Social media sites have completely redefined and revolutionised how businesses and people generally think about networking. Media platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many more have millions of monthly active users and are now the leading tools for creating and deepening relationships with businesses in your niche or potential clients and partners via instant messaging.
However, many decide to be pushy with the sales of their product or service too much when another business doesn’t even know you yet. This can tarnish any potential long-lasting relationships and make you untrustworthy in your niche of business.
Yet, when you or a social media marketer can use it correctly, you can quickly find like-minded people and businesses that could enlighten and benefit your small businesses or large entities massively.
What is Social Media?
So, what are social media platforms? Well, the full definition of social media is a computer- or device-based technology that provides people with the ability to share ideas and thoughts and to share information through virtual networks or communities.
When using social media sites, they will always be used on an internet connection, which will give the user base the freedom to see the user-generated content whenever they desire. Whether it be written, short-form video, or audio content, media sites allow consumers to view anything on any platform at any given moment.
If you’re using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc., it enables users to engage through social networking websites or applications that can be downloaded. While popular social media is most prevalent in Europe, America, and Asian countries, Indonesia leads the list of people who use social media in the world. According to the data, 4.5 billion people and counting are using social networking sites to their advantage. Whether this is for networking purposes or just mindless scrolling, the growth potential is still skyrocketing.
Advantages of Social Media For Networking
Social media is a commodity that many people just use to browse what others are doing, but if you use certain platforms for networking, it can be extremely beneficial with the number of active users on each platform per day. Here are some odvantages of some of the most common social media networking platforms:
Instagram: A Visual Experience
Instagram’s visual-centric environment thrives on imagery. If you use it properly, your brand will show aesthetically pleasing visuals, look to engage with your audience through Stories and leverage the platform using popular hashtags. If you choose to use Instagram, you will massively benefit from their community by looking to converse with businesses and potential clients in your niche.
LinkedIn: The Professional Network
LinkedIn is a more professional network, making it ideal for B2B networking. On this platform, you can create an eye-catching profile showing your expertise. Not only that but you can share your industry insights through long-form posts and engage in relevant discussions. On top of that, you can use the ‘Connect’ feature and explore LinkedIn Groups for industry-specific networking.
Twitter: Bite-Sized Insights and Conversations
Twitter focuses on real-time conversations, where you can show snippets of your brand’s personality, use trending hashtags, and actively engage with your audience through replies and retweets. Also, you can use Twitter lists to organise your connections and stay updated on industry trends. Another note is to actively participate in Twitter chats to widen your network and showcase your talent as a business.
In essence, Instagram’s visual nature, LinkedIn’s professional network, and Twitter’s real-time conversations each offer different benefits for effective online networking. Now, if you look to diversify your approach to creating interesting, engaging, and inspiring content, you will be sure to benefit from a wider connection with relevant businesses.
How to Use Social Media Networking
Now that you fully understand what social media is and the power it has to be able to change the world, it is widely known that social media networking and marketing are certainly some of the most popular aspects of social media. When it comes to a promotional and selling point of view, these sites and apps are running clearly above all traditional methods.
Yet, how can you use a social media platform to network and what is its purpose for the whole online networking space? Before getting into the specific details on why, understanding that there are billions of people on these popular social networking services and apps that can be reached one way or another in real-time is mind-blowing! Let’s run through the details on how you can network online effectively for your business:
Build Your Online Presence
Building a cult-like following and connecting with people who matter to you or whom you want to be around may be easier than you expected. Start this by deciding who you want to network with and asking yourself, “Who is in a position that could elevate my business and what could we add to their business goals?”
Showing an interest in others and researching which tools these people use the most will not only help you to keep meaningful relationships but will also help you find multiple more companies to work with.
In the grand scheme of things, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the most popular social media networking platforms in most business niches. However, this doesn’t deter you from trying another social networking platform (Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc).
Checking which sites your competitors are active on and creating social media pages on these platforms will enhance your chances of reaching your target audience. This gives you unlimited opportunities to connect with businesses in your niche or niches that you want to get in contact with.
Get started by inviting people you already know, whether it be family, friends, or current business connections. Every follower has a chance to gain another one through mutual connections. If you want to start connecting with and building relationships with like-minded people, then following these steps is paramount!
Avoid Being Pushy
When it comes to networking online or creating content on your social media platform, constantly self-promoting your product or service without providing any real value will never bode well with a potential customer.
Whether you’re constantly messaging them with your offer or plastering your prices all over your online feed, a person will never want to come to you as they will see you as too pushy, which will cause them to move away from your network.
Providing value within your posts and messages will form meaningful and deeper relationships, meaning that business talks may come eventually. You just have to be genuine, leave your ego out of it and be patient.
Quality Over Quantity
Conveying quality over quantity ties itself into a couple of different scenarios within your networking experience. Firstly, the quality of your content needs to be of the highest standard. For example, seven quality posts a week rather than fourteen rushed posts a week will be much better for your brand awareness and recognition.
Giving your audience something to resonate with and giving them quality content to judge you on will make you seem more professional and foreshadow the work you could do for them.
Secondly, the quality of your social interactions is much more important than the number of followers you have. If you’re offering value and engaging in meaningful conversations, your network will naturally increase over time as a result of referrals.
Having Good Etiquette
In essence, no one likes rude or unprofessional people to deal with daily. Having good etiquette online essentially means that you can respond to constructive criticism well and be professional in any given situation.
Having the chance to portray yourself in the best way possible is a blessing, as it gives you a chance to be as nice as possible, not complain about daily life and act upon many other flaws that may take place every day in real life.
Having natural, human-like conversations is already better than most businesses online nowadays that will get AI to run their social media. Using automated systems can work in some situations, but when you’re trying to form long-lasting relationships, top social media agencies and businesses will always have a real person connecting with the other person.
If you have any further questions on how you can boost your social media networking presence, there are still a number of ways you can improve your business’s performance that we haven’t discussed here. Thus, you can comment on this blog post with something you want to hear more about or get in touch with us and we’ll see how we can help you extend and improve your networking opportunities; we look forward to hearing from you!
Mark is a multi-award winner in business networking and relationship building. He is passionate about coaching and mentoring business owners and professionals through 1-1 & group coaching, team performance workshops and group mastermind sessions.