Something I discuss quite a bit over on my consulting site is the importance of having conversations when networking on social media. Along with that is using email etiquette guidelines when creating your posts. Yes, social media is not technically “email,” but it communicates with the written word, so the same guidelines apply.
Let’s look at some definitions:
Networking: a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest
Social: seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious
It’s All About the Conversation
Many business owners fail to realize that networking on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other business networking sites is that these sites are not just a venue to try and push your wares. At these sites and “networks,” people are sharing information, having discussions, asking for advice — they are having a conversation.
Social media networking is purely and solely about the conversation. The goal of any post is to create engagement. Quality conversations take each participant’s time and commitment. It is not about getting as many contacts or “friends” on your list that you do not know and then marketing to them.
If you only post blatantly commercial messages, you quickly become a social media spammer. Folks don’t follow, like, or remain “friends” with those who are clearly in it only for commercial gain. #Block.
Business is About Making Money
Yes, if you are on social media sites, you can gain exposure for your business. Which then should/could/might translate into more sales/contacts/customers. Finding the right mix that converts is pretty much unique to each business and market.
However, you need to participate, help, share, encourage and advise. By doing so, the chances increase that those in your network will then grow and look to you when they need your product or service.
Sales Pitchy Hype
In their zeal to get business, some post their sales pitchy “contributions” that do nothing but get them unfollowed/unfriended. Ongoing, habitual hype is of no interest to those who are already inundated with pitches at every turn.
The key is to share your experience and expertise then introduce your product or service within those parameters. Not because you brought up the topic, but because someone else asked first.
The best scenario is that your posts and commentary encourage others to ask for more information. Because you appear helpful and knowledgeable, and that builds trust—the key to any successful business.
Offer Valuable Commentary
Don’t reply or post to the group in an overly hypey sales pitchy manner. Or with gratuitous meaningless comments just to be seen. Instead, offer a courteous, concise, and brief reply with a link to your site (if asked for).
Remember, if anyone in your network wants to know what you do, they can visit your profile with everything they want to know — including a link to your site. When was the last time you reviewed, refreshed, and updated your social profiles?
The most ineffective thing you can do is be a social media spammer. Credibility lost. Concentrate on helping, mentoring and being part of the conversation — and the leads will follow.
Forget words like ‘hard sell’ and ‘soft sell.’ That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you’re saying it like it’s never been said before.~ William Bernbach