Small Business Social Media: Growing Your Network

growing social media networkYou’ve created your social media strategy, began executing and … crickets.  Where is everyone?  You have profiles on Twitter, FriendFeed, Plaxo, LinkedIn, Facebook, have a Facebook fanpage and are trying to be on every big name blogger site leaving comments but still not growing the way you had hoped.  Social media is the virtual face to face meeting. When you walking into a networking event does everyone run up to you to talk? So why would they on Twitter or Facebook?  In the same way we want people to get to know us before they sell us, people want to get to know you before they converse and trust you.

Executing a social media strategy involves setting up the profiles and growing your network.  Growing your network does not stop at the initial execution and can have times of a plateau.  How do you then continue to grow your network?

1.  Offer Incentives.  We see this quite often when someone is close to a milestone number and says that they are X away from X visitors and the milestone visitor will receive some sort of reward.  Incentives have to add value and not only be a promotional gimmick.

2. Share More Information. Seek out information within your industry and share and share more.  This builds trust as a resource for industry news, tips and overall information.

3. Ask & Answer Questions. Start the conversation and keep it going.  Open the doors of communication and listen to what people are saying and how you can provide value and solve their problems.

4. Join Groups/Fan Pages.  Join groups on LinkedIn or fan/other Facebook Fan pages and talk with other members. There is a wealth of information that can be learned from listening and responding.

5. ReTweet/Share.  ReTweeting and Sharing stories that are relevant your industry or hot news topics lets friends/followers know that you are on-top of what is going on in your industry.

6. Do Not Sell … At first.  Get a feel for who you are talking to and listen to them before you jump in with the sales pitch. The auto-follow with a dm message that goes out for some on Titter is almost always a sales pitch that people tend to ignore.

7. Seek out not-so-popular blogs & comment. Search for blogs that may be newer or that are not as popular and comment. Many times these blogs have relevant information that allow for building relationships.

8. Be a Person, Not A Product/Service.  Be real and be yourself.  People want to talk to the person behind the product/service and get to know them.

These tips will help to grow your network and should be revisited from to time.  Provide good content that is relevant to your industry to gain the trust of other users.  Relationships need to be cultivated and nurtured and not asking people to connect so they can buy.

How have your grown your network.  Any networkings that have proved successful.  Share some blogs that you have found to be helpful.

photo credit: Paraschiv Alexandru