One mantra I’ve adopted while working in social media is to connect with intent. I have to have a reason to connect with someone because I don’t believe in connecting for the sake of padding my numbers.
A few years ago Jennifer Hanford and I did a series of 101 posts on the subject of connecting. In this post we’ve compiled and updated them, giving you a list of great tips to use when making new connections on all of the major social media platforms.
With over 1 billion people there, Facebook, of course, is the largest social network. You will have many connection opportunities that span the globe. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind.
When Connecting Personally…
- When connecting with someone on a personal level, make sure you know them. I know this sounds silly, but it’s true! I get friend requests from people all the time that I have NO clue who they are…even if we live in the same town. For me, I have to be able to place how I know them – an online group, a conference, school, church, etc. If I can’t, then sorry, we won’t be connecting today.
- See who your mutual friends are. There are some that I do know but do not agree with who they associate themselves with. People will not admit it openly, but everyone gets judged by the company they keep.
- Are the only online to play Farmville or Frontierworld or Cooking World or some other silly Facebook game?? There are some who are only interested in the online gaming and only want to be friends so they can move up to the next level. Unless you don’t mind your newsfeed being filled with endless game requests and “so and so just beat level 1,002”, I wouldn’t accept. Unless it’s your mom. Then you have no choice.
When Connecting Professionally…
- I reiterate points 1 & 2 from above – since there are over one billion people on Facebook, for your safety make sure you truly know them.
- If you connect with someone, do not invite them to every.single.page you manage. Same goes for events. There are those out there who connect only to spam you with “Like this page” or “Like that page”. That’s screaming a one-way relationship.
- If your competition is wanting to connect, it’s okay, but be forewarned. I always joke to keep your enemies close, but your competition closer. Yes, it may seem like a good idea to accept your competition’s request to connect, but unless you’ve activated some really detailed privacy setting, they will get to see what you are doing. You may see it as showing what all you can do, but they will see it as things they need to do better or one-up.
When Instagram was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and launched in October of 2010, the service brought a whole new meaning to online sharing. Instagram, as you know, is known for its photo and video sharing (and selfies and pictures of your dinner plates). There are many ways to connect with the millions now using this network.
Instagram is a great social media platform that provides people from all over the world to share their personal photos with friends and family, and it is a great place for users with common interests to connect and come together to share and discuss content. Here are 3 main ways to connect –
Connect through Photographs
You’ve heard the old saying: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” And that’s absolutely true. It is easy to connect with others by capturing the world from your viewpoint. Images allow us to connect with one another on a different platform simply by displaying a message to one another. Whether the message be about your experience at a concert or your favorite food, Instagram allows for others to discover and understand the world through photographs.
Connect through Exploring
One of the easiest ways to connect with others on Instagram is on the ‘Explore’ tab. This feature consists of 15 most popular ‘liked’ images from all over the world. This allows you to venture out and view images you may not see on your normal feed. While also providing different content, exploring can connect you to other users. The great thing about the explore tab is that it is constantly changing. It updates the most popular 15 pictures every few minutes, allowing us to connect to even more people.
Connect through Hashtags
If you are looking to connect with new Instagram users, adding a hashtag to the picture you upload is a great way to do so. Displaying a specific hashtag connects you with more like-minded people. This feature allows you to share your photo to a wider audience who probably would not have seen the photo without it. If you are at an event, use that event’s hashtag to connect with others there.
I opened my first Twitter account in the fall of 2010 for the intent purpose of following University of Georgia football. Never in a million years did I think I could actually make friends and connect with businesses. It’s now my favorite social media platform to use for business. It’s the platform I’ve gotten the most clients from too.
I’ve written two previous articles on Twitter following – 8 Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter and 8 More Reasons I Won’t Follow You on Twitter – that really touched on some general, cosmetic points. However, here are some deeper connecting tips for Twitter that will make you a more seasoned and polished Twitter user.
Connect with like-minded people.
In any business, reputation management is very important. People will look and judge you on who you are surrounded by. By following like-minded people, you will find a community you can grow with and learn from.
Tweet people you want to get to know.
Even though that person you want to meet has 100,000 followers, if you don’t tweet them and let them know you are there, they may never find you. I’ve developed relationships on Twitter with people I normally would not have access to simply because I started tweeting (and retweeting) them and started a conversation. Anyone reputable on Twitter will not ignore someone who is trying to strike up a conversation. It may take them a day or so to respond but the serious ones will respond.
Give credit where credit is due.
Did you like a blog article and tweet it? Give the author credit in the tweet. Liked a tweet and agreed with it? Again, credit the author in the tweet. When you credit the author it’s mentioning them and they will take notice. Taking the time to give credit to the original author or the one who shared it on Twitter (you can use “h/t” for “hat tip to”) will show that you care and are purposeful in using Twitter.
