Blogger Island: Networking 101 using social media.
1.) Find your people. Not just any people will do. "Like-minded people"(and yes small businesses that means competitors). Search for communities on Facebook and use #hashtags to search for "your people" on Instagram and Twitter. Heather, I do not need to network online. I go to tons of local networking events! That is great, but you are losing money and precious time. You can network faster and more efficiently online. It takes two hours to work a room of 20 people in person and that's if you are speedy! You can connect with at least 100 relevant people in that amount of time online and perhaps book a few face to face meet ups with the people you really want to connect with. You have the upper hand with online networking and more importantly you are not at the mercy of "the room".
2.) Network online. Instagram is the best social media site for online networking. It is a very personal, yet relaxed environment. Feel free to ask for contact e-mails in the comment sections of photos, but everyone should already have their contact e-mail in their profile. Even if you do not use Instagram daily, you can still search #hashtags to find relevant folks. If you are a business you can find customers, bloggers, accountants, lawyers, and stores to place your products. It is much more efficient than searching the Google machine. Instagram is your directory for connections. If you are a blogger you can find like-minded bloggers and tons of sponsors. Do not wait for them to find you...YOU can go find them! *If you are a VA, DC, or MD blogger please come join the Virginia Bloggers Club FB community. Likewise, if you are a VA, DC, or MD small business owner please join the Virginia Business Club FB community.
3.) Network offline. Yes, networking offline is still important. Nothing beats a face to face interaction and handshake, but choose wisely. Make sure the event is worth your time and effort. Is the event close, who will be there, will the event potentially translate into revenue? These are just a few basic questions you should ask yourself before committing to an in-person event.
4.) Play nicely in the sandbox. Share on social media for yourself, but be sure to also share for others. No one wants to visit a social media site and see a "blogger island". Meaning...a page full of nothingness. A page of just "your stuff" typically means no interaction and no shares. It is a barren wasteland. It is the opposite of social media...it is social media suicide! Are you starting to get it? Start sharing for others and other people may start sharing for you!
5.) Communicate. Say hello, comment, like, friend, re-tweet, pin, etc... Let people know you are alive. That is the best way to ensure you are never on a blogger island. Is it work? Absolutely, but it is the only way to stay relevant in today's social media world.
6.) Use hashtags. Relevant hashtags allow the right people to find you. Use them. This could be the most important part of social media networking. I feel another post coming on.
7.) Make friends and unite. Bigger numbers means bigger visibility. 2 bloggers is better than 1. 20 is even better and so on. Get together with like-minded peeps for promotional campaigns and events. Lift each other up. It is not a competition. Create a buzz and awareness for all. Remember bloggers and small business owners you are a unique entity. Everyone should have something unique to offer that the competition does not. If you don't, you will surely be out of business soon.
8.) Go to an online party. Once you find your friends via Facebook groups then you will be in the loop. You will be able to find local, in person events as well as online! Yep, online social media parties happen and they are a great way to connect with other bloggers. Keep your eyes open for Twitter Parties(for example) that are relevant to you. Join in and do not be a fly on the wall. This is not high school people. There are already people that do not like you....it is a way of life. Oh well...
9.) Be positive. Corny, I know, but this is a truth. Positive begets positive. The reverse is also just as true.
10.) Be good. Use your powers for good. Be good to everyone online and off. Good karma is headed your way!