~ Neale Donald Walsch
Many people treat social media as simply another way to communicate with friends or personal acquaintances. In other words, they engage, but only with people within their comfort zones. Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing this. However, in my opinion, they miss out on making connections with a world full of potential friendships, collaborations and possible business opportunities.
In my own experience, I discovered how much I enjoy making connections with people from all over the world. I often compare my casual social media interactions to cocktail parties. In an article I wrote last year for Doina Oncel, one of my “virtual” friends, I touch upon how easy it is for anyone to get involved in social media. Making connections with people from a variety of experiences and niches can be a life-enriching experience. When you are willing and open to taking chances – and stepping outside your social comfort zone – you may find opportunities you never knew existed.
So, are you ready to dip your toe into the social media waters – or dive in headfirst? These are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Making connections through online chats
One of the quickest ways I know of for making connections is by participating in Twitter chats. Hundreds of chats take place on Twitter every week and the variety of topics seems to offer something for everyone. [Click on this link to see a current list: Twitter Chat Schedule]. When you participate regularly and relevantly in the conversations, you begin to feel a camaraderie with other chatters, and most are open to connecting. The best part? If you lose interest or become offended by particular chat topics, you can easily bow out.
Another good place to meet and converse online is on LinkedIn. In Connecting 101: LinkedIn, I provide some best practices for making connections on LinkedIn, including the benefits of joining LinkedIn groups. Closed groups often offer moderated chats with relevant topics for its members, but good discussions take place within open groups as well. Making connections on LinkedIn may be more complicated than on Twitter, depending on how open others are to accepting invitations. It never hurts to ask though.
Making connections through blogging
Blogging for your business involves a lot of time and effort, but the rewards make it worthwhile. Hubspot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Annual Report provides promising statistics for businesses that blog:
- 43% of marketers generated a customer from their blog this year.
- 79% of companies who have a blog report a positive ROI for inbound marketing this year, compared with just 20% of those companies that do not have a blog.
Bloggers who focus on making connections usually experience increased visibility and exposure for their posts. Blogging communities, such as Triberr, bring groups of bloggers (known as “tribes”) together to share and offer feedback on blog posts. Just like Twitter chats, there are hundreds of tribes with people who blog about anything and everything. Triberr also gives you the opportunity to start your own tribe if you prefer.
Another effective way to increase readership for your blog is through contributing to other blogs and/or accepting guest blogs on your own site. If you have the time and opportunity, you may find it beneficial to publish blogs about different topics in which you also have knowledge. This is a great way of making connections outside your social comfort zone, as well as expanding your readership.
What are some of the ways you go about making connections outside your social comfort zone on social media? I would love to hear about them, or tweet me @jennghanford anytime!
Doina’s Infinite Solutions: How Social Media Brings Worlds Together