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Many businesses are getting social media accounts to become a part of “the world”. But what often happens is it becomes a broadcast station rather than a relationship building platform.

The first level of social media management is posting content and learning how/who to follow. If you have this mastered, the next step is to start developing relationships! Social media is a great platform to share company information, but at the end of the day your time spent will be worthwhile when you make a “real contact”.

Making Real Contacts in Social Media

If you are a B2B company, LinkedIn and Twitter are your best social media outlets to make connections because this is where your potential clients are also engaging. In your LinkedIn groups and on your Twitter home page, you will quickly see who the biggest influencers are. If any of these social media mavens fit your potential customer profile or would work as a great business referral partner, you want to reach out to them.

Making “real contacts” on social media starts with starting a conversation by making “small talk”. You can do this by giving a compliment, commenting on something they posted or sending a direct message asking a question. Once you have earned their attention, you can take the conversation further via email or phone.

How to Make Connections on Twitter

Twitter is an open-field to connect with new prospects. Most times it is a marketing manager or owner that is managing the Twitter feed so it is a good chance you will get a connection to management.

Here are a few different ways you can connect with prospects on Twitter.

  1. RT posts from others with a comment
  2. Thank people for following and add an additional comment demonstrating common interest to start a conversation
  3. Mention users with an observant comment about their business “I saw your post on …., we’re here to help you with that.”

Twitter is also a great place to make connections for product/service publicity. Whether you are launching a new product and want some influential bloggers to write about it or would like to submit an article to an industry website, Twitter is the place to make these connections. You just need to find the right people and start a conversation.

How to Make Connections on LinkedIn

Posting updates, starting conversations and commenting in discussions are all great activities to be doing on LinkedIn. The goal is to share your industry expertise and make new connections based on common interests.

Who should you connect with on LinkedIn?

You should be inviting to connect with people who are engaging in your same discussion groups and who have been commenting regularly on your posts. If someone is showing a genuine interest in the content that you are sharing, they could either be a good potential client or someone to refer leads from their contacts.

When formatting your invite to connect, be sure to include a message with why you would like to connect.

Increase Ranking of your LinkedIn Discussions

To increase the ranking of your LinkedIn discussions, your post needs to be seen as interesting. This is determined by the number of “likes” and comments.

Here are some tips on how to structure your LinkedIn post:

  • Share posts that address “pain points”, this will get the most interest
  • Be sure you are posting relevant information to your group – if the content is relevant, the members will likely be interested and inspired to comment
  • End the post with an invitation for comments or further discussion

Here are a couple of good practices to increase the exposure of your LinkedIn posts.

  • Share links on your Twitter and Facebook pages.
  • Invite internal staff to comment and share on their profiles.
  • Include a link to your discussion when commenting on other member’s posts (only if your discussion is relevant to your comment and the original post).
  • Get into a good practice of commenting and “liking” other member’s posts who will likely return the favour.

Don’t get frustrated if your LinkedIn posts are not making it to the front page of the group home page. You will see in time what works and what doesn’t. Please continue to comment and like other posts in the group. In the least you are sharing your industry expertise and increasing exposure of you as a brand.

Taking Social Media Conversations Offline

Remember that everyone engaging on social media are “people”. We are all out there to promote our businesses and find solutions to our needs. Being on social media brings you closer to people that are searching for solutions. Make these connections by reaching out.

The conversation starts on Twitter and Facebook but the real lead nurturing happens “offline” with a phone call, sales meeting or email. Take the first step and say “hi”.

Contact us for additional social media consulting, or information on our social media management services. We help businesses write content and guide them to be more successful on their social media networks. Our main focus is helping our clients succeed online.

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