I’m sure a lot of you small business owners out there are familiar with this. You login to your Facebook page and there’s a message from someone asking you to like their page. But sure enough, you zip over to your likes, and yup, they didn’t even bother liking your page first.
Or you get an email pitch about a great new product from someone asking you to promote or share their offering with your network. But they are a total stranger, and they certainly have not done anything to show you some support first.
It never ceases to amaze me how rife the marketing world is with these kinds of tactics. In my opinion, they are a total waste of time because they are missing a crucial ingredient – relationship building.
All of us entrepreneurs want more attention, more traction, more influence. I’m always getting asked by clients how to get more retweets, more likes, more comments, more interaction.
Are you not getting what you want in your business? Try giving first.
Long before you are in a position to ask for favors or expect some support, you have to have built up the relationship first. So go ahead and get interacting, giving out exactly what you hope to receive yourself!
Who to target
It can be confusing or challenging to decide whom to interact with and focus on in the first place. Of course you have your target market. But the buck doesn’t stop there when it comes to online networking.
Here are some ideas:
- Industry leaders and influencers.
- Businesses and people that resonate with you and your values.
- Related businesses that offer complimentary services or target the same market.
- If you’re a local business, go ahead and get active locally. Even if your business does not rely solely on the local market, living in the same geographic region can be a great way to break the ice, foster rapport and make a stronger connection.
- Your current network and connections. Keep those existing relationships going strong.
The giving part is easy and I find it really enjoyable. I feel good when I support other businesses and awesome people. And I know that this feeling of goodwill and generosity translates into positive backflow for my biz.
Think about some of the things that you would like more of in your business and see about shelling out some of that loving.
Why don’t you?
- Like, pin, tweet, +1 and share the content and posts of others.
- Even more potent is social sharing of their actual content and blog posts. While we all love social media interaction, we love it most when it centers on our own site.
- Offer praise and say nice things on social media, of course being fully genuine. This is not about fishing for compliments by dishing out meaningless praise. Some platforms, like Facebook and Google+, have reviews and feedback built right in.
- Leave comments, whether on social media or on blog posts.
- Link out from your own blog posts to their content and posts.
It’s not working
If you’ve been at this for a while, and you’re not getting the responses you want, it’s easy to get frustrated or want to give up. Don’t.
It takes time and consistency to build up momentum and get recognition. Relationship building is a long-term strategy. You must be patient. But it will come and your business will continue to benefit from your efforts at making valuable connections.
Those that are genuinely interested in building an online relationship will connect back. Or they may now have you on their radar. Or their audience may notice you and your interaction. While sometimes it might seem that you are getting nowhere and giving, giving, giving without getting anything in return, you are definitely reaching more businesses and individuals than you know with your hard work. In the long run, it will all pay off.
So go ahead and start tweeting some posts, leaving some comments and making those connections. The law of reciprocity is in full effect. Who knows where it will take you?
Martina Iring – Internet marketing consultant & small business cheerleader
Martina Iring is a marketing consultant who works with small businesses and entrepreneurs unsure of how to make the internet work for them and their success. Whether they need to take their online presence to the next level, bring it up to date, or even get something going in the first place. This can be super overwhelming, especially if web stuff isn’t your thing. She’s on a mission to help the little guys make sense of internet marketing, teaching small biz owners how being online is not only profitable, but enjoyable! She is based in Vancouver, Canada but works with businesses all over the world.
She loves marketing. She loves small business. Bringing them together is her bliss. You can call her the small business cheerleader!
As a small business owner herself, Martina can relate to the whole magical journey of entrepreneurship – the challenges and the struggles, but also the joys and the amazing freedoms. Her blog, Small Business Bliss, offers up plenty of marketing info and doses of inspiration. Be sure to get your free website improvement guide here.