While it’s debatable whether the essential human nature of people has changed, what is a little less deniable is the fact that the way we communicate has been revolutionized by technology. Social media in particular has changed the way that we share news and information as well as the ways in which we make connections with one another.
It’s valuable then, to look at the nature of this change and how we can take advantage of it in order to build stronger and better relationships both online and offline. The first thing worth noting about building connections through social media is that it’s a two-way street. In other words: you have to give in order to get. Fortunately, in the online as well as the offline world, giving can be just as enjoyable as getting!
A few overall suggestions when it comes to harnessing the power of social media to build relationships:
- People do business with those they know, like and trust.
- You are your brand. Your personality is reflected in what you share and how you communicate online. Be genuine and yet at the same time remember that your behavior reflects upon you both personally and professionally.
- Celebrate moments and get creative. People love storytelling and especially enjoy being surprised and delighted. Have fun and be relevant!
Now a few platform-specific tips:
- There are two sides here: personal and business.
- Use lists to weed through the noise. Lists are private so set up as many as you need to organize your relationships.
- Create lists to be intentional with your efforts. In Twitter, lists can be public or private.
- The engagement ratio here is 60 times greater than Facebook and 140 times that of Twitter. If Instagram isn’t part of your 2015 plan, it should be.
- Although you can’t create lists in Instagram, you can set up notifications for specific people who post on Instagram – it’s a great idea to set up notifications for your clients (or potential clients!)
The best way to use lists, for all platforms, is to look at each list a few minutes a day and authentically comment, or engage when appropriate. You’ll see people posting things that are important to them – personal interests, hobbies, pets, kids, etc – and there is huge value in commenting and engaging with them on a personal level – this is how we connect online and in real life.
A few closing thoughts to remember:
- Relationships are built with small interactions over time.
- The magic is in the one-to-one.
- Take the online offline. In-person interactions are always in style.
By leveraging social media, you cannot only make more connections but deeper ones as well. Just remember, social media doesn’t replace a phone call, a handwritten note or a face-to-face meeting – it only enhances it.