November 22nd, 2010
by Lorrie Thomas
I feel slightly silly labeling a blog post “Social Networking Success Steps” because it seems to suggest that there is a secret sauce to getting your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to automagically deliver sales to your doorstep.
But the angel and devil on my shoulders fought and the halo that came over “but you will get more reader attention if you have a compelling subject line” won, so here I am writing about social networking success steps.
I get asked a lot how social networking can be used successfully and as much as I would like to have some god-like “ahhhhhhhhh” answer, the honest answer is that social networking is successful based on how it is strategically used to support goals.
The devil on my shoulder would have ended the post right there, but the angel is advising me otherwise.
Here is an example that will get you some success steps that will help you understand how to make social networking work for you.
I was on a hike with my friend and brilliant Santa Barbara Jeweler Calla Gold. While our respective mountain men partners were off ahead of us talking nature, we were talking social media. (How nature inspires creativity is another blog post that I need to write!) Calla was talking about how she needed to learn more about social networking, while I was wondering how she didn’t realize that she had already arrived!
I met Calla at a local networking event. Her passion for her work was so obvious. Whether I was listening to her talk to others or speaking directly, I got that her vocation was her vacation. She also communicated clearly. Everybody at the room who had the pleasure of speaking with her was crystal clear who she was, what she did and her distinction. Calla connects. We exchanged business cards and she followed up. Not just via email, but LinkedIn and Facebook. She NEVER sold me. She just made a relationship. Calla also stayed present after we met. I saw her on Facebook, LinkedIn and at other local events.
Calla’s Facebook page, her LinkedIn profile and her blog extend her relationship-making-savvy = a stellar social networking success story. She uses social media as a way to store contacts, keep in touch, share her thought leadership and stay on the hearts and minds of her contacts (with class!!).
And when it came time to get my engagement ring, she was the FIRST person I thought of to help (go to Calla Gold’s Facebook page to see my ring!)
It takes an average of seven touches to make a sale.
Want Social Networking Success Steps? Learn from people who understand that RELATIONSHIPS make sales and these social-centric tools can be your strategic support system!
I spoke at my colleague Emilia Doerr’s Social Media Marketing Class at UCSB and came to class with a martini glass and a planned live “social experiment” to make my point clear. At first, I talked about how social networking skills are like how we work a cocktail party (or for any non-drinkers a backyard BBQ party). To show this (versus just telling it) I walked up to a student, shook his hand and said “Hi, I’m Lorrie Thomas, would you like to get married? (He didn’t accept).
The bold proposal sans “dating first” (aka lack of small talk, passion-sharing, clear conversation, connection and repeat “dates”) was my way of demonstrating that social networking is to NETWORK, not go right for the sale (or in my case, a marriage proposal) We need TIME to make a relationship first. If we use social media to sell and not connect, then success will sail far away….
People who understand relationships can and will use social networking tools in ways to amplify these points (here are your success steps!):
1. Passion sharing
2. Clear communications
3. Connection (that does involve learning a bit about the person you are networking with, it’s not all about you)
4. Follow Up (I call this keeping the love alive)
5. To support relationship making, building and maintaining (with NO EXPECTATIONS)
When we stop fearing the social web technology and grab the reins to ride them into the relationship-making sunset, we will have success. How we drive social networking is up to each individual, company, management resources and more. I will promise that if some heart is put in front of the science through using the SAME RULES OF NETWORKING we had before social media, we are light years ahead of the game.
It is great to self-educate, but shoot, we are adults, we learn by doing. Stop thinking you need a social media diploma and get in the game. Social networking starts by being social. Embrace the new rules of web marketing with patience, an open mind and no expectations…you’ll be shocked at how well it supports you once you realize it is an extension of you…