Content Engagement Allows for Connection and ‘REALationships,’ Part 1, Linkedin
In the column I wrote for Retail Online Integration's Winter 2015 print issue, I promised to provide some tips for building "REALationships" via social media. We are, in my opinion, starting to rely on social media automation tools too much — the consequence of which is losing our ability to build real connections and lasting, durable relationships.
Here are some tips for engaging your audience. Once engaged, you have their attention for a short window. That's the time to reach out and personally make a connection. Connections and relationships, sorry, REALationships are the currency that drives return on investment and true success in social media.
In part one of this multipart series, I focus specifically on LinkedIn. Future parts of this series will include tips for other social platforms.
I don't know about you, but I obsess over my LinkedIn stats. I love to see how many people have viewed my profile (right side of your homepage) and what my ranking is (easier to view on LinkedIn's mobile app). My goal is to get as many page views as possible. Page views are the starting point for connections and relationships. I get much business, and make many personal connections, from my LinkedIn profile.
How Do I promote My Profile on Linkedin and Drive Views?
1. Use the "Share" button (along with "liking" and making appropriate comments) to pass on good content from your homepage "updates." Your shares then get reshared, etc. The best content to share? Infographics, articles and quotes, the last of which are great especially if they're in a graphic. A quality share drives many of my profile views and is a great way to increase your network ranking. And, of course, the people whose content you share appreciate the visibility too!
2. Create your own "quotable" graphics to share — graphics catch the eye and get shared more. When you do, don't forget to add your URL and/or company name (unobtrusively, the trick here is subtlety) to the graphic.
3. On the subject of content creation, make yourself a thought leader. Use LinkedIn's new-ish publisher tool (that little pencil icon in your status bar) to blog. Good blogs/articles make it to one of Linkedin's Pulse channels. I've had articles make it to Pulse and get over 11,000 views (and great comments). Of course, the people who comment are people you could be connected to. Reach out if you like, but be careful as some people don't like to be contacted if they're not actually known by you.
Better yet, make sure you respond to each comment individually (yes, time consuming I know, but a great way to get a REALationship started). When you comment back, use the "Reply" link and do two things: First, don't just say "thanks for your comment." Add value by finding something about the comment that you can expand on so the commenter knows you actually took the time to read what they wrote. Second, make sure you "tag" the commenter in your reply.
4. Another way to up the REALationship ante on LinkedIn is simple: Say congrats! When you see that it's Bill's work anniversary or Bob's birthday (LinkedIn has a great app for connecting like this), use that info as a prompt to get back in touch. I spend time doing this daily and it's a great way to network. Good stuff (and karma) comes my way from reaching out like this.
5. Some people on LinkedIn are what the social network calls "open networkers" or "LIONs." It means they don't necessarily need to know you in order to connect. Being a LION is a great way to start relationships; you can pick and choose who you accept as a connection. By the way, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn here.
In part two of this series, I'll offer up some tips on how to build strong connections on Twitter. I love comments and shares, so feel free!
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.