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If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, networking is a crucial part of your day.
Especially since the days of making connections solely through conferences and other live events are long gone.
Social media has made it easier than ever to connect with like-minded individuals, customers, and potential clients.
But, it all still takes time. If you want to succeed at using social networking to grow your business, you need to be intentional in your outreach.
Not sure where to begin? In the latest episode of the Brand Authority Podcast, I share 5 ways to use social media to create connections that last.
If your goal is to connect with people in your niche, you can start by doing a search for your industry keyword inside LinkedIn.
Once you have a list of people, get in the habit of connecting with 5 of them per day. But don’t send the stock LinkedIn invite!
Instead, personalize your message.
Talk about what you have in common and be very specific about why you want to connect.
It’s also important that you avoid making a sales pitch right out of the gate. No one wants to be sold!
Begin by being a valuable resource, offering assistance, or simply sharing a commonality.
Twitter Advanced Search is a way to do a deep dive into keywords used by the people you’re looking to connect with.
Are they entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches? Think about who that exact person you’re trying to reach is and the words they’d use in their bios, tweets, and as hashtags.
Search those keywords and you’ll see a list of global conversations happening around those words or phrases.
Next, carefully look through that stream and pay attention to the community, conversations, and engagement around their content. Is it hitting the mark time and again?
You’ll quickly start to notice people who hold authority in that niche and share content that connects.
Now take this one step further to intentionally interact with them on a daily and weekly basis.
Add 5 people you find in your research to a Twitter list – public or internal. This makes it easy to click into that list, see who is tweeting what, share their content or respond.
Facebook Audience Insights is an incredibly powerful tool that can help you find potential customers.
You’ll find Facebook Audience Insights inside your Facebook Page drop down menu.
Use filters to identify certain key elements of your target audience:
You can also use Facebook Audience Insights to do competitive research. Look at the type of content people are sharing and how your audience is responding.
Take that information and model their success. This does not mean stealing their content or branding.
Use learnings from what’s working, how they’re interacting with their audience, and what content is resonating to build out your own personalized strategy.
Want to learn more? I wrote about Facebook Audience Insights in-depth here.
Hashtags are a powerful way to find and connect with absolutely anyone in your niche. However, you have to be very strategic when it comes to Instagram Hashtags.
While it might be tempting to go after the larger, more active hashtags, those take a while to battle through the noise. Instead, cut through the clutter with less broad, more hyper-specific hashtags.
Use a tool like Keywordtool.io to find 3-5 relevant hashtags for your niche. Now drill down deeper into the popularity of each.
For example, using the keyword “#entrepreneur,” you’ll see that there’s over 30 million posts shared… that’s a lot of content you’re going to compete with.
In comparison, when we look at “#entrepreneuradvice,” you’ll see 4000 posts shared. With this hashtag, you’re more likely to rank, showing up in the coveted “Top Posts” location.
If you’re not sure what hashtags you should use for your business, start with “seed keywords. ” These are foundational keywords that align with your business or that you want to be known for.
They’ll give you a starting point, leading you towards longer tail keywords (aka hashtags) that might not have as active a base, but can give you a lot of traction as you’re looking to create awareness.
Use a research tool like Hashtagify to get started. Look to popular industry keywords or hashtags, then hop over to Instagram for more detailed research.
Now start using these keywords in your posts, following those keywords, and interacting with others using them.
You’ll do two things: begin to build influence around those hashtags and organically allow people to connect with you based on a common interest.
There are a few tools that can help you find and network with influential people in your niche.
Followerwonk lets you search bios based on a specific keyword. Look through people’s profiles, read their bio, and if you like what you see – add them to a Twitter List.
BuzzSumo is another free and easy way to find people to connect with. Use the “Influencers” tab to search by topic, keyword or username. This will give you a list of pages, ranked by page authority, domain authority, average engagement, and more.
The great thing about Buzzsumo is that you can connect across a variety of social networks.
After you use these two tools to do your research, start following 5 relevant people per day.
Reach out to them and start a conversation. But don’t forget to show the human side of your business.
After all, once you take the time to show that you care, others will take a natural interest in you.
Relationships and connections matter in every business. However, that does not mean that you need to connect with everyone and anyone.
Instead, be strategic in who you’re networking and connecting with.
Find time to make deep connections and build real, targeted relationships.
Daily Social Media Checklist
Full disclosure: Links on this page may be affiliate links which means that if you decide to buy, I will earn a commission. 3 things you need to know: I only recommend products I use within my own business, am extremely happy with, and can confidently promote.