Today, as I was moderating our new Help for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs LinkedIn Group, I encountered an enthusiastic entrepreneur with an energy business. Unfortunately, I encountered him in the wrong way. Within moments of joining our group he had plastered his URL, phone number, headline in three different places on the group. Being a coach, I reached out to him versus banning him outright (which is what most groups would do). Here was my response, paraphrased. I thought it worthy enough to share with all.
“One of the top things I coach my clients on is how to participate in a group when networking. You meet people for business purposes through networking, but its kind of like dating. It’s not a good idea to push marriage on the first date. You participate in discussions. You provide input. Sending URLS, emails, and so on when you are not the sponsor of the group is not effective group participation.”
It’s true. Think about online dating for a bit. If you are serious about looking for someone, you don’t outright say – “hey, I want to get married honey.” You ask about interests. You comment on aspects of their profile. You get to know them before asking them out on a date.
Social media networking works the same way. If you join a group, ADD VALUE. Answer people’s questions. Ask a few questions of your own. Post an interesting article. To lead generate, post an article you have written that resides on your web site. Ask for opinions about a new product offering. Don’t just say, “hey baby, have I got a special offer for you.” The ONLY place that is appropriate is when you are the sponsor of a group. But do it VERY SPARINGLY. You are there to build a community, to add value. Ultimately, yes, you will come upon people who are interested in what you have to offer. But, like the new person who is participating in a LinkedIn Group, Facebook Group, posting on walls, tweeting, pinning, Instagramming, or anything else, you need to have a soft touch.
Otherwise you just come off like that sleazy guy in a bar looking for a one night stand. Who wants to be THAT guy?
Today’s Exercise: Look at all the ways you network – in person or via social media. Are you asking for marriage before you even get a date? What is your strategy for becoming part of the group and gaining interest before you pitch? What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong?
Questions about how to tackle social media networking? Claim your free Quick Question session and ask away – or just ask on our LinkedIn Group.