Monday, April 30, 2012

When to take an online connection to the next level

The advent of social media will transform our world by bringing people and ideas closer than ever. With social media blending into our everyday lives, there are more opportunities to engage with others to help you achieve your goals.

The Internet allows us to connect with hundreds – even thousands – of people with shared interests. When you connect with people on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, Pinterest and other social media, why not take the next step and bring them into your world to do business?
Common reasons to do business with people you meet online:
1.     You like their style or share their interests and want to sit down and talk with them face to face.
2.     You are working on something that could benefit from their input.
3.     You want to buy their product or service but have some questions and want to find out if they are honest.
4.     You want an introduction to someone they know.
Keep in mind that digital tools are conduits for human connection. If you only exchange e-mails, you really don’t know who you are talking to. It’s not until you meet them that you see if they are as genuine in person as they are online. Once you’ve made some good connections online and one of the top four scenarios exist or you have another compelling reason to advance the relationship, plan to talk by phone or Skype.
Photo by Liz Cezat
There’s about 900 million people with a Facebook account. You’re bound to find some people who can become your customers or vendors. If you don’t yet have a business page, get one pronto. Build social media into your routine. Post daily or several times a week on Facebook – keep the info. fresh. I find it tacky to ask for “likes” – shouldn’t it come naturally and genuinely?
As a micro blogging system, Twitter works well for finding like-minded people. Use the search tool to find subjects of interest that relate to your business interests. Search for people to follow based on contents they post or what their bio says. See what they have to say and share your thoughts.
One of the highest compliments on Twitter is to retweet a message that someone else has posted. You are endorsing their post – whether it’s a comment, a link to an article or a blog. That often fortifies the online relationship and can lead to an in-person meeting or discussion by phone.
Try some of these ideas and report back. You don’t have to “like” my Facebook page, but I would love to hear from you in the comments below.