Growing Your Fan Base: Networking with Social Networking
When growing your online fan base and your client base, it is critical that you bring together traditional networking with social networking. On Wednesday, I wrote about “padding your online fan base” with purchased friends. I very rarely agree with this strategy because I strongly believe that it is far better to have a small following of loyal and interested fans than a large following of useless accounts.
So how do you build your fan base? The best way is with a combination of traditional networking and social networking methods. Here are a few tips on how to bring these two complementary styles together.
- When networking with people at events and in conversation, always bring business cards and exchange cards. Make sure after you get those cards, you follow up with some sort of communications afterwards. “It was great meeting you.” “We had a great conversation last night, I would love to continue it sometime with you…”
- Make sure your business cards have your phone number, email address, Twitter handle and other social accounts listed on them. Especially if you are a social media professional. One of the biggest mistakes I see with social media professionals’ business cards is missing social information.
- Follow and be followed. One of the best ways to expand your following online is to get online and follow other people in your industry or potential clients. They often follow back or will at least acknowledge your follow with some kind of communications.
- Acknowledge your followers. When you receive a follow, respond with a personal message thanking them. It will go a long way and lead to long lasting followers. Nothing like getting a bunch of followers and then losing them a week later.
- Don’t be afraid to bring up social media in conversations. “Are you on Twitter? I would love to follow you.” As creepy as this example sounds in this blog, it is perfectly acceptable in normal conversation.
Social media has been a great way to bring the world closer together but it is not a replacement for traditional networking. Embrace social media as a complement to other networking strategies. The larger network you build, the more successful your business will become.