My good friend, Frank Agin, the master of networking (the real-life version as opposed to the digital or social media version most of our readers probably think of when they hear that term), recently wrote a great article about how to Make the Most of That Membership you might have in a club or fraternal networking organization.
Frank listed 7 tips to get the most from your membership in a group like your local Rotary club, Chamber of Commerce or even a networking group like one of Frank’s AmSpirit chapters.
As I read Frank’s seven tips for success, it struck me that with a bit of adjustment, these same tips would apply for making the most of one’s social media network. So if I may be so bold, here is a sequel to Frank’s list about how to Make the Most of That Social Media Engagement.
- Consistently Attend – Just as in the real world, being reliable and dependable matters. Slow-and-steady wins the race to build credibility online just as in the real world. Therefore, it’s important to set a sustainable pace that you can keep up with.
- Come Early, Stay Late – Believe it or not, this pays off online, too. People notice if you interact with them outside of regular business hours…but not too far outside! Don’t comment on someone’s blog at 3 a.m. after being out all night. Posting a comment at 7:30 a.m., however, shows them you were up and at it early in the day, which says as much about you as your comment does.
- Associate Between Meetings – This is often easier in the digital world than the real world, because when you connect to someone online, you frequently see more about them than you would if you only saw them in person at a Chamber luncheon once per month. Environments like LinkedIn allow you to see many other things about people (hobbies, past jobs, colleges attended, areas of study, etc.) that allow you to deepen your relationship with them.
- Get Involved – You won’t make any friends by standing alone in the corner at a networking event, so you need to jump into the conversations happening online, too, in order to get benefits. That starts with posting and contributing to threads. Take it one step further and consider getting involved in a leadership role, by moderating a group or facilitating discussions as well.
- Present Yourself Well – If you are trying to use social media to build business relationships, act professionally. Teenagers can use “text speak” (LOL, OMG, no capitalization or punctuation, etc.) online, but you shouldn’t. A good rule of thumb is to remember that social media for business is casual, but it’s not sloppy.
- Add Value To Others – This is one where I disagree with Frank. I would not put it as #6 on the list. I would make it #1! But the sentiment is exactly right. You have to “give before you get” in the digital world, just as in the real world. Share what others are saying from time to time and actually take time to listen. Just like in real life, in the digital world you don’t want to dominate the whole conversation. Give and take is a solid rule to live by.
- Be Patient – Just like you don’t get business from someone the first time you meet them at a Rotary meeting, you won’t get leads just by linking to someone on LinkedIn or sending out your first tweet. Building relationships is a long term project in the digital world, just as it is in the real world.
Thanks to Frank for planting the idea of how to maximize your real-world group memberships in my head…and now you’re ready to maximize your digital networking opportunities, too!
If you’re ready to take online networking to a new level, contact our experienced social media experts to help you develop and execute a successful strategy right away.