We’re all familiar with the importance of business networking, making connections, and leveraging your marketing platforms in the professional world, and everyone has probably attended at least one networking event in their lifetime. But what about networking, building authentic relationships, and marketing your business all at once in the virtual world?!
Forming authentic friendships over social media is just as important and helpful for your business as any in person networking event! The benefits of making social media friends are many, and include:
Building a loyal following to your business or organization
Cross-promoting your blog with another
Meeting like-minded creative professionals
Forming strategic business partnerships/ collaborations
Having influencers in your career field promote your products or service
The list can go on for days! The bottom line is building new connections using social media is a fantastic resource for you and your business. So, how do you build these connections? Here are our favorite tips:
1. Comments, Comments, Comments.
We can’t say it enough. Everyone loves to see new faces interacting with their content, whether on a blog, Tweet, or Instagram picture. Leaving a compelling comment underneath someone’s content shows them you are really listening to what they have to say (or show you). Asking a question will also lead to their response, which can turn into a full-on conversation. Show others that you are interested in what they have to say and they will very likely return the favor.
Social media is chock-full of different ways for you to participate in what other people are doing. Interact on their Instagram. Answer questions they ask on Facebook. Tweet back to interesting Tweets. Building relationships online is very similar to building them in person. Become an active participant. Not only will people see that you are engaged, but the more active you are, the more people will view you as an expert in your field.
3. Reach Out.
Perhaps you have one particular blogger in mind who regularly posts great articles. Maybe you can think of a local business whose Facebook presence is out of this world, or a fellow creative whose Instagram always receive a lot of authentic interaction. Reach out to them! Simply sending someone a message letting them know who you are and why you admire their work will set you apart from others.
4. Go in Reverse.
You might already be attending regular in-person networking meetings and meeting new connections left and right. Don’t just collect business cards to let them sit on your desk. Add your new connections and become a follower of their professional social media accounts.
Now that you’ve begun to make new social media friends, remember that like any other friendship or business relationship, it takes time. Immediately asking someone to promote your blog the day after you have started talking to them is probably not a good idea. Get your feet wet, continue your regular interactions, and use your intuition to decide when you reach your comfort level with this person enough to be able to ask them for a favor. The combination of connecting with others using social media and “live” networking is one of the best formulas for getting yourself and your business known.