10 Tips to Increase your Influence in Social Media

Social media can be a very effective tool to use for networking, building relationships and connecting with key players in your field. Ultimately though, engaging on social media is about building a community for yourself, and creating real, long-lasting connections based on genuine shared interests.

Creating social media profiles is the first step to taking part of the conversations online. Building relationships takes time and investment, both online and offline. How can you make sure that you make the most out of social media, and engage with the right people? Below are ten steps to help you put the best foot forward on social platforms.

1. Start a group

Taking the initiative and starting a group around shared interest, goals, and values on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, or a list on Twitter,  helps others see you as a leader and initiator, and more importantly, as someone who truly cares about a topic. The best way to engage on social media sites is often starting the conversation, and enabling others to join.

2. Join a group

There are also a myriad of existing groups out there that cater to your specific field or interests. Request to be added to groups where you think you can gain and contribute knowledge and contacts, and take part of the conversation in a respectful manner.

3. Contribute

Building online relationships is a lot like building  relationships offline. You have to give and receive. Are you taking time to offer thoughtful insights and comments? Are you carefully considering your audience when responding and sharing content? Are you staying on topic? Are you providing opportunities for others to grow, expand, and learn? These are all important to keep in mind when building online networks.

4. Be positive

People are more likely to engage with someone who is kind and who projects a positive attitude. If you want others to take the initiative to respond to you, make sure that you’re projecting a vibe that is open, positive, thoughtful, and reciprocal.

5. Practice great online etiquette

Practicing online etiquette will go a long way. For one thing, you’ll be well on your way to build a reputation for being reliable and trustworthy. This is key if you want to build relationships based on trust (which can be especially difficult in online settings) or even get referrals from your contacts. Take the time to provide thoughtful, tailored responses on a timely manner to your online community members.

6. Embrace your network

Your network will ideally be full of diverse individuals whose insights and backgrounds can open you up to new possibilities and worlds. Embrace the diversity of your network, and make an effort to expand your network by adding or following online friends’ friends, where appropriate. Ask for introductions, comment thoughtfully on posts and tweets, and appreciate the power of community.

7. Extend a hand

We all have our own area of expertise, and we can use our knowledge to help others. Online networking and social platforms can be a great place for you to make referrals for others, respond to questions with your own

8. Attend events

Social media sites can be great spaces where conversations get started, but you want to engage in the real world with your contacts to really make the most out of your social engagement. Attending industry and networking events is a great way to do that. From meet-up groups to events advertised though social networks, there are many opportunities to get out there and  engage with your community in the real world.

9. Introduce a new person

This is pretty self-explanatory. Introduce someone who will fit in well within the group, and who you think will have something to contribute. This will help grow your network in a meaningful way, and will help you further build  a network of support.

10.  Don’t self-promote.

This might seem counterintuitive, because it might seem to some that social media should be used as a way of extending your brand, but in fact, social media should be used to create and curate conversation around topics.

The trust that you build with your networks and relationships will help solidify your brand and contribute to brand advocacy from your networks. None of this will be accomplished by being pushy.

Ultimately, you want to create conversations that highlight your skills or your brand, so that your contacts can see for themselves why you/your brand are indeed worthy of promotion. Expect your content to be shared if you approach social networking from a community perspective, instead of simply selling a pitch. Simple as that.

 

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