Signing into a social media platform and not contributing is like going to a networking event, sticking your name on your lapel and standing in the corner. You come out of the networking event and say “Well that event stunk.” That doesn’t sound like a good way to make contacts, does it? Well it gets worse. Now imagine going to that event, but you are not standing in the corner. You are walking around and sticking your ear over the shoulder of a group in conversation. Here’s another scenario; somebody walks up to you and introduces themselves but you simply walk away without saying a word. If that’s your way of networking, then stay home, it will save more finger food for me.
If you are getting involved in social media, be sure you are committed to the “social” part. It’s called social media for a reason and that is because you are supposed to socialize; to connect; to introduce; to meet; to learn; to engage. Is it NOT called “Lurking Media” or “Talk to the Hand Media”.
Social media is exactly like a networking event. Here are some tips for being a better networker and getting more from your social media:
- Show up. It sounds silly doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised at how many people want to make new contacts, but never network.
- Introduce yourself, but don’t start your sales pitch. Shoving your business down somebody’s throat is a turnoff. Go stand in the corner with the lurker.
- Before you throw the iron bars of your privacy settings around your profile, remember that this is social media. You don’t have to reveal intimate details, but leave your privacy settings open enough that other can determine if you are somebody they would like to engage. If somebody looks at your profile and finds “Dan only shares his information with his wife and his mom”, then chances are you are going to move along right past Dan to the next person and never give Dan a second thought.
- Ask questions. Be genuinely interested in the person you have just met. Find out about their business, what their challenges are, and why they are there. You may have nothing in common with them, but you also may know somebody who does. The more you are interested in the other person, the more that person will find you interesting. After all, people love to talk about themselves.
- Get involved in topics of discussion or even start a discussion. The more you contribute RELEVANT information, the more you will be seen as the expert on the topic.
- Thank people for engaging in discussion and that you appreciated their input.
- If you really want to make an impact, go out of your way to get back to them with information or a contact that they were looking to make. They will be astonished that you remembered them. They, in turn, will want to go out of their way for you.
- Ask somebody you DO know to introduce you to somebody you would LIKE to know. The person making the introduction is like a bridge over the chasm of unknown-unliked-untrusted.
- Be cordial. If you engage in conversation and you are not comfortable, you don’t have to become their Facebook friend, LinkedIn Contact, or Twitter Follower.
- Be genuine. Successful business people are very intuitive and are able to identify that you are trying to be something you are not.
Finally, and most importantly, each new person you meet will know somewhere around 200 other people. Be careful of whom you are quick to dismiss.