by Brandon A. Cox: If you’ve read Rewired, you might remember that the first section of the book aims to prove that social networking isn’t new. In fact, it’s as old as humanity.
We’ve always sought connection. We’ve always spread news socially and relationally. In the last decade and a half, we’ve started doing it online.
In other words, social networking is old-fashioned. It’s the way we used to do things before mass media came along and interrupted our mojo.
It’s okay to market messages to the masses, but the beauty of social media is that it allows us to get personal. And in getting personal, we form relationships at various levels. Those relationships are built on trust, and trust is the key to better marketing.
So, how do you go old-fashioned? How do you get back to the basic, rudimentary principle of one-on-one communication in a mass media world?
I wanted to give you a tip per network that actually brings about better connectedness and deeper relationships.
1. With LinkedIn, customize your connection message as often as you can.
The new and easy way is to hit the “connect” button on all of the suggestions LinkedIn throws your way.
It’s far more effective and meaningful to click through to the person’s profile (which they will know about, which signals that you are interested in them) and hit the connect button there, adding a customized message along the way.
You don’t have to do this every time, but do it as often as you can. And, study up on your LinkedIn skills.
2. With Twitter, actually read an auto-dm and actually respond.
A lot of people hate the though of automatically sending a direct message to new Twitter followers because it’s not personal. But neither is a welcome email. I think they’re fine. In fact, there can be an advantage to receiving them.
Occasionally dip into your DM’s and click the link the person sent you. Then, respond in a meaningful way with something like,
Hi, very nice! I appreciate your passion for ___ and will keep learning from you about that along the way. Let me know if I can ever help you!
Almost nobody expects you to read it, much less respond, and it gets attention when you do. That attention becomes a conversation, which becomes a relationship.
3. With Facebook, leave comments designed to encourage.
This isn’t anything revolutionary. Just leave a comment designed to encourage the person who posted the post. That’s it.
Why is this so powerful? Because Facebook is a place where most comments tend to be either negative or narcissistic and rarely focus on showing appreciation.
When someone does respond positively to something they like, it’s usually with a “like” or a reaction, but not an encouraging comment.
In short, they stand out. And positive, affirming comments make the world a better place, right?
4. With Instagram, double-tap.
Again, this is simple, but it’s often forgotten. We do so much scrolling and browsing and posting that we forget to slow down and acknowledge something we like by hitting the little heart or double-tapping.
Liking posts on Instagram is also personal because, in most cases, the poster will get a notification that you’ve liked their post.
5. With email, get and respond to replies.
I understand that if you’re in the retail industry, or have a list of 250,000 or more, you don’t have time to see and respond to every reply, but when your list is in the thousands or less, be accessible. Let replies come to you. They’ll be rare anyway.
In case you’re wondering why I mention email along with the other major social networks, it’s because we often forget that email was the original online social network. And it’s still, by far, the most personal form of online communication.
So keep it personal. Use it in a way that establishes trust. And make it a relational tool.
This is old-fashioned networking – having conversations with people, through any medium.
By the way, if you’re into social media, online marketing, church communications, etc. then you must know about these two FREE online events…
I’m Brandon. I’m the Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas, which my wife, Angie, and I planted in January of 2012. I previously served as a Pastor at Saddleback Church and still manage Pastor Rick Warren’s online, global ministry to pastors, Pastors.com. I also blog about blogging, life and church leadership, and men’s issues, and I’ve written a book – Rewired, which challenges the church to adopt social media to spread the good news about Jesus.