When you meet someone new at a party, do you:
a. Start telling them all about you whether or not they’ve asked you a question?
b. Ask them questions to learn more about them?
c. Ask them for a favour?
d. Say hello and then walk away without saying anything more?
If you answered anything but b. my guess is you don’t find it easy in social situations.
Whether at a flesh and blood networking event or online, doing a, c or d is a big turn off.
So, why do businesses do a, c and d on social media all the time, when the same people would never intentionally do those things at a party?
Truth be told, because social media makes it easy to forget that there are real people behind each and every business.
If you’ve been leaving spam droppings (ie. Hi, newest liker from____. Come check out MY stuff over here) on pages, and groups, it’s time to turn things around. You are doing your business no favours by dropping and running and you’re certainly not doing the other business any favours.
So how do you network without doing a, c and d?
It’s simple really; think of every networking event and online business conversation as a dating opportunity, not a speed dating session, but one where the conversation naturally unfolds. Some people you will resonate with and some you won’t.
You don’t need to be in a hurry to form relationships online either. Being desperate is also a big turnoff! The best thing you can do is interact every so often and if an opportunity comes up to deepen the relationship (such as a discussion thread or event), make an effort to contribute to the conversation as if you were getting to know a lifelong friend.
I have formed some great friendships and business relationships with business colleagues through Facebook but it’s not happened as a result of a shallow exchange on a page wall. It’s happened over time and because we’ve made an effort to connect in real life, either over Skype or over a real cup of coffee.
Over to you: Have you been doing a, c and d on social media? Have you been tolerating people who do? What can you do differently to start building lasting business relationships?