Making connections on LinkedIn will help you realize the power LinkedIn holds as a social platform where professionals interact and engage with others.
First things first, you never have to pay to make connections on LinkedIn. The free version provides you with the same connection and networking abilities as the paid version. Secondly, you do not need to be an “open networker” to connect with anyone you wish, but know that most users prefer to connect with meaning and intent on LinkedIn. Unfortunately, LinkedIn attracts a lot of spammers, but the platform does provide easy ways to report and ban them. If you do not mind occasional spam and want to connect with a large volume of people from all over the world though, you may consider joining open networker groups.
Here are some of the basics to get you started:
Put your best foot forward with your LinkedIn Profile
- Your profile gives people their first impressions of you so make it count!
- Make sure your profile is complete and current with a professional picture, employment information and relevant qualifications.
- Always be honest with the information you provide, especially if you are seeking employment or potential clients.
Where to find your connections on LinkedIn
- One of the first places to find new connections is on LinkedIn’s home page when you are signed in. There is an entire section called “People You May Know.” Based on information you have filled out for your profile, LinkedIn makes suggestions for you. Do not be too surprised when it shows you people you may not really know.
- You can also find people with whom to connect through the advanced search function. This allows you to search for people by name, company, job title or location.
- Another way to meet people is through joining and participating in LinkedIn groups. People typically join groups in order to network with like-minded people. With a group association, it becomes easy to connect since you most likely have common interests.
- As you connect with people, you become “1st-level” connections with them. You are then able to view their connections; their 1st-level connections are now your 2nd-level connections. You can also see when your 1st-level connections make other new connections. As a result, you now have a larger network and more people with whom you can connect directly.
Mind your manners when connecting on LinkedIn
- When you are ready to connect, make sure you are sending personalized invitations. Introduce yourself when sending invitations to people you have never met, and briefly explain why you would like to connect with them.
- When you accept someone’s invitation to connect or they accept your invitation, it is good practice to respond and thank them personally.
Google Plus is the one platform that still confuses people. The best way to look at it is that it’s Google’s version of Facebook. People have been saying for years it’s dying, but I’ve found when I regularly use it, I always make some great connections.
Many people think of Google Plus for its SEO (Search Engine Optimization) benefits and for online searches. Google Plus continues to introduce and enhance its social features, making it a powerful social media platform as well as a SEO booster.
Are you new to Google Plus or simply interested in connecting with more people there? The following basics will help you build your network.
Getting started on Google Plus
Google makes signing up for Google Plus easy and efficient. Having a Gmail account makes the process even easier, but it is not a requirement. Going to this link will walk you through every step: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/
After you register, your very first step should be creating your profile. Start by adding a profile picture and cover photo. The cover photos are huge, so keep this in mind if you are creating one of your own. The dimensions for cover photos are between 1060(w) X 590(h) pixels (minimum) and 2120(w) X 1192(h) (maximum). Associating your image with your profile lets others “see” you are a person with whom they are connecting and engaging. This should help increase the chance that people will connect with you. Other information you can add to your profile include: (1) where you live, (2) where you currently work, as well as your employment history, (3) where you currently attend or previously attended school, and (4) any other information you want people to know about you – as much or as little as you prefer.
Use Google Plus Circles
As you start connecting, you are able to categorize your connections. This allows you to communicate with as many or few people as you prefer. Google Plus allows you to share anything you like to the “public,” but Circles may be more appropriate for some of your content. For example, you may be planning a family gathering or high school reunion. Rather than shouting out your plans to the world, you can contain them within a circle of those who fall into a “need to know” category.
One way to build your network on Google Plus is to start “circling” people you know from other social media platforms. As you begin circling each other, Google Plus suggests other people you may know. As you begin having conversations with people currently in your circles, as well as sharing your own and others’ content, you are provided with other people you may choose to add to your circles.
Join Google Plus Communities
Another great way to connect with like-minded people is through Google Plus Communities. These are groups of people, brands and businesses who share common interests and engage in conversations related to certain topics. Most Communities are open to anyone, but some are “secret.”
There are several other features – such as the photo sharing and video “Hangouts” – which require a separate article (or more) to fully describe their capabilities. Google Plus has so much to offer and is, in my opinion, one of the best social platforms out there.
When using social networks and connecting, the quality of your own personal experiences depend very much on your own level of involvement. The more time you spend on those platforms and engaging with others, the more connections you’ll make.
Connections make the social world go ‘round. What are some connection tips you would add?
This article was originally published on the ME Marketing blog and has been reprinted with permission.
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