Chances are, within the first 30 minutes of your day you have opened one of your social media apps. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it. Honestly, no shame - I do the same thing. My morning routine starts with making my matcha tea and sitting down for 30-45 minutes, scrolling through Instagram. For some, this might seem mindless but I am very intentional about the time I spend on social media in general. I am there to connect and build relationships for my business.
Networking on Social Media
What does your social media activity look like? Are you one that opens your Instagram or Facebook app and mindlessly scrolls? Do you post a photo, add some hashtags, close the app, and then look back later to see how many likes you got? Everyone has a different social media style and networking on social media isn’t one-size-fits-all. Make your tendencies work for you so you can see the benefits of social media for your business.
Slide in the DM
Personally, I love to go to Stories first (particularly on Instagram) since, for me, it’s like a snapshot into everyone’s daily lives. Plus, it’s the easiest form of networking on social media. Why? It's like catching up with a friend via text. Instead of texting your friend how they're doing or what’s new in their life, you can instead watch what they're sharing and then comment. You are essentially keeping up with everything they are doing without having to repeatedly text them. And, I’m sure you know that the more we keep in touch with one another, the more connected we feel. Therefore, slide into those Direct Messages! It’s not creepy, it’s fortifying relationships.
True story: I have gotten business from vendors I haven’t met in person (but we are friends on Instagram) because we chat frequently via DM. We have cultivated a friendship and camaraderie through genuine social media connection. Trust builds business and people like to work with those they trust and like as a person.
Search those hashtags
Hashtag searching is one of the most critical practices I use when scrolling through Instagram. It is largely underused and you can find amazing vendors to not only work with but be inspired by. I will search anywhere from 5 to 10 hashtags a day and go through the top 9 posts or so that return in those searches, and leave a genuine comment on their photo. Not, “great post” or a smiley face. C'mon people - that's lazy and those users will think you're a bot (ergo not building rapport). If a photographer posted a photo of a couple that is brimming from ear to ear, or laughing and with an infectious energy, say that. Let them know that you feel as if you're right there and can hear their laughter. Comment what resonates with you. Believe me, they will know it’s authentic and love you for it.
This one is simple: become invested in your followers' lives. Genuinely follow them back on Instagram or, if on Facebook, Friend Request them. If they are posting about a trip somewhere, their kids, etc., be interested. Don’t be absorbed by your hopes of getting business from them. Do it because you actually like them as a person. When people feel cared about, they will reciprocate and your business will be built on authentic relationships without even trying.
Quick Pro Tips:
- Dedicate 30 min - 1 hour in the morning and right after you post a photo to engagement.
- Search the hashtags you use on your photos. More than likely the people you want to interact with use those hashtags too.
- Just as you watch stories, be sure to stay up to date with yours as well. People want to connect with you as much as you them.
- Be patient. It’s not the number of followers, but the conversion of the followers you have. If you have 10k followers, but only 1% send you business, that’s not a good conversion, but if you have 3,000 followers and 50% send you business, you are in a much better position.
Networking isn’t about short term gains. Networking is about relationships. It is definitely who you know, but also how you approach them. I never go into a networking event with the intent of who can I get business from. Rather, I go into events excited about who I am going to meet and get to know that day/night. I genuinely love people and when you are more interested in the person than the money, the work will flow. It may take awhile, but trust me it will. I treat social media the same way. I am genuinely excited about what new things I am going to see in my feed everyday and the new people I will interact with.
If you're looking for additional social media strategy, posting and general best practice tips from the Aisle Planner team and our community of pros, check out some other articles on the subject here on our Pro Blog!