Building Valuable Relationships using Social Media Part 1: Connecting with professionals and potential partners
It is every marketer’s dream to be able to connect with users through social media and turn them into potential partners or customers. In the first of a two-part series, learn how to effectively build credible and durable partner/vendor relationships with your social media connections.
Social media has made it easier for everyone to connect with one another. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain attention and rise above the clutter of irrelevant content, also known as noise. Given that 69% of Americans use new media technology two or more times a week (source: 2010 Cone Consumer New Media Study), it is ever more important than ever to leverage social media as a communication channel to connect with your target audience on a deeper level. Here are some tips:
Start Listening to your Cliental
It is important to know who you are reaching out to. Start by taking some time to do a basic search on him or her. Find out their interests, their most recent social activity and the issues in which the seem active about. This in turn can help you create a unique approach for your service. Remember, the focus should always be on your customer, not your product.
Once you begin your unique approach through their individualistic channel, start engaging them in conversations. This serves two purposes; Not only does it show your continued interest in engaging with the person, but this is also a chance for you to share your insights and convince the other person of your value. Be careful not to form it as a pitch, in which trained ears of business professionals have no trouble picking up. Social Media platforms rarely serve as conversion opportunities. Rather, they should be used to create industry-wide value and promote client success. Always do your research beforehand and be sure to generate valuable insights that the other person will appreciate.
Add Value Up-front.
Never jump into interaction with your potential clients on social media by promoting your product. Rather, present solutions for their problems or push their market-relevant conversations further. Selling your product without adding client-value is a huge turn-off for any audience. So what can you give?
This could be in the form of recommendations for example. When you come across a relevant and interesting story written by the other party, offer your own insights and refer to relevant links and information that the person might find useful. Act as a resource and they will be grateful and be more likely to engage with you in the future. Also, if you are in a position to do so, make introductions among people in your network who can help each other out.
Promote your Client’s Success
What stays in a tweet should not remain confined to that tweet. It is for that reason why retweets and hashtags were created. Social Media exploded in popularity because it epitomizes the very social nature of human beings. So share the content the other party has published; be it articles, tweets or blog posts, this will enable you to start building credibility. Just be sure not to go overboard and start sharing them blindly and mindlessly. Remember, curate your content in order to add true value instead of noise.
It doesn’t stop here. Persevere
It is not always easy to cultivate a genuine relationship off social media, keeping in mind that you are limited to mere texts and visuals to interact with the other party. In addition, the ease in building and hiding behind a facade on social media makes it all the more difficult to build trust, let alone build trust with business professionals. But with continued effort, the hard work will pay off.
Be personal. Add value. And don’t forget to thank them.