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April 22, 2011

Social Media Friday: Building Connections

Now that we’ve discussed what to post, let’s take a look at how small, diverse businesses can attract quality users to social media pages. Here are the top ways that you can build robust social networks through quality connections on Facebook and Twitter.

First, understand that gaining followers is not a popularity contest; quality is far more important to a business than quantity. You want to attract quality connections by consistently posting valuable, relevant and engaging content, as previously discussed. High numbers can come from non-quality followers, like spam bots, people who follow you to bait you into following them and other empty shells that will never lead to new business. Gaining followers and contacts outside of your business field, region or area of expertise will not lead to new customers.

As a small MWBE, you will probably not attain thousands of fans and have multiple active conversations through social media, but each new follower is important. You want to make the most out of your time and energy by connecting with others with an interest in your business, interests or region. This creates mutually beneficial relationships and can lead to the best marketing.

When you first create a social media profile, it can be difficult to spread the word and attract followers. Here are a few ideas to help your seed sprout:

  • Immediately Invite friends, family and business associates to connect, join a group or follow you depending on the social network you choose.
  • Add social media icons with links to your social media pages on your web site or include them in your e-mail signature. Not only does this build links, but it shows your potential clients that you are a social media participant.
  • Add the people you meet, from new customers to new contacts from conferences and collaborations. Whenever you get a new business card, send an invitation to connect.
  • Follow experts in your field to keep up-to-date with the latest news and events. Social media pages for others can be a great place to start or engage in a conversation and attract new followers.
  • Look for social media icons on sites for organizations you belong to (such as a WBENC regional partner, NMSDC affiliate, or local chamber of commerce). Interacting with these accounts is a great way to meet others in your field.
  • Join Groups and participate in discussions. Not only will this help others learn your name, logo or picture, but recognize you as a potentially valuable new contact.
  • Do you have an e-mail distribution list? Be sure to mention your new social media pages in your next group correspondence or newsletter.
  • Look for social media directories, which allow you to list your social media page. Some are listed by city, like this one for Boston. There are many other options, like Twellow, the yellow pages for for Twitter users.

When newcomers visit your social media profile, they are much less concerned with the number of followers you have and much more interested to know that you update regularly and offer something valuable to offer them. New visitors are far less likely to follow a social media account if it is neglected or posts nothing but advertisements.

Don’t get frustrated if you do not pick up a lot of connections or followers right away, it takes time to build quality connections. Social media strategies should be built on long-term planning, short term does not work. Through persistence, consistency and a strong commitment to quality, you You must be in it for the long term and be persistent, consistent, and committed. Your social media presence and reputation will make a big impact on your web presence regardless of the number of followers you have.






 
 

 
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  1. [...] that we’ve discussed how to build connections and what to post in the Social Media Friday series of posts here at the MBEConnect Blog, [...]



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