Ben Foden on “Creating Genuine Connections with Social Media”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

Ben Foden has been working with us part time; the following is a blog post he developed on creating genuine connections with social media.

“Remember that the goal of all social media interactions are to create genuine relationships… so when you connect with someone that may be a good contact for you, move to offline (email, phone, in-person, etc) to create a deeper communication and stronger relationship.”- Joseph Ranseth

For business owners, the strength of their relationships is one of their most important assets. “It’s not what you know, but who you know” still holds very true with all of the new tools available for meeting and connecting with people.

As someone interested in pursuing further social media awareness and connection, I will cover the best platforms, key things to be aware of, and specific actions to take before engaging.

In the grand scheme of social media there is a hierarchy of genuineness — not all social media sites are equal in their level of spam, noise, and lack of ROT (return on time).

From most genuine to least, here are the most effective destinations for business people online:

  1. Industry and other Relevant Blogs
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Twitter
  4. Facebook
  5. Docstoc
  6. SlideShare

Others : MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, Flickr, YouTube, and many many more.

Let this list function also as your order of priority when dealing with a very limited time schedule and still attempting to make social media connections.

Why are blogs above LinkedIn?  Most bloggers don’t get that many comments and will greatly appreciate one that addresses one of their blog posts.

With a nod to Octane‘s Report on Social Media there are five things to bear in mind when striking up conversation within social media.

  1. Keep in mind your target market, Ask “Who am I writing this to (and why)?”
  2. Always reach out to individuals with a personal and relevant message rather than the template approach– The default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn” is not cutting it.
  3. Keep your professional head on at all times (obviously) — no flame wars, no extended arguments, etc..  Ask “Would my mother be offended by this?”
  4. Rather than pushing an agenda, monitor these sources periodically and respond, respond, respond. The value is really created when you engage a customer, partner, or niche in their time of need.
  5. Update as consistently as possible whether weekly, daily, or more often as appropriate for each service.

When it comes to updating your profiles with content and putting some value out into the world, the Golden Rule still applies. Also:

  • Try to inject your expertise into larger topics and debates, to offer useful advice to individuals whether in the form of a blog post or comment, tweet, LinkedIn Question, Facebook status, or other formats.
  • Share things that are funny, informational, insightful, or otherwise significant.
  • Tell people what you are reading, working on, or care strongly about.
  • When adding content anywhere, ask: “Is this something I would like to hear about?”

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