Networking and Building Relationships on Twitter

Networking and building relationships on Twitter - #TwitterSmarter chat with Jeff Sheehan - June 25, 2020

We all know that social media is supposed to be social. However, most of us struggle when it comes to being genuinely friendly and being a serious sales person. It’s easy to think that Twitter users only want to hear about your business and what you can do for them. As a result, we see so many businesses on Twitter trumpeting about themselves, forgetting the entire social aspect of the platform. That’s why we wanted to talk about building relationships on Twitter. We asked marketing strategist and consultant, Jeff Sheehan to share some ideas about how to network on social media. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Jeff Sheehan
Topic: Networking and Building Relationships on Twitter
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: Why is it important to build relationships on social media?

To put it in Jeff’s words, “People buy from those they know, like, and trust.” Social media is a great way to facilitate that trust and build relationships that last.

What’s more, social media has made it easier than ever to connect with people and cultivate conversations. You’re not limited by geography or status—anyone can engage with anyone on social media. These interactions are vital to your sales success as well. After all, as our guest pointed out, the modern day sales funnel is drastically different from what it used to be. Social media conversations, and direct messages in particular, now play an integral part in advancing every step of that funnel.

As you capitalize on these genuine conversations, you’ll gain an advantage over your competitors as well. And Jeff confirmed that too: “According to Sprout Social, 76% of respondents were more likely to buy from a brand they felt connected to on social media than a competitor.”

Besides, building relationships on social media can also give you results you never expected. For instance, you could randomly retweet a post or share a link, but that could potentially change someone else’s path.

Q2: Why is Twitter an ideal platform to network and build relationships?

Twitter is undoubtedly the best platform to network and develop professional relationships because it’s open and unrestricted. Not only can you interact with people from all walks of life, but you also get to do so in real time. Our guest also shared some great ideas on how you can initiate conversations with people on Twitter. One way is to promote TEDx talks and speeches that you found value in, tagging the speaker.

Another idea is to share inspirational quotes from articles, books, and tweets. There’s no one way to do this either. For example, the most common way to quote someone is to put the text directly in the tweet.

But you can also use predesigned banners and embed the text in it. You can have image backgrounds, patterns, or static colors. You can even do videos of yourself reading from a book.

Q3: Who should you network with?

Your primary network should be your target audience. Find people who’re active on Twitter, interact with them, and build your community around them.

The next level of your network should be influential users in your industry. Aside from immediate influencers, you can also reach out to people in a specific market or discipline that you’re interested in learning about.

And the last ring of your network should be people you can help promote—by replying to their tweets, sharing their content, and initiating conversations.

Q4: What are some networking opportunities on Twitter?

Using relevant hashtags. Use Twitter’s comprehensive search functionality to help find conversations and users who’re relevant to what you do.

Another popular networking opportunity is to share quotes from material (books, articles, white papers) you’ve read about your industry. Not only can you tag the author to let them know how much you appreciate their work, but you can also use this chance to educate your community.

And if someone endorses you on social media—as a tag on Twitter or a recommendation on LinkedIn—hank them. That’s another great way to start conversations that transform into a networking opportunity.

Twitter chats are great for networking as well. Not only will you find people in your industry, but you’ll also find potential connections or their friends. It’s a giant web of highly-engaged users and the best way to find a large network quickly.

And finally, follow people who follow your counterparts in the industry. This is a good way to increase visibility to your profile and connect with a group of people you possibly wouldn’t otherwise.

Q5: How do you measure the success of your networking activities?

Your main metric of success should be the number of conversations you’ve created and the resulting engagements. It’s the singular, priceless data when it comes to social media success. Besides, when you prioritize human connections, you don’t just build your network, you make true friends.

Our friend J Fritz echoed the same point. She also pointed out that at the end of the day, what matters most is your RoR—return on relationships. We even did a whole #TwitterSmarter chat about that topic. Checkout the summary here.

Another good metric to watch out for is click through rates. These are the number of times people click your links to land on your website or blog pages. As Elena elaborated, as your networking efforts become effective, your mentions, follower count, and purchases will also increase.

Q6: How can you nurture your Twitter network?

Jeff’s top advice was to promote your network. Everyone likes it when one of their friends shares their work and speaks highly of them. It shows that you appreciate them and gives you a platform to showcase your relationship with them. For instance, take a look at how our guest promoted his fellow author and friend.

Similarly, you can also introduce members in your network to each other. In a lot of situations, people who live in different timezones won’t know each other, but can potentially be of great help to one another. By bridging the gap between them, you get to nurture your relationships with both parties.

Another activity is to quote retweet posts from your network. This is a way for you to tell them what you liked most about their work and to share that with your community.

Most importantly, use Twitter Lists to your benefit. When you create a public list, everyone you add to the list gets a notification, which is a brilliant way to recognize their work and to give them more visibility.

Q7: How can you effectively make your network respond to your content?

The most straightforward way to get your network to respond to you is to offer them content they want—content that helps them improve themselves. When you help people learn new things and discover meaningful content, they’ll automatically return to you for more advice. It’s also good way to establish yourself as a trustworthy authority in the industry.

Aside from sharing original content, you can also point people towards content they’ll appreciate. This is when you tag relevant users in your network when you come across something they need to know. Use this tactic sparingly, though. A lot of people randomly tag others to the point of being spammy. You don’t want that.

Above all, be consistent. Twitter and social media success isn’t an over-night game. You won’t get anywhere if you’re expecting to become an industry leader within weeks of signing up to Twitter. As Mary rightly said, hone your relationships by showing up everyday. Only then can you build a strong trust network.

Q8: Share some do’s and don’ts for networking on Twitter.

Celebrate your network! As our guest demonstrated, appreciate the special events and days of those people. It shows that they’re more than just your social media connections. Wishing someone on their birthday tells your entire community that you care about them. That’s the essence of social media—it’s for building friendships and relationships that last a lifetime.

Let your conversations progress from one point to another. For example, if you hear from someone on Twitter and you build a connection with them, don’t let that conversation end with Twitter. See if you can translate that to other networks like LinkedIn or email. Gradually, you can progress to meeting them in real life or on a video call—not to push them for a sale, but to make a connection as a fellow human.

Take a look at your profile periodically. It’s a great self reflection exercise. Evaluate why you’re on social media and what your goals are. And then see that your profile and bio and overall social media strategy reflects all those goals. It’s important to give your audience a good first impression about who you are and why you do what you do.

When someone helps you—whether on social media or offline—make sure you thank them publicly. Remember what they’ve done for you and reciprocate by promoting their work and supporting them. This also applies when people comment on your content and appreciate your work. Thank them and show that you value their time—take an extra step even to personlize your message.

And listen. Always make sure you’re listening first before you jump in with a response or counter point. The most important aspect of relationship building is the ability to listen to your audience and understand their perspectives.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading. For the complete run down of Jeff’s insights on the chat, take a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. If you’ve got some time to spare on Thursday, join us at 1pm ET for the next #TwitterSmarter chat.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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