Ideas and Tips for your Networking and Social Media

Why do we network? ... many would say to get business, although interestingly, when I asked that question recently at a local networking group I attend, that answer was conspicuous by its absence. If we bring it back to the absolute basics we network to begin a conversation. The old saying of 'everything starts with a conversation' has never been truer.

The more conversations you start the more opportunities spring forth and the good news is that these opportunities are not just for you. Every time you talk to someone and find out more about them, you learn how you can help. This might be directly but more often you know someone in your network (or they in theirs) who could assist in some way. This could be personally, for a project or hobby, a partner or family member, a charity, in business... all we have to do is talk to each other.

We all love having great conversations... cast your mind back to dinner parties in the past do you have any recollection of what did you ate? Probably not, but evenings are often remembered for the conversations that took place.

What if... you enabled other people to have great conversations... you were the catalyst to other people connecting and then having the most amazing conversations. Think about people you have introduced, they may even have ended up even being together as a couple. People remember who introduced them, it is hugely important. Think of a relationship you have now where someone else took the time to connect you... what a shame if that introduction had never been made.

For those who have attended Link4Growth events you will know that the first and foremost purpose is to enable us to have conversations. To find out more about those people who live and work around us through dialogue and open discussion without any other agenda. Through this conversation we get to know more local people and community begins to re-appear as we begin naturally to help and introduce each other.

So... what about social media, why is social media useful? ... quite simply it's having communication (connection and dialogue) but through different platforms and in different ways... so let's explore some of them and how you can start a conversation...

This is a brilliant platform... millions of people saying things and just waiting for people to start conversations, or already having them! Twitter works best when you narrow down the volume of information and filter out all the noise. When you have thousands of people you are connected to there is no other way... so using lists effectively is really important. A couple of example lists to home in on people you might want to talk to are as follows...

  1. Local list of people in your town (you may find someone already created one of these that you can just follow, that takes the hard work out of it). This allows you to check out what is going on in your area and connect with twitter users who are local. Then of course you can start to engage and open up conversations. The thing in common here is location, you are in the same area... and of course the topic of conversation being discussed.
  2. A list of people talking about subjects that interest you or are about things related to your work. Use twitter search to find tweets with different words in. You can easily build a list by adding people who mention these words or combinations of words that appear in tweets. There are tools to narrow this down to perhaps people within 25 miles with keywords you are looking for in their tweets. So looking for "networking" "business networking" "community building" "networking watford" ... then any tweets with these words would be shown with the person who tweeted them.
How do you get someone's attention with Twitter once you have found them. Now you've identified people you want to start a conversation... for this you can use the @mention construction ... when you put an @ in front of the persons twitter name (e.g. @chrisogle) , usually (depends on settings) the person mentioned will be notified they have received a message in the same way as with a text. When people are mentioned in this way, the resultant thinking is... who is that messaging me on Twitter? ... and people look and they will check your profile if they do not know who you are... actually it is quite fun... and it is even more fun if this isn't a sales attempt but a genuine desire to connect and start a conversation.

Remember I spoke of introducing people... I love doing this on twitter... If I know two people need to connect then just tweet as follows :
"Hi @lindaaanderson meet @debiking5 I am sure you will have loads to talk about"
Both of the people will above will receive a notification and see the other persons twitter name. They can then easily tweet each other and as they both know you they will be likely to be delighted with this introduction. This is an amazing to do as you have now enabled a new relationship to flourish between two people who you believe will have a lot in common and have great conversations as well as being able to help each other.

This is the first in a mini series on Social Media, ideas and suggestions about how you can connect, engage and start conversations with others... as they say... 'everything starts with a conversation'.

Facebook tips next!


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