Whether you’re an entrepreneur, marketer, or student, building strong relationships can help you achieve your goals. Doing this isn’t always easy. When there’s so much noise on social media, how do you stand out? Relationships require trust and rapport, which is built through consistent interaction over a period of time.
We asked five experts how they’ve used social media to build stronger relationships with people.
#1: Tell them why they caught your interest on social media.
When it comes to connecting with industry leaders/influences through social, I reach out to them because I’ve seen them speak and want to ask a follow-up/give them an honest compliment, or because I have a question I think other people would like to know the answer to. Because communicating through social is inherently public, I’m always mindful that I’m putting myself, and that person, in the digital spotlight. If the communication makes more sense via a direct message or an email, stick to that.
#2: Pay attention to their interests, then find opportunities to help.
I’ve strengthened my relationships via social media by simply paying attention. I pay attention to what topics are of interest to the people I follow, and I look for opportunities to be helpful. For example, if someone mentioned wanting to find a way to add a scheduling plugin to their blog two days ago, and I find one today, I’ll share it with them. Another example is stumbling on content that affirms or illuminates a topic I’ve recently seen someone discuss. These two approaches have resulted in me forming great connections with interesting people and being able to actually transition those relationships offline at the appropriate time.
#3: Use social as an opportunity to have honest discussions.
Social is another way to connect with our passionate donor, supporter, and beneficiary communities. I think of it as a way to talk and listen to folks around the world. We’ve used comments and tweets to inspire new product features across the Sama family of enterprises. One very specific example is shifting to a doctor-focused model for Samahope. Since the relaunch of our site last November, we’ve seen conversions quadruple. Much of this was inspired by debates among our users that happened on Facebook and Quora.
#4: Reach out to people who share your content.
Unfortunately, people trying to build a following on social media, often approach it as if it’s a process. They read books and blogs on how to acquire followers and they turn into robots. Be real. Be personable, add value to the conversation, and realize that a ton of small signals of authentic reciprocation will be appreciated and remembered.
I used to thank every single person that shared my blog posts on Twitter, responding to them with their first name. I still do when I can. It’s things like this that encourage people to care just a little more about my writing and what I’m working on. If it weren’t for the network I established — much of which is thanks to Twitter over the past few years – Product Hunt wouldn’t be what it is today.
#5: When appropriate, further your relationships in person.
One of the things that I love the most about social media is that it helps me find people who have the same, super random and hyper-specific interests as me. I found out that a social media connection was in Paris at the same time as me because we both checked into cafes down the street from each other. I took advantage of the opportunity to meet up with her. We even did some sightseeing together and I met some of her friends. Meeting people in person is the best way to further develop relationships.
— Kyle Moncelle, Google
What are some other ways you’ve used social media to build deeper relationships with people? Comment below.