By Rhonda Campbell
Networking is as old as business itself. People have been cutting business deals with friends and neighbors for centuries. True. Social media networks like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus have expanded networking possibilities. What they haven’t done is diminish the impact of human relationships. They also haven’t cut down on the time it takes to develop rewarding relationships.
It Takes Time to Establish Rewarding Social Network Relationships
Face it. To gain lasting results from social media networks you’re going to have to invest time at networks you’re a member of. For example, it takes time to:
- Identify the top two to three personal and business interest social media network members have
- Familiarize yourself with individual members based on their interests (member personal profile information helps a great deal with this)
- Interact with individual members one-on-one via private emails, discussions (sending a thank you note and/or birthday greeting to specific members is an effective way to pull this off)
- Respond to member posts, polls and questions
- Follow-up on comments members make to posts you originate
Using Automated Social Network Services
Buffer, HootSuite, Social Oomph, Only Wire, Social Marker and Social Poster can be used to automate social network posts. Several of the automation services offer free packages. However, to schedule posts to several social networks you may have to sign up for a paying package.
With automated social media network services you create a login and password (should only take a few minutes). Then you connect your account to social networks you want to schedule messages to. For example, you could connect your HootSuite account to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Social Marker lets you send automated messages to Digg, Reddit, Faves, Blinklist, Fetch, etc.
Get a Social Oomph account and you can automate Twitter and Facebook posts, track keywords, schedule blog posts and follow other creative business leaders and customers who are following you. Only takes the click of a button.
Seek Genuine Friendships and Customer Relationships
The benefits of using automated social media network services are real. However, automated messages aren’t the best ways to start and nurture relationships with prospective customers. To save time using automated services and build “real” relationships with network members:
- Schedule one to two days each week to visit social networks and comment on other members’ posts. Leave genuine comments on at least two other posts a week, goes a long way.
- Respond to social network polls.
- Post humorous comments, questions, videos, etc. at social networks.
- Intersperse posts that speak about your business with posts that spotlight other members’ businesses or endeavors.
- Offer free advice and tips to members, especially upon request.
- Congratulate members on their recent creative business successes.
Avoid dropping into social networks only to post “hidden” ads. Instead, approach social networks the same way you would building relationships with people offline. Be genuine and sincere. Strive to give and receive. Before you know it, you will have created new rewarding relationships that are built on trust, a key ingredient in customer sales.
After all, think about the first people who supported your business and bought your products and services. Bet they were people you knew, people you’d taken the time to establish rewarding relationships with.
Check out Spiral, Portia and Love Pour Over Me at www.chistell.com