Social Networking 101 – A Newbie’s Guide to Guaranteed Success
Social Networking 101
Even if you are living under a rock, you know that you can’t escape social media. As a small business owner, you simply a) shouldn’t live under a rock, and b) should embrace the powers that be…social media.
Networking via social media can be a tricky feat, however. You don’t want to come off as a creeper. But how do you connect with people when you aren’t face-to-face?
Facebook may be the easiest place to start since it’s a platform that most people are on. First, make sure you have nothing to hide on the platform (remove embarrassing photos, etc). Then, think of an influential friend you may have. We’re not saying that this “influential” person needs to have 1000 friends. Instead, when we say “influential,” we mean that this person shows meaning in a field of interest. Take a look at that person’s friends (yes, this is stalker-esque. Deal with it). Do any of these friends show value to you in a business capacity? See if you have friends in common, and then, simply ask the mutual friend for an introduction! If you’re feeling full of gumption, you can take matters into your own hands and message him/her. If you don’t want to come off that strong, start interacting with the person of interest via their business page and see where that takes you. You should also take a look at the groups your influential friends have joined. Perhaps there’s something that will resonate with you and help you with your networking journey.
DO clean up your profile. DON’T post last night’s escapades.
DO (lightly) stalk your influential connections. DON’T be afraid to ask for an introduction.
DO search for groups to join (via influential connections, a simple search, etc). DON’T join “Yelling at Inanimate Objects” or any other group with similar embarrassment factor.
LinkedIn is the most traditional social networking tool out there. It’s more formal than Facebook and, we find that people usually connect on LinkedIn only in a business capacity (whereas Facebook connections are usually much more social). Their groups can be extremely useful–you can search by keyword or even search for specific people. Join groups, soak up the wisdom within the groups, and start messaging people to see if you can connect in a business capacity. You can also play the “friend-of-a-friend” game mentioned in the Facebook blurb above. However, make sure you are making meaningful connections. Be prepared to explain why you are interested in connecting (i.e. do you research!). It also goes without saying that your profile should look and feel professional.
DO create a professional, current profile. DON’T be as casual as you would be on Facebook.
DO utilize LinkedIn groups to network. DON’T join groups without understanding the group’s dynamics, expectations, or purpose.
DO your research. DON’T randomly ask to connect with people.
Twitter all starts with your bio–make sure it’s crafted succinctly to demonstrate your rock-star status. Your business interests should be apparent. Make sure you are keeping your own content fresh, as people won’t want to follow-you if you only offer stale nuggets here and there. We also recommend using a #FollowFriday, retweet often, and ask questions–these methods may help you get more people to notice you on what can seem like a deep abyss of information and contacts.Then, take some time to find the right people to follow. Start by using Twitter’s own search platform–simply search for a person or handle! We also find that these sites to be helpful, thanks to the all-knowing people at Mashable.
DO craft an amazing, compelling bio. DON’T try to be cute if cute doesn’t fit your job description.
DO ask questions and seek advice. DON’T YELL FOR ATTENTION VIA CAPS DURING YOUR TWEETS or tweet the mundane.
DO find interesting people to follow. DON’T spam them by tweeting at them all day long, thus becoming the horrible “super-fan.”
Instagram has this awesome blog to help you figure out how to get oriented on this very visual (and awesome) social networking site. Definitely take some time to sift through their wisdom. Then, focus on using imagery to tell your story. Post imagery that helps elevate your brand and makes potential contacts want to know you. Follow relevant industry peeps, and unleash the power that is the hashtag.
DO figure out what instagram is on a personal level before using it on a professional level. DON’T jump right in if you’ve never used it before.
DO treat Instragram as part of your social media strategy. DON’T simply treat it as a place for “pretty pictures.”
DO utilize smart, effective hashtags. DON’T use endless hashtags that make us wish we had never found you on insta. #stopthehashtags #besmart #youcandoit
There are so many different social media platforms that can help you network–these are the top ones out there, in Go Media’s opinion. Go forth and conquer! Still nervous? Social media is all about testing things out–so try a few things, analyze what you’ve learned, and then reassess your methods. Good luck!