This is turning into a HUGE pet peeve for me, so I figured I’d write an article about what I teach business professionals when it comes to building your social networking connections. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t receive RANDOM connection requests on LinkedIn and Facebook from people I do not know. I’m not sure what their goals are when requesting connections to people they don’t know, but my guess is they just don’t know any better. And more than likely someone in their office has been having success recently with building/selling to someone they met on LinkedIn, so their bosses have put on the “Full Court LinkedIn/Facebook Press” without properly training them on how to use these great social media networking tools.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and really any social media platform can be a great way to build your social network and strengthen current relationships. BUT, you need to understand a few rules. Here are 5 easy ones to start off with, as I get frustrated down the road I’ll post more:)
1st – Don’t EVER friend someone on Facebook you DON’T know! First and foremost Facebook is a personal social media and you shouldn’t be connected with someone you don’t know. Facebook is a powerful tool for making your current friendships stronger and adding a twist to business relationships.
2nd – If you’re going to use Facebook as a tool for connecting with business connections then make sure ALL of your posts and pictures are exactly how you want to brand yourself. Personally I believe EVERYTHING you publish to the internet should be this way. Whatever you put online or in an email is PERMANENT and your digital footprint stays with you forever. But, if you listen to anything I tell you, listen to this: If you’re going to use Facebook for business please make sure you have reviewed your past posts and pictures and that you walk a fine line in the future.
3rd – Don’t send a LinkedIn connection to someone you don’t know WITHOUT an explanation in the invitation. LinkedIn has their stock “I’d like to connect with you” line in the box when you send a connection request. That’s fine if you know the person and you’re confident they know you. But if you don’t know them you need to explain why you want to connect. LinkedIn is a great to way get away from COLD CALLING. LinkedIn can make cold calls warm. HOW? Let’s say you have a list of 20 prospects, there is a really good chance you will find them on LinkedIn and there’s an even better chance that you have a few common connections. Send them a connection request with a customized invitation explaining why you’d like to connect. Example: “Jim, We don’t know each other but we are both connected with John Smith and I’ve heard a lot about you and your business. I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn and find out more about your business. Maybe one day we can meet up and chat”.
There are limits to how much you can type in the invitation, but you get the picture. Every day I get random LinkedIn requests with the stock line “I’d like to connect with you”. So I have a stock line I send back ” Thank you for your connection request. Your name looks familiar, how do we know each other?” Every once in a while, the person reminds me how we met and know each other and a light bulb goes off in my head. Most times the person responds back with “I’m not sure how we know each other, but I was thinking the same thing.” WHAT? This has to be the worst response I get, and I get it a few times PER DAY. If you don’t know me, why do you want to know me? Let me know on the initial invitation, otherwise you just look like you’re trying to connect with anyone and everyone.
4th – Have goals. Make a list of how many connections you’d like to make per week, month and year. Then on a weekly basis strategically find those connections. But have a reason for each connection and a game-plan to market to them.
5th – Twitter is a great place to build your personal and business brand. But Twitter is unlike other Social Media platforms if you’re going to use it, go all-in. If you’re not going to be on it every day and taking full advantage of it, you really won’t see a return. Twitter users don’t want to see someone who pops into a conversation only when it’s convenient for them. They will see right through you. I personally don’t use Twitter enough for this reason, I can’t commit the time to do it right.
Matt Plapp, I’m the President of Driven Media Solutions, a full service marketing firm located in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky. I have over 15 years of experience in small business marketing in the region. From Corporate America to Locally Owned companies, I’ve been involved in most forms of marketing and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I have a strong passion for Guerilla & Grass Roots Marketing, Social Media and Internal Marketing Strategies. My goal is to help you create and implement a plan that will work as a foundation for your company’s brand. If you want to take your sales, profits and BRAND to the next level contact me for a FREE consultation. firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-743-2408