A few weeks ago I posted this over at 12 Most. After a few interesting conversations regarding how social media has “no ROI” I decided it was time to post it here, too!
It’s not just Twitter than can lead to new business, however, it’s all the ways we connect via social media. I use specific tactics to ensure I am finding the right people and they are able to find me.
Here is my list of the 12 Most Powerful Ways to Connect Via Social Media:
1. Ensure your social media profiles are updated regularly
LinkedIn, Facebook and your blog all have the potential to be found via social media. If your profile is lacking your current job title or fresh content often, you become that much harder to find. Make it a point to review your profiles where you live on social media and update them to reflect the best first impression you can make!
2. Join the right groups and chats for your industry
Just like regular networking, you need to build trust within your community. A great way to do that is participating in conversations where your potential clients might be hanging out. Do a search on LinkedIn or Facebook for groups to join and participate in Twitter chats whenever you can. Important note – be authentic, be generous and DON’T get sales-y here. The point is to build trust, not sell the car that day.
3. Blog like you mean it
I understand why it’s easy to push this priority to the bottom of the list. However, blogging helps people understand your viewpoint and passion before picking up the phone. It still amazes me when I meet someone in real life for the first time and he or she mentions regularly reading my blog.
4. Comment where it counts
A tried and true connection tactic is to leave comments on other blogs. At some of the most popular blogs, however, your comment gets lost in a sea of sycophants. Find one or two places to comment where it could lead to connections you want to make, or where you can take a stand. Just please, be nice.
5. Search on Twitter
I have a few searches set up on Twitter perpetually. They are the keywords that matter to me – “customer experience” as a phrase, along with other customer-centric words. You can do this with a number of tools, including Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, and if you pay attention you’ll see potential clients asking for help on your very area of expertise. Respond, be generous, and build the relationship.
6. Like your clients’ competition
Understand how others are using social media. Liking a page on Facebook is low-commitment but offers you an inside look at what others are doing. Use this information to connect and comment.
7. Questions, questions, questions!
There are lots of places where professionals are seeking information by asking a question and waiting for those of us in cyberspace to respond. Focus, Quora andLinkedIn Answers are just a few places where you can showcase your expertise when someone is really seeking it!
8. Alert yourself
Google, Yahoo and other search engines offer the alert service. Type in a few keywords to track (or company names) and make sure you don’t miss an important update. There are loads of things to track – keywords, clients, potential clients, employees, etc. Have fun creating what matters to you.
9. Check in to find people you want to meet
I admittedly am not too consistent about checking in on location-based social sites likeFoursquare and Gowalla. I become a check-in freak, however, when I’m at an industry event or large conference. Why? Because by checking in and tracking who is where, I can strategically meet people as well as connect in real life with friends I may only be connected to virtually. It’s powerful. And now that location-based marketing is growing, check ins can also lead to some nice discounts or freebies. Bonus!
10. Make it a point to connect virtually after meeting IRL
It’s easy to meet in person and assume you’ll see each other soon enough. Don’t make that mistake. Follow up quickly, connect on LinkedIn, follow the Twitter account, and generally show an interest in your new connection’s virtual pursuits. This is the modern day equivalent to a box of chocolates.
11. Make the time
We all get busy. Deadlines, bosses, clients all have demands we can’t ignore. So use the tools available now to keep up quickly and stay connected. Nutshell Mail is a great one to aggregate what’s happening with your community and dip in and out quickly. There are others, too, but Nutshell has worked well for me.
12. Share and keep sharing
Social media allows us to connect with others in accessible ways. Don’t become the bad apple who thinks sharing valuable content is giving away the store. We all want to gain value from where we spend our time. If you are just selling away without providing value, people will stay away.
I believe in social media, because it’s worked for me and my business. Using it in ways that help you connect with the right people and organizations can literally help you gain more and spend less. It does take effort and some smarts, but if you take the right approach it will serve you very well. Hope to see you in the community! Please let me know if you have other ideas for ways to connect. I know this is the tip of the iceberg…there could probably be a “100 Most” post. Let me know what works for you!