How to Build Strong Relationships on Your Social Networks

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“Networking is an essential part of building wealth.”

- Armstrong Williams

You may have a new app coming out to help small business owners improve their productivity. You want people to know about it, so you decide to throw an online party to create some buzz. Let’s say you want to throw a Twitter party. If your Twitter avatar is still an egg, signaling to them that it’s still a new account, do you think they will take you seriously? Nope. They’ll move on to someone they feel that they can trust.

You have to understand how you will use this party to help you build your business. If you don’t have an idea of how people connect within the Twitter community you are going to look lame. They’re going to think that you don’t care. You have the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am mentality. You aren’t giving yourself a chance to build long-term relationships with your perfect people.

Research

Any good business person knows that research is to executing a plan. If you don’t understand how Twitter, Facebook or Google+ works you won’t be able to optimize its social network.

When I first started using Twitter I was a complete hack. I tweeted about my own stuff, tweeted quotes and that was it. I rarely ever replied back to people. The whole point of a social network is to interact with people so you can get to know them and them you.

Your research comes in by looking at what other people you admire are doing. Some of my favorite people are:

To name a few.

Each person has their own style Brian Clark of @Copyblogger doesn’t mind being snarky while @penelopetrunk doesn’t mind tweeting out that she had a miscarriage in the middle of a board meeting. They each have their own goals and way of connecting. It’s good to see what other people are doing so you can borrow a few techniques and make them your own.

You are going to have your own goals as well. You might have a good idea of how you want to grow your online presence because you already have an account and done your research. That doesn’t mean you can’t improve your ability to communicate and connect.

Finding Your Social Networking Conversation Style

Finding your conversation is all a part of the process. You don’t want to be 100% you because people might get turned off by how much you love your twelve cats. You are going to have to find a nice middle ground of “personal” you and “business” you.

This takes practice. You have to be willing to find new ways to improve your social networking skills on a weekly basis. It’s very much like writing a good sales page. You have to practice until you see what engages people.

Now once you have an idea of how you like to communicate on this social network it’s going to be easier to create a party that fits your style.

So Busy

Some of my clients say they are too busy to use social media on a daily basis. I think this is a big mistake. They have virtual assistants or marketing companies tweeting and interacting with their customers. Everyone should be using and understand the basics of making their people happy in their social networks. If the leader doesn’t know the basics on how to use Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ how can they instruct their people to build strong connections.

The CEO of a small business needs to know how the tools work, so when she gets a monthly report she knows what to do with the data.

I recently posted a comment on the Acuvue’s Facebook page about my displeasure in having my rebate returned when everything was filled out correctly. They saw the comment, replied to me, apologized for the error and told me that I would be receiving my rebate in 4-6 weeks. It was a beautiful interaction. They totally saved themselves from me releasing my anger on my social media accounts, my blog and to all my friends.

They were able to do this because the person who runs their Facebook account has the authority to make customers happy. In the end isn’t that why companies use social media? They want to make sure that they listening to their customers and helping them when they are able. Being helpful on your social networks creates the word of mouth that supports great companies.

Your Values

Every company has a different set of values. Your company may love creating fun, another company may love trust, and another may enjoy the idea of pampering oneself. When I coach people through their social media marketing I have them list out their values and put their top 8 in the order of importance. No value is more important than another, but it helps my client understand how they can focus their conversations on topics that will resonate with their perfect customer.

When you understand what is important to you, you can begin diving in to see how you can connect with people through your values. If you love fun and all you do is post links to business blog posts, people aren’t going to get a feel for your company. You must post some fun links about your company. Maybe your company has a monthly meeting that shows your company’s personality.  You may be a solo entrepreneur and take pictures of crickets. Sharing a little of your personality builds deeper relationships.

Mind Valley helps thought leaders spread their enlightening ideas. They have a mission and use their values to grow their company. They make new hires stand in front of the company and take the Oath of Awesomeness while touching the Vishen statue. It sounds cultish, but they make it a fun event that employees enjoy. It also signals employees on what to expect when they work there. They create their marketing from their culture. They want people to know and hear about what they do because it starts a conversation.

I found this picture of their new hire Vishen statue ceremony:

You have to look at what you do that is unique and use this as leverage to get people talking about you and engaging with your mission.

Look at what social media platforms that you are currently using and ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Why do you use these platforms?
  2. Which social media platform do you enjoy the most?
  3. How can you listen to what your people need and want from your company?
  4. Now that you are really listening to what your people need – How can you encourage them to connect with your values?

Marketing is no longer about pushing out your advertising and hoping people buy your stuff. Good marketing engages people with what you do and encourages them to want to learn more about how you can help them.

Once you begin listening to your potential customers on your social media platform of choice (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) then you can begin to create a plan to create a party that gathers them online.

Next we’ll talk about how to get people on board and attend your party.

Image courtesy of marcomassarotto

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