I’m not a fan of the word ‘networking.’ It brings up images of stuffy rooms full of salespeople hawking their product or service at you. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be the experience we have in creating lasting, meaningful connections with our readers, other bloggers, and all-around new and cool people on social media. Though nothing beats real-life , face-to-face interaction, social media makes it possible to find, make and build relationships like we never have before. You’ve got a whole world of people to connect to at the tips of your fingers! For those who rarely use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram – and as a refresher for those who do – these are a few tips to forge those valuable connections.
Get out what you put in
Many people want to get into Twitter and other social media sites, but don’t know what to do after they’ve set up their profile. How do you find people to talk to? What should I say on here? How often should I update? I’ll address these questions specifically latter, but first and foremost, know that you can’t get anything out of social media unless you’re willing to put the patience, time and energy in it. It might take some time, but getting comfortable in each site and finding your groove can pay off dividends for you and your blog in the long run.
Get in where you fit in
A great place to start finding people to follow and talk to is to search within each site for things you’re interested in. Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram make this really easy with hashtag search functionality. A simple search for #blogger or #fashion will pull up tons of current conversations to chime in on and suggested users to follow. Try searching for your favorite brand or designer, and see what it brings you!
Helpful is the name of the game
I’ve found that being helpful and supportive – and seeking the same when you need it – is one of the best ways to connect with others on social media. Offer your expertise or words of encouragement when, where and as often as you can. It’s very likely you’ll leave a lasting impression!
The wonderful thing about social media is that being shy doesn’t need to be a crutch in making connections like it is in real-life situations. Twitter is especially tailor-made for you to find people that you don’t know, but would like to. Don’t be shy about sending a tweet to your favorite blogger or brand – or even just a friendly face you see talking to other people you know. If their social media game is right, they’ll respond to you in a timely manner!
Remember, respond & reciprocate
As bloggers, we’d all love for our content to be read and shared far and wide. As Russell Simmons likes to say, “You've got to give what you want to receive [it.]” Use social media to individually thank people who’ve left a comment or mentioned that they’ve read your blog. Tell other bloggers you’ve enjoyed reading their latest post, and maybe share it to your followers. And just as you would with emails or blog comments, take the time to respond to everyone (or as many as possible) who mention you on social media. Acknowledging, reciprocating and responding all go a long way in building solid relationships with your readers and followers.
Do you have any great stories or tips for networking on social media? Let me know!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]