We've all seen some bad marketing.
While email marketing will always have its place in business, many send emails without focus, purpose, or strategy (because someone told them to).
I think social marketing and networking is a worthy investment of your time and energy. Truth is, it's now pretty much unavoidable and involuntary. Ergo, take control of what you're doing online! Help create offline results for yourself.
Personal social media is free. It gives you instant access to VIPs (not to mention thousands of friends, family, and fans). Social is also “real.” The people you’re attempting to establish relationships with are probably representing themselves online.
So how do you turn a tweet into a meet? These steps should help.
1. Design the first impression
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Start with your channels. Are they designed? Pair authenticity and strategy. Showcase great photos, a compelling bio, and a link to learn more about you. If you don't have a website, send audiences to another social network. Keep in mind that mutual friends and/or amount of followers are also factors in your first impression.
Beyond your channels, it’s all about content. Pair authenticity and strategy here, too. Think of your daily content as free instant access to make positive impressions or follow ups at scale. Your content may be someone’s first impression!
With content, focus on giving. Social media is not the place for constantly asking something from your audience. Whatever you do, keep it positive. Don’t use social media to rant. Be conscious of your content; post on purpose! It may be worthwhile to do some “spring cleaning” of your historic (or archived) content.
2. Make connection
Pick your poison...I mean platform! There’s a rule of seven in marketing and advertising. It takes up to seven positive impressions before a message will stick. The great thing is that you can make positive impressions across several platforms online. Start by making VIP connections where you're most active (but try not to be invasive or rush the timing).
Test your first impression by connecting with lower hanging fruit first. Set up Google Alerts for your top VIPs (so you've automated a cue for yourself on when to reach out congratulating them on their news). Be smart. On some networks, you can follow people’s content without actually following their channel. Some networks are also much less invasive—one-way (following) versus two-way (friending).
When you're confident in your career and truly come to the table as a collaborator, connecting with someone online isn't such a monumental or invasive task.
3. Establish a relationship
Treat online just like offline. Be a human with this other human. Establish a connection beyond the catalyst.
The best way to establish a real relationship (beyond your own content) tends to be engaging with their posts. Do not be obsequious—you will kill the relationship. Engage with content you’re authentically compelled to like, comment on, or share. You can save time by setting up filtered lists of your VIPs and customized notifications. Learn how in this free training.
4. Make the ask
At some point, try to take the online relationship offline. When you make an ask, send a private message. If you can, find and use email first.
Compliments and/or mutual friends are highly effective introductions. Start by establishing credibility and trust. When you make the ask, “how” questions are best. It’s an open-ended question (versus yes or no). The response will be more valuable to you. No matter what you write or how you sent your request, go after what you want like a surgeon. Be quick, clear, and careful in your writing.
Try to make your request an easy yes. Don’t ask “Can I pick your brain?” or “Would you be my mentor?” Those are pretty selfish requests. What’s in it for them? Think about the value you can offer this person.
“How open are you to a meeting to discuss collaborative possibilities?"
“How open are you to lunch? My treat. I would love to see what I can learn from your journey.”
Sometimes it’s necessary to make an ask when seeking online connection—especially on two-way networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. In which case, the question becomes “How open are you to connecting here? I’d love to stay up to date on all the great things you’re doing!”
The big takeaway here is to focus your attention on your impressions (your channels and daily content) and to create real relationships (through honest engagement). While a tweet to meet can happen very fast, take your time. Prioritize long-term relationships over short-term opportunities.
Are you best served through email or social media? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.