Social media is all about building relationships. You are connected to various communities within social media sites. The focus should be on how to help the individuals and the communities as a whole.
Getting people to trust you is one of the biggest challenges that you will ever have in your business. It isn’t uncommon for you to have many meetings before a level of trust is established. It takes a very long time to build trust in relationships but without it, you will not get anywhere.
Once you have initially connected in face-to-face networking meetings, you should use social media to build on those relationships that you have established. In the past, there were many networking groups that only allowed one person from each industry.
You would build relationships with the network members and give them referrals. That allowed you to remain in the group. The way that you acquired referrals was by contacting the members of your online communities.
Now, with social media having such a strong presence, your network and your group of friends are often in the same industry. This allows you to learn from each other and to share common interests.
As you work on growing your networks and groups of friends, some of the people whom you include are leaders in your industry. If you read the blogs of industry leaders and follow them, you are strengthening your knowledge and, at the same time, you are anticipating that the industry leaders are going to notice you and will want to connect with you on a more personal level.
If you expect to build relationships, you need to get to know people and allow them to get to know you. Bear in mind, of course, that you need to accomplish this in a way that is not overbearing and also benefits their network and yours.
There are many ways in which you can build better relationships.
- Hone your listening skills: If you don’t listen, you will never be able to place yourself in the other person’s shoes. The first step to being able to do that is to really listen to what they want and need.
- Provide feedback: After you have listened to the needs of the other person, you can provide him or her with valuable feedback. Communicate that you understand how he or she feels. It may be helpful if you tell a story that demonstrates a similar experience that you had.
- Make sure that you are available: If you let people know that you are available, they will want to come to you to solve their issues. Give them the understanding that your door is always open and always take the time to hear what they have to say. This builds trust and strengthens the relationship.
- Look at profiles: People put information in their profiles that they feel is important to them. Make the effort to really pay attention to what they have in their profiles and comment on it when you speak with them.
- Be where they are: If you want to connect with certain people online, make sure that you frequent the same places that they do. The only way to truly evaluate whether they fit into your network is to be connected to them on the social media sites that they are a part of. You want to be able to know what they are sharing with their followers. Form a group and make them a part of it. Show that you are interested in what they have to say.
- Share other people’s information: If the people with whom you connect write blog postings, repost them. If they have links to other articles in their blog posts, make sure that you read them. If you feel that you have something worthwhile to say, comment on their posts. Your comments don’t have to be long. They just have to be meaningful. If you have a question that will open up a good discussion, ask it.
- Reach out to others: You don’t need to spend hours online to have meaningful conversations. If one of the people with whom you want to build a relationship needs help with something that you know something about, respond to them. Try to help them as much as you can.
- Be interesting: Try to isolate your own distinction. Communicate what makes you and your business special and different than everyone else. Make people want to get to know you.
- Meet people face to face: If one of your connections is giving a presentation at an event, try to attend the event. Wait to speak with him/her after the crowd has died down at the end of the presentation. He or she will appreciate you effort of waiting to connect in person.
- Demonstrate respect for his or her space and time: You can theoretically be connected to social media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Having a strong sense of when the people you want to connect with are around is very important. If you notice that they are more active earlier in the day, it is probably best to try to reach them during the time when you know they are active.
- Be sincere: Understand that not everyone is going to like you. Never pretend to be someone you are not just to try and fit in. It takes time to build relationships. You need to be patient. Your patience will pay off and eventually you will have a solid relationship with those whom you pursue.
Social media allows you to reach out to people and build relationships with them. Sometimes you even build relationships with people whom you have never met in person. You get to know them online and form a strong bond over time.
Relationships are nothing more than two people relating to each other as people. Remember that people do business with people and of course, they will want to do business only with people they trust.
Relationships don’t happen immediately. You build them over time. You also need to be selective about your relationships. Your instincts will let you know if something doesn’t feel right. In this day and age, there are so many great ways to build relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling. Take the time to explore them.
We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. Please contact us at CompuKol Communications for further discussion on how we might be able to assist you and your team.
About the Author.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).