When you use social networking to market your business, it's extremely important to keep the focus on relationship building first. People ask how to do this, and the standard advice is to go out and "break the ice" and initiate a conversation.
The problem I'm seeing pop up is that many people don't fully understand how to break the ice in online social networking. Here's a real life example: a business coach "Lauren" (not her real name) wrote to me, "OK, I'm on all these social networking sites . . . now what?"
I suggested she initiate contact by saying hello or commenting on others' walls. I made a big mistake in this suggestion: I assumed she knew how to properly break the ice with others.
I trailed her on Facebook and found myself aghast at her actions.
On people's wall comments, she made offers for complimentary coaching sessions. Zero subtlety, just "Hi, nice to meet you. Wanna free coaching session?"
Eeek, my skin crawled. That's really tacky, I thought to myself. What ever happened to getting to know each other first?
Next, I saw her make a VERY suggestive comment (which I'm sure was in good fun but didn't play out well in print) to a male social networking contact. Not a good way to get known, I thought.
I've been assuming all along that entrepreneurs understood what it meant to "break the ice" and I now realize that isn't the case. Something happens to people online, where they forget their manners and basic interpersonal skills. I'm now atoning for my assumptions by providing you these 4 social networking ice-breaking tips so you can get to know people without making a nuisance of yourself.
1. Facebook: Comment on a Note
In Facebook, click on the Notes section and check out what your friends have been posting. Look for topics that interest you and people who you'd like to get to know better. When you find an interesting topic by someone, leave a comment on their note. That will open you up to continued dialog while making you more visible. You can also leave a wall message saying how much you enjoyed that person's note or comment.
2. Ask a question in your status update.
This is a great way to spark dialog and break the ice. I've asked about people's reading habits, favorite social networking sites, and even advice for technical problems. You'd be amazed how many people want to connect and dialog with you. Just write the question and see what happens!
3. Find something to compliment.
Look at the feed (activity on the site) and see if new photos or profile updates have come up. Then go to that person's wall or photo and leave a complimentary comment. Just sign your name, no other information is needed.
4. ReTweet a post on Twitter
When you're on Twitter and see something especially useful, type in Retweet @UserName and the original message or link. It will re-broadcast the Tweet to your entire network. It's a nice act, and nothing breaks the ice better than a little generous promotion of others.
Making new contacts on social networking sites is fast and easy. But after you make the contacts, you need to invest time and patience into developing relationships. By using these ice-breaking tips, you can keep the conversation light and your visibility high while you assess the upcoming opportunities.
Nancy Marmolejo may be contacted at http://www.VivaVisibility.com articles@VivaVisibility.com
Nancy Marmolejo teaches entrepreneurs how to break the cycle of struggle and mediocrity and emerge as confident, sought after, profitable business owners. Using her signature Profitable Essence™ system, Nancy’s clients learn to connect their authenticity and talents with what will make them the most money. Her approach is a blend of expert strategy, intuitive insights, and high octane creativity. With over 100 media credits to her name and numerous business achievement awards, Nancy is a respected expert with a loyal following from around the globe. http://vivavisibilityblog.com/