In this article, you'll discover how to use social media to increase your exposure with prospects and peers without publishing any content.
#1: Unify Personal and Business Channels With Consistent Branding
One of the best ways to use social media involves very little original content at all. It involves rethinking your approach to social media as a tool for relationship building and communication, rather than simply as a broadcasting platform.
It starts with a solid foundation. This means branding your personal and business profiles to accurately reflect who you are and what you do. Remember that everyone who connects with you via your profiles gets cues about you and your business.
Take a quick glance at your business profiles to see if your main message is clear to new connections or followers. Think through your personal accounts as well.
Here are a few details that need to be spelled out on all of your profiles:
- Job description or company description
- Website URL
- Colors and fonts to match your company branding
- Consistent imagery
#2: Build Connections From Your Personal Profiles
One underutilized social media tactic is to use your personal accounts to share subtle messages to support your business. Remember that personal profiles allow you to interact and build relationships too, and a natural extension of those relationships is curiosity about your business.
The easiest way to build your audience is simply to add new friends and connections. This technique works especially well if you're the face of the business or the owner.
It's also a lot easier to get people to interact with a personal account than with a business account. Think about it: You can network your way to request a connection with almost anyone in the world on LinkedIn. Not only that, but you can have thousands of LinkedIn connections. This means you can build a large network of people without ever inviting them to follow your business page.
You can apply this same tactic on many other social media channels too.
#3: Listen and Engage Personally, Not Professionally
Whether they're face-to-face or online interactions, we're typically focused on getting our voices heard. However, if you're willing to listen on social media, you can learn a lot.
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Listening lets you discover needs you can meet, trends in consumer behavior, and other details about people's lives. Learn what's new in your connections' lives and use that information to take face-to-face conversations to the next level.
If you know someone recently spoke at a conference, start a conversation by asking how the talk went. Social media gives you clues about what your network and customers need, but only if you're actively looking for them.
People love to be heard, and engaging with their posts and content on social media is a great way to stay top of mind with your audience and build loyalty. Every time you hit “like” or “heart,” comment on someone's post, or even share that post, the other person gets a notification. That notification has your name and face connected to it.
If you do this consistently with your network, they'll naturally become more familiar with you, think of you more often, and view you in a positive light.
I've seen this technique work well in real estate. Title officers and mortgage originators work largely off of referrals from others in the industry. The more they stay engaged with their top real estate agents, the more likely those agents will send clients their way.
Here are a few tips for engaging with and managing your own network on social media.
On Facebook, use friend lists to segment people into groups so you can look at posts and updates from people in specific circles. This helps you focus your attention on building relationships with key contacts and avoid the temptation to waste time surfing Facebook.
To create or access a friend list, go to your news feed page and click on Friend Lists under Explore.
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On the next page, select the list you want to view or click Create List to set up a new list. Scroll through the posts from people on relevant lists and start interacting with them.
On Twitter, you can set up Twitter lists to follow specific people. Lists can be public or private depending on how you plan to use them. They help you filter out the noise and narrow your focus to specific groups of people.
To create or access your lists, click your profile icon at the top right and select Lists from the drop-down menu.
Then select the list you want to view.
A new page will open up with tweets from only the people who are on this list.
If you want to set up a new list, click Create New List on the left side of the screen and then select the users you want to add to it.
One of the best ways to get someone's attention on Instagram is to go to their profile and interact with 2-4 of their recent posts with a heart and a comment. When you do this, it signals to the other person that you made an extra effort to check out their profile instead of simply coming across a post in the main feed.
#4: Use Private Messaging to Carry on 1:1 Conversations
Most social networks have private message functions already built into their software. Sixty-four percent of Facebook monthly users use Messenger, which means you can get one-on-one time with people on a platform where they're comfortable interacting.
Going after funding, looking for speaking opportunities, and connecting with prospective clients are just a few ways you can build relationships on social platforms, and private messages let you communicate with key contacts directly. You'll know your message got in front of their eyes, instead of just hoping that it got visibility through the news feed algorithm.
Here are a few ideas to use Messenger to stay top of mind on Facebook:
- Share an article a contact might find interesting.
- Offer congratulations or send a birthday greeting.
- Thank people or simply let them know they came to mind.
Try these tips for using LinkedIn messaging to build rapport:
- Thank new connections for accepting your connection request and maybe even ask a question to keep the conversation going. Almost everyone I've messaged on LinkedIn this way sends a response back, or has gone and viewed my profile. Just be careful not to rush a sale until you've developed a relationship.
- Send a birthday greeting or congratulations on a recent promotion or new job. It's amazing how many people don't do this and it's a simple excuse to get in front of someone.
- Ask a specific question. For example, if you're working on a blog article or eBook, reach out to key contacts in your network and ask them one or two simple questions to get a quote you can feature.
Social media channels often get a bad reputation for being time wasters, but they can also be valuable tools for building long-term loyalty and uncovering new opportunities for your business. Focus on interacting with people instead of just getting the megaphone out to share your own message, and you'll find that social media is an even more powerful tool than you ever imagined.
What do you think? Do you use some of these tactics to build professional relationships on social media? Do you have some tips to add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
More articles about how to use social media to build relationships:
- Find out how to use your personal Facebook profile to support your business.
- Discover three social listening tools designed to help you capitalize on influencer marketing, online mentions, and lead generation.
- Learn how to effectively engage LinkedIn prospects.
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