Let's face it, social media is an important part of your business strategy. For some, it can feel like a nightmare (or perhaps, going to the dentist?). But it doesn't have to be scary!
Let's break down four easy ways to start networking on social media. Grab your cup of coffee and your phone - here's the scoop.
1. Use hashtags to search.
So, you're already using hashtags in your posts, right?
Click on one of the hashtags you're using and begin to browse other accounts who use this same hashtag. Chances are, you'll find another account that aligns with what you're putting out there. Or, better yet, you'll get inspired by others' content (Keep in mind, it's never best practice to copy another person's content...there are legal repercussions. And, also, #karma).
2. Interact with other accounts!
Ok, so you've found someone using the hashtag search, now what?
First, ask yourself -- is this person producing content that I personally enjoy consuming? If so, follow them. Reach out via DMs or begin interacting with their account. Show the person you value their content; I promise you they will be delighted and will most likely show interest in your account as well. I have noticed that accounts with larger follower counts (think, over 10k) take longer to get responses from. If you're really persistent, you will still most likely get a response from that person, but don't expect as much engagement from them. I'd aim for people who have similar follower counts to you.
If the person you find is a good prospective client, think about how you might approach them. The last thing you want to do is reach out without any context (in marketing/sales we call this a "cold lead"). Do you have a free download that you think that person might be interested in? If this person is an absolutely, 10000% match for you (what we can an ideal client), it might not be a bad idea to share this with them. If you're not sure, don't do it. Perhaps showing interest by following them, commenting on a recent post that aligns with your services, or sharing their content could be enough to get the conversation started.
Just remember, put yourself in that person's shoes. How would you feel if you received the message you're going to send to them?
3. Comment and like, comment and like!!
Nothing worse than getting a follower that does absolutely nothing on your account, right?
Don't be that person! If you decide to follow someone, be it a prospective client or someone in the same field, don't just follow and run away. Keep engaging. Social media's algorithms can be really confusing so it might take some manual work. Keep a list of your top 3 accounts and hashtags in the notes section of your phone and make it a point to look them up once a week to engage (especially if their content is not showing up in your organic feed). Make sure to change up this list about once a month. Also, did you know you can "follow" hashtags?
4. Publish relatable content.
This might be a no-brainer, but the content you publish on your own page is JUST as important to your networking strategy.
Think about how to communicate with your followers genuinely and honestly. Here are a few tips to get people to engage with your content:
Keep your content concise and easy to read. Longer captions, especially on Instagram, perform very well. However if there is no break in your paragraphs, people won't be interested in taking the time to read it.
Make sure your caption and picture match. If you post a picture of a dog and then start talking about cat food, it won't make sense, will it? On my personal account I think about what I am trying to convey and find a picture of myself that matches, or in some cases, a quote.
Pictures of yourself always perform better. I have a secret. For a long time, I was afraid to post a picture of myself on my Instagram account because I thought it made me look "vain". When I realized it could help me build my business, I got over the fear and started posting. Wouldn't you know, I've organically doubled the size of my Instagram following in a year.
Quotes perform even better. Over the past year, posting quotes have started performing extremely well. Influencers and business owners have started posting their own quotes - some look like screen captures of Twitter posts, others are just clean, crisp one-sentence snippets. They have overwhelmingly performed above and beyond any other type of content; probably because they're quick and easy to read.
Congratulations, you made it! Feeling overwhelmed yet? Download this quick infographic to keep handy. Good luck and let me know how it's working out for you!