photo credit: kevindooley
Trying to build “real” relationships and connections with people you “meet” online can appear quite challenging at times. You want to connect with others - perhaps, that potential JV partner or a mentor who you’ve been following for quite some time. But, how do you go about doing it? How do you stand out from the others who are trying to do the same thing as you? Obviously, you don’t want to appear needy, pushy, lame, or spammy in your “relationship marketing” efforts. That said, what should one do?
First, let me say this: social networking is nothing more than an online representation of our offline worlds. A lot the things you would do offline to break the ice and network are the same activities we should be doing online as well. That said, here are 5 tips and ideas that will help you get the ball rolling.
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photo credit: flik
If you’re reading this blog post, there’s a good chance that you have an account on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, or any of the other scores of social networking sites out there. And the fact remains that a lot of them are down right addicting.
If you’re a high school kid or someone with a lot of free time, it really doesn’t matter if those sites become your new crack.
However, for those of us - business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, corporate professionals, etc. - who use those social technologies for business, spending countless hours in front of the computer might not be the most effective use of time.
But what do you do if you’re connected to a lot of people who choose to communicate with you using these social networking sites? Surely, you wouldn’t want to ignore them.
Doing so would mean abandoning chances to build meaningful relationships and profitable business ventures.
That’s clearly not an option. So, what do we do?
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More and more people are being introduced to a new concept. It’s one that recognizes how social networking sites can be leveraged to dramatically impact a business.
Sites like Facebook are now being used to significantly increase the brand awareness of companies…
Some are using it to forge and foster important connections with the influential leaders of their industry or niche.
And still, others are tapping into its ability to be leveraged as a dynamic and interactive marketing tool.
The idea that someone — anyone — can join a social networking site, create a profile, establish a presence, and — within a relatively short amount of time — have expanded brand awareness, profitable industry connections, and a highly successful marketing campaign is almost laughable…
But, it’s one that’s quickly gaining legitimacy and momentum.
Now, bloggers are using social media/networking to reach a wider audience and gain readers…
Small business owners are incorporating social networking sites into their guerrilla marketing campaigns.
And, as a recent example, corporations like Visa are shelling out millions to Facebook in an effort to leverage the site’s reach among entrepreneurs.
The benefits of using social networking sites are real, tangible, and well-documented.
That said, there are a few principles regarding the use of sites like Facebook that will make navigating this new medium much easier. Below are 3 social networking principles that are well worth remembering:
1. Advocate Engagement - Actively interact with your friends, group members, followers, and fans.
Offer them a chance to develop a sense of ownership in what you’re doing by encouraging dialog, fostering a sense of community, and promoting two-way communication.
2. Building Relationships - People are social creatures. By nature, we desire to connect with one another.
Social networking gives everyone from solo entrepreneurs to small business owners opportunities to establish such vital relationships (which are often the backbone of word-of-mouth advertising).
Take advantage of those opportunities by leaving wall posts and thank you messages, sending gifts, and “tagging” friends.
3. Maintaining Transparency - This principle piggybacks of the previously mentioned one. Once a relationship is established, don’t just leave it at that. Go a step further…
Add photos, upload videos, update status messages constantly, import your blog feed… All of these things help you to “personalize” yourself or your offer. It puts the all important face behind the product.
This not only builds trust, it also leads to valuable relationships that could last a lifetime.
If time (or the lack thereof) is an issue, outsource some of those tasks to a virtual assistant. But, whatever you do, just don’t ignore them.