How To Build Real-World Connections With Your Online Network
The fastest way to get something you desire is to create what you desire for another first. This is actually an ancient principle based on Universal Law. It’s called the law of reciprocity.
The very act of giving what you desire places you in a position to receive. For example, the moment you switch from wanting to grow your own social media network to providing an opportunity for others to expand theirs, you can go from being a networker to an influencer, which is what we’ll be discussing in this article.
One thing our agency does is help clients communicate with their networks. Two of the main questions we ask the client when we are working to formulate a message is: Who are you trying to reach? And what are you trying to share? Asking these questions is fundamental to the process of understanding how you are going to communicate.
Can You Do The Same Thing With Social Media?
One way to gain real influence on social media is by using one of the oldest strategies in the book for establishing a genuine human connection: breaking bread.
For instance, holding private dinners is a powerful platform to expand the network of your followers, and you can reap the collateral benefits of gaining more influence and building a steady stream of leads and referrals.
Use social media to establish targeted connections. After the connection is made, you can invite people over for dinner once a month in your home or reserve a section of a local restaurant. Keith Ferrazzi, who has built one of the world’s largest networks, talks about this in his book Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets To Success, One Relationship at a Time.
We help our clients expand their social media networks in offline, real-world environments by providing platforms such as local “beehive” events. During a beehive, we network our clients with targeted prospects whom we have previously invited to the beehive for the sole purpose of getting them connected to our clients.
When you create opportunities that provide value, you can expand the network of your followers and position yourself as an authority.
Establishing The Connection
It’s easy to use social media to establish targeted business connections. We personally use LinkedIn to send out invites to our events. The invitations go to our clients’ direct targeted connections (prospects).
After the connection is made, begin sending useful information to your network through a series of follow-up messages. These messages can help to nurture the relationship.
Next, seek to change the environment and go from having a virtual connection to a real-world connection by inviting your social media follower to engage with you at an event you are hosting.
Who To Invite
You can invite your targeted prospects, potential sources of referral, or people slightly above your center of influence who can take you to the next level. Also, before you start establishing online connections, think of the event you will eventually hold and connect with people who are most suitable for your event.
Cultivating Your Network Offline
Here are some ideas for moving your online connection into the real world:
Beehive events are a great way to ensure that you are able to link up with others you want to connect with. People need to know the value of what they are getting from the meeting. At our beehive events, all attendees complete a series of exercises that match our clients to their target audience, thereby generating solid leads. For example, one exercise is to have everyone write down their main goals and fears.
Beehive events allow you to network with others for a common cause, whether that’s something as simple as networking or a community concern that everyone is trying to address. At the end of the day, the purpose is to connect communally and know that you are going to share a common interest and goal.
This is perfect for inviting your target prospects. Meet them for coffee to simply get to know them, and allow the business to naturally come in subsequent meetings.
This is a great strategy for the high-end client. Once you build a rapport with them on social media because you’ve shared something of value to them, invite them to lunch. This can be the perfect venue to open up a real conversation for you to provide solutions and (hopefully) convert them into a new client.
Here you will definitely want to fill the room with targeted prospects. LinkedIn allows you to target people by job title, industry and a host of other parameters so you can target the best prospects.
Private Dinner Party
You may experience greater success by inviting people who could form strategic alliances with you. Here you invite people who are in non-competing businesses that share the same customer base. This also paves the way to form mastermind groups.
Fill a room with professionals who are at the top of their classes in a variety of categories, and try to solve a problem. Each person comes to the table with a different set of skills and life experiences. This is how many great minds throughout history have sorted out complex issues.
If you connect with your social media followers using these types of strategies, you can expand your network more quickly and build genuine influence within your local community.
The sky’s the limit. The point is to consistently and routinely cultivate your online network in an offline environment. Utilize these tips to reach more prospective members of your network and grow it, one event at a time.