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How to Network Correctly on Social Media

Mike Readings uncovers some hot tips on how to maximise your chances of building a business relationship with others using social media.

How often do you stop a random stranger in the street, stick out your hand (expecting them to shake it, not right now of course!) before walking off without saying anything after they have accepted your request to connect? Never, right!? That’s because we Brits are naturally disinclined to act in a way that could be viewed as slightly off-centre. In fact, it’s as much part of our culture as drinking tea and moaning about the weather.

Why then do we often think it’s okay to send out connection requests on social media to people we don’t know and then not follow up with a personalised message afterwards?

How to boost your chances of connecting with people on social media
First and foremost, if you looking to connect with someone on social media, the chances are it’s because you think the potential relationship will be beneficial to you – hopefully even mutually beneficial. So, you should be doing everything you can to secure that connection!

Now the number one way to boost your chances of successfully connecting with people is by interacting with their posts before you send them a request. By sharing their posts and commenting with valuable information, as well as complimenting them for the posts they publish, you will stand yourself in the best stead to secure that all-important connection.

The bottom line is people are far more likely to click ‘accept’ if you have taken the time to put yourself on their radar before you send a request.

Writing the perfect follow up message
Believe it or not, the same principles that work for offline networking also apply to online networking. Consider this example:

You’re at a party and someone you’ve never met approaches you. They politely introduce themselves with a smile, know exactly who you are and say some nice words about the stuff you do that they appreciate. They ask if they can shake your hand.

It’s almost certain that as a very minimum you would grant them their request and extend your hand, correct? There’s also a significant chance that the two of you would then spend some time chatting.

It’s no different on social media!

Once you feel as though you have put yourself firmly on your target connection’s radar, it’s time to secure that all-important virtual handshake by sending a connection request. If it’s accepted, be polite and follow up with a short message.

These five simple rules will help you construct the perfect follow up request message:

Be polite – After all, you are approaching them, so mind your P’s and Q’s.
Be concise – Nobody wants to read pages and pages. Don’t waffle and get to the point as quickly as you can.
Be specific – Tailor your message to speak to that particular individual. Mention something about their company or the work they do that you really like or think is valuable and helpful.
Be professional – Treat it the same as if you were sending an email. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.
Be praiseful – Praise goes a long way and will improve your chances of securing the connection you want.

Final thoughts…
Don’t assume that everyone out there is interested in connecting with you – especially if they don’t know you from Adam!

As we’ve already mentioned, you are probably connecting with someone because you think the relationship will be beneficial to you – maybe they’ll buy one of your products or avail your services. However, you need to do some legwork before you reach out to them.

If one of your products or services helps solve one of their major pain points, subtly explain that in the conversations you’re having with them. Provide undeniable value in the beginning and your relationship will be a lot more fruitful long term.

Social media is a world of professional opportunities just waiting for you. So, ensure you maximise your chances of securing connections with the people who matter to your business by going the extra mile before you extend a virtual hand.

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