How to truly connect on social media

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(This piece is a guest post by Holly Worton)

My clients are all sorts of holistic practitioners, but they’re mostly coaches–and a lot of them are very fearful of using social media for business.

Some of them aren’t even on Facebook for personal use. They may consider themselves to be technophobes, or they may simply be fearful of putting themselves out there and coming under attack, as Maria Kang did for her now-famous “What’s your excuse?” photo. Whatever the reason, many of these coaches have built up this block in their minds that prevents them from using the very useful tools that make up social media.

The thing is, social media is not about the tools. It’s about the people. Social networks, blogs, and forums are simply a means to connect with people all over the world…including those who are in our target market of clients. And it’s much, much easier than you might think, especially when you put any fears or hesitations you may have aside.

Many coaches are of an age that they did not grow up with social media. It’s very much a new thing, and even if you grew up with computers, it was not possible to connect and engage with people in the ways we can now. So this is a new concept, and it’s something that a lot of people are still struggling to understand.

Offline networking is something we’re used to. There’s no need to wrap our heads around the concept. It’s simple: you go to a business networking group or a social activity of some kind, and you meet with people. Easy.

But social media is exactly the same. It’s just that we can do the same thing from the comfort of our home or office. We don’t meet people face to face, but rather through our computers. Not only that, but we aren’t tied down to our local geographical area: we can meet people all over the world, which expands our network exponentially. Here’s how to connect on social media:

It’s about people, not numbers.

So what’s the one thing that so many people forget on social media? That it’s about building relationships. It’s about connecting with people, engaging with them online, and nurturing relationships that could lead to new clients or new joint ventures, or other ways of growing your business.

Social media is not about how many Twitter followers you have, or likes on your Facebook page, or views on your YouTube videos. It’s about the quality of the connections you’re making online.

You may have 2,000 Twitter followers (you know as well as I do how easy that is to get…many people will automatically follow you back), but if you’re not engaging with those people and getting to know them, then what’s the use?

I meet people on forums that I belong to, on list building challenges, and on my blog…and I connect with them on social media. When I go to an offline event like a workshop or a networking group, I take home the cards I’ve collected and add them on any social networks that they use. Whenever I come across new and interesting people when browsing online, I immediately add them on social media.

Social Media builds “know, like, and trust.”

Social media is how I get to know people: I connect with them, and as I learn more about them, I get to like them. I start to engage with them online. And that’s how you get that know, like and trust that’s so important in business.

Once I’ve gotten to the point where I know, like, and trust someone, I may invite them to write a guest post on my blog, or to be a guest on my podcast. When they email me asking for help in promoting a new product that they’re launching, I’m more than happy to help. Because they’re not just a random connection. They’re someone I already know.

Even if I’ve never met them in person.

Whether you’re one of those people who’s hesitant about using social media for business, or whether you’re already using it but you know you could be getting more out of it, ask yourself: am I focusing on the quantity of my connections, or the quality? Am I focusing on the numbers, or on the individuals? Social media is all about building relationships with real people, even though you’re just seeing them through your computer screen.

Take action today

Review your connections on all of the social media networks that you belong to. Select a few people that you’ve connected with on each platform, and strike up a conversation with them. Ask them a question, compliment them on a blog post. Get to know them a little better.

I hope this helped demystify things a bit. I’ve trained as a coach, so I know what it’s like to build that connection with a client in a session or throughout a coaching program. We’re talking about exactly the same concept of connection and trust-building with social media, except that you’re doing it online.

 

Holly Worton helps coaches, holistic practitioners, and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. Why? Because as a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and she wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and to build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training at http://sociallyholistic.com to get started building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter , Pinterest, or Google+.