By Makaila Holifield
As college students, we use social media for a variety of purposes, it could be to connect to friends and family, to promote ourselves, or to promote a business. According to Forbes, “Networking is not only about trading information, but also serves as an avenue to create long-term relationships with mutual benefits.” But how do we build these relationships? How do we brand ourselves enough to attract our key audiences? In this post I will explain why each step is critical to creating and making connections on any one of your social platforms. Here are some ways to find your next connection for your business and/or personal brand on social media:
1. Build a social presence
The first and most important thing to do is to create a following on your social media page. Send out a friend request or a follow to help your connections begin. Build a presence for yourself on your desired platform. Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are most popularly used for business social networking.
2. Post on your page
Be consistent! Be consistent! Be consistent! The best way to keep your followers is by being consistent with your posts. Show your followers that you are present by posting at least three to four times a week. Your goal is to post engaging content that people will enjoy and interact with. It is important to always have your brand or what you are trying to promote at the top of your feed for viewers to notice.
3. Comments, Likes, and Shares
After building a following and having followers to interact with, the next step is to engage with them. Leave a comment and/or like to extend the conversation from there. Get chatty and get active! Share posts from other people or sources to collect more engagement on your page.
4. Join Social Groups
Groups and discussion areas are present on a variety of social sites. These community areas help connect those who have similar interests and can speed up the process of networking. Blogs are the top type of discussion mechanism that can bring together a vast number of people relating to the same subject. Facebook is best known for creating social groups. Businesses are known for centering a group around their brand in order to build a community around it.
5. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a great form of bringing people together. Using a hashtag (#) can gather an even larger amount of people to view your post for more engagement. The broader the hashtag the more likely it is to rank higher in the search engine. For example, if you use the hashtag #longbeachfood the hashtag will be seen on the #longbeachfood hashtag page and will attract other people who are looking for places to eat in the Long Beach area. It is important to make sure your hashtag reflects your post! Look at Twitter for more tips on how to properly use hashtags in your posts.
6. Be Transparent
Transparency goes a long way on social platforms. In order to create long-term relationships, transparency can lead to significant benefits and risks. This is how you build trust between you and your connections. Nearly nine in ten people are more likely to give a brand a second chance after bad experiences if they have developed a history of transparency. To read more about prioritizing transparency look at Sprout Social.
Connections are vital for growing your following on social media. Each social media platform is a networking channel that can help build your career. Don’t forget to appeal to your audience and be transparent in everything you post. Do you feel ready to make connections on any of your desired platforms? Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. are all perfect platforms to begin networking. By using these steps, each connection made is a step closer to paving your way for better opportunities.
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