Remember the good old days when business was done over cocktails? Back then relationships were solidified standing around chit-chating, over dry toast and eggs at the early morning breakfast meeting or in costume at the annual themed events…all in the name of networking. Building the know, like, trust needed in sales was easy when you met every week. Then along came social media and suddenly, the business world stepped back from the personal connections and began interacting in a rather impersonal world.
One would think that relationship marketing would cease to exist, but instead, social media has expanded what started in those executive and entrepreneur networking groups to allow people to connect with their global tribe. What constantly amazes me about social media is that despite never meeting many of the people who I interact with on a daily basis face-to-face, they feel they ‘know’ me because in a way, they do.
Just as the people in my network heard my stories, my social media friends get to tune-in (or not) to what’s going on. The networking ‘chit-chat’ is replaced by status updates and photo sharing, the weekly elevator speech is now delivered via blog posts and even the silly fun at the themed events happens when everyone gathers for the annual conference circuit. It got me to thinking about how I would share the ‘secret sauce’ to relationship building in social media with new-comers (so as you know, I made a list).
How to Build Relationships in Social Media
Really what it all comes down to is relationship building whether it’s online or offline. People will until the end of time want to do business with those they feel they know, like and trust.
Get Personal — Share your life with your friends, followers and fans. Post pictures of your morning latte, share the inspiring quote that touched your heart, even rant about a particular issue that you are passionate about. If you think about it, that is exactly what you shared with your networking group, only in a face-to-face situation.
Show Up Consistently — Make a commitment to simply show up. That means sticking to a regular blogging schedule, even if that’s only once a month, maintaining an active presence on whatever social media sites you participate in. People decide who you are based on how you show up in social media each and every day.
Schedule Offline Meetings — Take the time, if possible, to connect with your social media connections in person or opt for the next best thing and schedule a virtual coffee via Skype or FaceTime. Meeting your social media friends, followers and fans in person is one of the key advantage of attending conferences and live events.
Genuinely Care — Care about what you put out there, the people you interact with and what you stand for. Just as the sleazy salesperson who shows up at the networking luncheon is quickly rejected by the group, the overly self-promotional social media spammer will similarly be pushed to the sidelines. Focus on building the relationship first!