If you’ve ever lost half an afternoon on Facebook bantering with friends, browsing through photos, and clicking on links, you may be wondering how social media can be anything more than a big time sink. So if you’re trying to use it for business, you may be more than a little tempted to take some shortcuts with your interactions to save time and cut to the chase so you can get some “real work” done.
Well, I have news for you. Building relationships IS real work that is critical for the success of your business. And there are no real shortcuts to getting from POINT A (where someone doesn’t know you at all) to POINT B (where they’re interested in getting to know you) to POINT C (where they want to work with you and recommend you to the people they know).
There’s still a real person behind that social media profile. And as The Supremes, Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks have all said, “You can’t hurry love.” While social media CAN save you time with your relationship building efforts, there are 5 shortcuts you absolutely should NOT take:
1) Don’t shortcut the INTRODUCTION. When inviting someone to connect with you for the first time, introduce yourself and explain why you’re reaching out. Don’t make THEM do the work to figure out who you are and why they should connect with you because chances are they won’t do that work. And even if they do accept your invitation, you’ve done nothing to move even a tiny step towards POINT B.
2) Don’t shortcut the KNOW, LIKE & TRUST. People I’ve NEVER spoken to before have asked me to to connect them to someone in my network. Listen closely…I value my network highly and if I don’t know you or your work, I won’t risk my reputation or my relationship with a blind recommendation. Build a relationship with me first, then we’ll see where to go from there.
3) Don’t shortcut the CONVERSATION. Even though you may want to connect with someone so they’ll help promote your book or website, that isn’t the first thing you should say. “Hello” would be a good alternative. Or “I enjoy your posts. Nice to connect with you.” You can’t jump to POINT C from a standing start. Before anyone will care about your agenda, you have to get them to care about YOU, and that usually only comes through interaction and conversation.
4) Don’t shortcut COMMON SENSE. Does it really make sense to tag me in a post that has nothing to do with me just so I’ll pay attention to you? Or poke me? If these tactics are shortcuts to anything they’re shortcuts to getting unfollowed and unfriended!
5) Don’t shortcut the VALUE ADD. What have you done for your network lately? Have you acknowledged them, thanked them, shared their posts or offered to help them in some way? Social media makes it easy to do all of these. BUT you have to be paying attention to find openings to contribute. Or better yet, why not just ask directly, “What can I do to help you?”
To learn some of the shortcuts that DO work and for more rules of the road for online networking, join me on my Smart Networking Shift call “Smash through the Myths and Create Social Media Success!” with guest expert Dabney Porte.
© 2012, Liz LynchWANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: “Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online, works with professional service firms who have great expertise but fall short in generating all the business they deserve. To learn how to attract maximum clients with minimum effort, visit www.LizLynchOnline.com.”