The most important thing to recognize about Social Media is the word “Social”. Online networking through so-called Social Media sites grew out of a need for people to remain connected in a growing digital world. This is not a passive form of marketing; the ‘Social’ aspect means actively interacting, sharing, commenting, adding a personal touch, making connections and growing your network.
Think about your presence online just as you would think of your attendance at a (very large) networking event or conference. Everyone you meet adds value to your business, whether they are going to turn out to be new clients, new friends, or new supporters in your professional learning network (PLN).
You share something different with each person while maintaining the message and integrity of your brand in all of your conversations. Growing your social media networks is the same, and you are going to be able to divide your networks into three groups of equal parts: Professional Extended and Client networks.
- Your Professional Network – Contacts who share for each other, read each other blogs and work in the same or similar industries. Just like at networking events, these are the colleagues with whom you want to build mutual respect and admiration.
- Your Extended Network – These are your ‘cheerleaders’! They like your posts, take an interest in what you do and are there when you need them! Most likely, this group is made up of close friends and family, but their interactions with you on Social Media can lead to invaluable referrals!
- Your Potential Clients – Waiting in the background, watching what you do, waiting until the right thing grabs their attention. Don’t be afraid to engage potential clients by asking them to share experiences, photos and opinions on your posts – you never know when someone wants the opportunity to feel acknowledged!
It is important to pay attention to each group, as you never know where your next lead will come from, and who might be watching from afar, waiting until the time is right.