how they can… so tell them how… give them a little nudging. Be willing to ask for help and get others in the habit of helping you.
No one should be above asking for help once in a while. Just don’t become a “taker”… you know… someone who’s apparently only concerned with their own well-being.
So Let's Wrap This Up
So in closing, Social Networking can be part of a tremendously valuable marketing strategy for both you and your business. I highly recommend that if you haven’t already, make the effort to test the waters a bit and see whether or not it makes sense for you. But remember, you’re likely to get out of it what you put into it, so if you’re going to play here, play hard.
In order to really benefit from Social Networking or any type of networking activity for that matter, continually work at establishing mutually meaningful and lucrative relationships.