June 29, 2015
/ by Allen Mireles
As a public relations pro you depend on building and maintaining strong business relationships. You need to keep your lists of media, bloggers and industry influencers current and accurate. And you’re often tasked with entering into new industries or beginning to build relationships with people you haven’t yet met in person.
Doable? Yes. Time consuming? Sometimes.
Enter social media. You can use social media to find and connect with the people you need to know in any industry and across almost all cultural and geographic boundaries using these advanced social media tactics.
“But I’m already using social media,” you mutter to yourself. You probably are. But have you thought about using these advanced social media tactics to build your lists and maintain your relationships?
LinkedIn, the business network, is constantly evolving and some of its recent changes will work in your favor:
Twitter rules. As a longtime “Twitterhead” I’ve found Twitter to be a powerful tool for finding new contacts, adding to lists and building relationships. I’ve also been contacted directly by traditional media, bloggers and industry influencers myself.
I’m assuming you already have a Twitter profile. If you haven’t started using it yet, no worries. It’s easy to get up and running on Twitter quickly.
One of the first things to do is to create Twitter lists of the folks you hope to work with. Your Twitter lists can be public or private and help keep you apprised of what everyone is sharing.
Who should you include on your Twitter lists? Take the names from your existing lists and add them.
Use tools to find Twitter handles. Or, do a simple Google search. For example, “Allen Mireles on Twitter” brings up my Twitter handle.
How do you build rapport? Follow the people on your lists. Thank them if they follow you back. Pay attention to what they’re writing or producing. Share it in your networks. Comment on it. Source it in the content you create.
Be sure to make sense and add value to the conversation, don’t sound insipid or like a sycophant. Thoughtful and insightful comments, follow up questions and suggestions help you stand out.
Facebook is like the elephant in the room these days. For better or worse, we all use it to connect with family and friends…and share pictures of cats doing absurd things.
But are you using some of the tools like Facebook Graph Search or actively participating in Facebook groups related to your interests or industry?
Graph Search is almost frighteningly revealing. Say I’m interested in meeting people who work for CBS News so I can pitch a client’s story.
A quick search of my Facebook for “Friends who have friends who work at CBS News” brings up 35 friends who could introduce me to people who work at CBS News. A broader search for “People who have friends who work at CBS news” brings up hundreds of people, many of whom are friends of mine or friends of friends of mine.
It goes back to that old adage, “You never know who knows who.” Use Graph Search to build a list of people who can introduce you to the media, bloggers or influencers you’d like to know better or to be able to pitch.
Facebook groups are surprisingly powerful and give you easy access to new contacts. People who are already on Facebook also congregate in groups related to their interests and professions.
Actively participating in a Facebook group is a great way to meet and get to know people you may want to connect with in the future for work-related discussions.
A quick search for the terms “public relations,” “media” and “journalists” yields hundreds of possible groups you could join. You can search for groups by industry and interests. They’re out there and many are happy to have you as a member.
Be careful though. Don’t pitch someone directly on Facebook unless you’ve already developed a relationship.
Facebook is seen as a place to hangout and to have fun. So how do you take what you’ve found and turn it into a relationship or business contact?
Your goals are to add to your existing lists, build new ones and maintain strong and lasting professional relationships. These advanced social media tactics are easy to use and can make a world of difference in achieving those goals.
Remember to make it really easy for people to find you and understand what you do and what you stand for. Offer to be helpful, whether that means connecting someone with someone they’d like to meet, providing background information, or sharing a tip you’ve found useful.
Image: HikingArtist.com, A Name Like Shields Can, Denis Dervisevic (Creative Commons)
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