One of the most successful ways to build your professional network in the digital world is through Social Media. Get it right and you will find your brand is more widely known both in your industry and beyond.
For business, Social Media is all about interaction and about gaining notoriety. Particular networks are also perfect to getting noticed by other professionals in your industry (this article focuses on Twitter). Brilliant interaction is about getting people talking - and that isn’t necessarily always about you. While it can seem a daunting prospect at the get-go, by following a few insider tips you can be sure that your interactions will have the effect you want them to.
Specificity is Key When Choosing Who to Interact With
When interacting, make sure you’ve done your research and identified the best individuals to focus on. While it might seem like a great idea to aim for massive corporates/industry leaders, more often than not you will find that you aren’t able to build up a personal rapport. This is simply because many of these are too focussed on other matters and their own network is already strong enough to make low-level Social Media interactions less of a necessity. Also, more often than not, these profiles are run specifically by Social Media Managers so while you may be getting a response, your words won’t necessarily be reaching anybody of influence within the company.
Finding a Common Ground and Building a Rapport
This next step is ensuring you are saying the right thing. You want to be sure that everything you say is interesting enough to warrant a response from the other user. This shouldn’t be at all difficult; if you have done your research, you should share a niche. If you are looking to network with another professional from your industry, consider sharing your opinion on current industry news and ask for theirs. If you follow them and see what they are tweeting, you will also be able to comment on any of their own company updates or share your thoughts on any content they share and make recommendations of your own.
Ask Their Opinion
The best way to interact is to strike the balance between valuing others’ opinions and clarifying your own. If you make clear your business’s comment on current news this will help solidify your position as an industry leader while, in the same vein, asking the other user’s opinion helps to build an exchange where they feel respected - but without you appearing overbearing or needy.
In Your Own Tweets, Give Them Reasons to Want to Talk
Twitter for Business outlines the 80/20 principle when engaging on the network, stating that 80% of what you say should be driving interaction with your followers - retweets, replies and favourites. This foundation really does work and highlights the importance of interaction through your business’s Social Media channels. With the remaining 20%, always include a call to action and make sure that your content is engaging enough to warrant a response - if you can get the same users to interact with your tweets, you know you are doing something right.
Alongside building a network of industry professionals, if you are looking to build your following, keep watch of where people are talking about your product or services. Get involved in conversations with consumers - it will help your company to appear as one who values the views of their customers.
Don’t be Overbearing - Take Your Time and Let Your Network Build Naturally
When shaking-up your Social Media interactions and attempting to build your network, allow things to progress at a leisurely pace. The last thing you want is to frustrate your potential network by spamming them constantly or commenting on everything they say. If you follow this simple outline you can be sure that the results will come.
Let Your Personality Shine
Remember when you are interacting you are doing so as your brand so don’t be afraid to do so with some personality. Does your copy generally take a humorous, friendly tone? Use the same in your tweets! This helps build the identity of your brand.