Season 6 – epiBLOG 8:
As an entrepreneur, you’re always thinking of new ways of growing your business and spending as little money as possible to do it. One of those ways of doing this is by reaching out to people on social media through sending them a private message. Every serious entrepreneur understands that networking with amazing people is one of the keys to reaching the level of success that they’re seeking.
Many of the platforms used the most consist of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. The platform Alignable is working towards making a name for itself. I’m not sure it’s truly established itself as a game-changer for networking, but it’s definitely another option. There are many others, but let’s face it, the first three listed are the biggest platforms where people connect with others to build their network. And Alignable, to my understanding, is steadily growing since it went public in 2014.
Today’s topic is on how to effectively connect with new people on social media as an entrepreneur.
First, for each of these sections, let’s talk about what not to do.
1 — Review people’s profiles before reaching out to them.
Don’t randomly send out friend requests, invitations to connect, or just follow anyone on Instagram. You’re connecting with people. You should use your discernment as much as humanly possible. This will save you a lot of grief in the long run.
Determine what they are about. The first feature that I look at on someone’s profile is their headline (or header) to determine if they fit into the network of people that I would like to have surrounding me. I love ambitious, innovative, and amazing people around me who want to help other people. People whom I know I can contribute to, provide value to, and support. Specifically, I look for established and successful entrepreneurs and/or speakers. The second feature that I look at is if they post a lot of negative material or are “too political” to the point where it creates a negative atmosphere. I get on social media daily, so I want to be surrounded by a certain caliber of people. I don’t mind people sharing their opinions – even if it differs from mine, but I don’t like a lot of negativity that ends up drawing more negativity. Who wants all of that negativity in their feed?
2 — Don’t reach out to people without mutual connections.
On Facebook or on LinkedIn, don’t send a friend request or send an invite to connect if you don’t have mutual friends/connections in common with an individual – unless you’ve had a verbal/face-to-face conversation with the person. People will have their guard up and feel like you’re even more of a stranger than you are. Unless you met offline already, you’re more than likely not going to get that person to accept your invite or friend request. Think about it. When you get a friend request from someone who doesn’t share any mutual friends with you, what are your thoughts? I accidentally did this yesterday to someone as I was scrolling through my phone. Ugh! My thumbs sometimes have a mind of their own.
People let their guard down immediately if they know that you have mutual people who you’re already connected with. I would suggest determining a minimum number of mutual connections/friends that you would like to share with individuals in your network, and reach out to those individuals who have that number. For example, maybe you only send and accept a request or an invite to connect to people who have at least 10 minimum mutual connections or more. The higher this number, the more likely you both are to connect. This is only a suggestion, but I’m sharing what works for me, and what I learned from working with Business Strategist Shaun Cassidy. Obviously, if you find that you have a lot in common based on reviewing their profile, yet you only share one mutual friend, reach out to them. I’m only suggesting that it’s easier if you create standards for yourself in order to be as efficient as possible with this process.
3 — Once you move passed the connection invite and friend request/acceptance process, don’t immediately send them a message trying to sell them your product or service.
People are not going to buy from someone they don’t know or don’t like. You have to build a rapport with people. You need to begin to build some sort of a professional relationship. Don’t get me wrong, you can immediately reach out to someone after you are both connected, but just make sure you’re doing it to build a professional relationship, not to sell them something.
You simply can share with them what you do for a living and what that means to you. Be brief. You’re not telling your life story. Build a professional relationship with them by asking questions that you want to genuinely get the answers to. Let them share what’s important to them. Find out if there is something that you can do to provide value in their lives without thinking that you have to sell them something. In other words, think: “How can I be a benefit to this person, contribute to them, and/or support this individual?” Being a genuine giver after being a genuine listener will lead to a phone call, which will lead to an opportunity for you to share more of what you can do to benefit them. Sometimes the conversation will lead to nothing more than a friendship. Treasure that. Nothing loss there. You’ve added a wonderful person to your network. Sometimes these social media interactions lead to business because you have a product and/or service that someone needs, you took the time to listen, to be genuine, and they began to feel comfortable with you, to like you, and so trusting you by giving you business was no longer an obstacle.
Today’s LESSON is to be genuine and authentic when reaching out to new people to connect with.
FUN ASSIGNMENT: If you don’t consistently reach out to people on social media at this point, begin to do so this week. Set a goal to reach out to five new people each day on whatever platform of your choosing that works for both you and your business.
Nitara Osbourne owns The Infinite Writer Agency, LLC, which provides content to producers, publishers, and individuals seeking help with developing their life stories into nonfiction books and movie scripts. Ghostwriting and blogging services are provided for clients as well. If you’re an accomplished entrepreneur, and are looking to tell your story, contact Nitara Osbourne. InfiniteWriterAgency@gmail.com.