Social media is about starting and creating relationships. Building these relationships through mutual benefit it imperative to your success. You must ensure you are giving more than you are getting, that is the key.
Since starting to use social media for business, I have done some very specific things that make building digital relationships effective. Since our business solely uses social media marketing as our advertising medium, we place significant emphasis on mutually beneficial relationships in everything we do in the social graph.
My efforts at building relationships within social media are no longer conscious or something I really think about. After doing this for so long with a fairly large community we have built, it is now much more subconscious than purposefully or intently driven. Over time, the change in thinking becomes natural and you just do it effectively.
Rather than focus on some scientific details on relationships or making this post too complicated, I have put together actionable items that you can do to forge powerful relationships within your social media marketing efforts. All of these points should follow identifying the proper people that you should spend the time and effort toward. Be sure they are a target prospect for what you do, and that you can also bring value to them and what they do.
Here are some of the things I do to build social media relationships:
1) Provide value – In general you need to be selfless. Share content that is valuable and relevant to your audience. Offer assistance and help where you can. These things position you toward others as someone they just naturally want to get to know.
2) Follow/Friend/Like – Seems like a duh, doesn’t it? You would be surprised how often people intentionally do not follow back, accept friend requests or Like others pages. As yourself, would your friend do that to you? Of course not. Remember the old saying; “If you want a friend, be one”? Do it…
3) RT/Comment – Commenting on others posts, finding things they post that are valuable and share them or even a simple Like goes a long way. We all want to be validated and made to feel important or that something we did, wrote or shared is good. I have found there is no better way to show someone in social media that they are valuable than to do these things.
4) Read Bio’s – Early on the process you need to know who you are talking to, what they are about, where they live and what interests them. You do this by taking the time to read their Bio’s. You can’t build a relationship if you are not interested in the other person. By learning more about them, you get to know them and can converse with them in ways that are far more personal.
5) Get to know others – The previous four steps are designed to help you to get to know the other person. Doing these steps repeatedly with the same person results in knowing them, them knowing you, resulting in ever deeper and more frequent conversations and discussion. At that point you are in fact establishing a relationship.
All of these various components need to be utilized across the social graph. Whether Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or any other platform. Often times you will use all of the above with a single relationship. I do this frequently!
The question is now what? What do you do from here? Well this is where it gets more difficult to define. Not only is every relationship and company different, but there are just too many details and circumstances to be able to give a focused answer. I will say this though… We know that people hang around people like them. People relate to people like them. And, wait for it… People DO BUSINESS with people they feel they know and like. In short – Relationships lead to business opportunities. If your focus is on others and being a valuable relationship TO them, you can usually see a return on that investment.
As your social community increases in size, you will start this process more and more frequently, all while maintaining existing relationships you have already built. The total number of these relationships will vary from person and company, but as an example, I consistently do this with about 3500 people. These are no longer prospects or nameless faces, but friends whom I know their kids names, where they live, etc. etc, mostly by memory.
Now don’t freak out, it will happen naturally and you won’t even realize. Work on one or two and perfect it. You can’t have 300 social media relationships until you have the other 299. Focus on one at a time and it will get easier and more effective as your consciously do these important steps.
Now, go be valuable to others!!
Robert M. Caruso