Imagine having the ability to extend your social reach beyond geographic boundaries to virtually anywhere in the world. That’s exactly what social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, do by taking what happens in face-to-face networking and moving it into a virtual space.
Let me explain…
Networking (and really sales and marketing in general) is about building up the “Know, Like, Trust” factor. That’s why in-person you find people laughing over cocktails, swapping war stories about skiing or sharing photos of their kids. It takes the impersonal nature of business and makes it personal.
The same holds true for social media. People engage in a social sharing ritual that builds the Know, Like, Trust. From the initial, “Oh, I know so-and-so – I follow her on Twitter” to “Check out what so-and-so has to say about that subject – she shares great tips on her blog.”
Building the Know, Like, Trust in Social Media
Know – Share a bit about yourself in your profile information that goes beyond the boring details of what you do. What do you love? What do you do as a hobby? What are you known for?
For example, Shelly Kramer shares that she is a marketing and brand strategist, idea generator and creator of buzz and awareness, but also that she’s a social media lovah and information junkie AND that she loves Milk Duds + Beer.
Like – Simply put: Do you get along well with others? Are you personable? Are you a storyteller who draws a crowd to listen to your latest tales? It’s important that people ‘like’ you because we favor those we like in business.
Watch how Scott Stratten interacts online. Every comment about him is that he is just so darn likable (lovable even) – and he truly is because he gets along with everyone and engages on a personal level.
Trust – Two comments about building trust online: #1 Trust takes time and #2 consistent action builds trust.
Take yours truly as an example. One of the very simple ways I build trust with my social media audience is I am extremely consistent with posting and interacting and my message remains the consistent so people know what I stand for.
5 Random Tips for Using Social Media to Build Relationships
#1: Don’t try to bullshit and borrow anyone else’s personal brand or style – What works for them may not work for you because it’s not authentic. Instead of trying to copy – look for the principles behind what they do well.
#2: Share life’s little foibles – Did you stupidly shrink your brand new sweater to doll size? Spill coffee in the (ahem) region of your new client? Share whatever weird and quirky details make you YOU!
#3: Reach out and connect – If you happen to see someone is having a bad day, let them know that you are there with them (or however works for you and fits your style). Just a simple acknowledgement goes a long way, like “I hate when that happens!”
#4: Take an interest in others – It sounds like a chapter from Miss Betsy’s Book of Etiquette (made up name of a hypothetical book), doesn’t it? Just as it’s important to listen during those business card swapping shindigs, it’s important to take an active interest in those you’d like to connect with online.
#5: Follow the 80/20 rule – Aim for a 80/20 split between interaction and promotion. Interaction meaning sharing (tips, information and inspiration) and engaging (commenting and replying) and promotion meaning sharing links to your site.
How do you use social media to build relationships? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please let us know in the comments below!