Instead, find out what groups they are engaged in and join in the conversation is a way that shows you know what you are talking about, ‘like’ or comment favourably on one of their posts (once again with care – not too enthusiastically!) and allow them to engage with you in a ‘safe’ environment , building trust and familiarity. This is Inbound Marketing at its best – within quite a short time the person you are targeting begins to feel they know you a bit, they may have checked out your contacts before accepting you so may even ask them if they know you well. If you are delivering a service they could be interested in – you have to feel like the type of person they want to reach out to – you are the expert – you don’t NEED to chase them – or so it is perceived! You can solve their problem if THEY ASK. I know this is the reverse of everything you may have learnt about sales and it is hard to not think about a massive call to action being required, but the psychology of social media requires a far more subtle approach, but one that is really effective within this environment.
How do you build trust?
Familiarity and comfort is the corner stone of building trust initially on social media. The connection may not know you personally but they are building a picture in their mind of what you are like. They will do this using the tools they have available to them:
- Your profile
- Your connections
- Your endorsements
- Your testimonials
- Your website link
- Your articles or posts
- Groups you belong to
This should be as up to date as possible – this is the place you get to sell your skills. Do not write in the third person – it is your profile and you have written it. Talk yourself up but don’t brag – let your testimonials do that for you. Make sure that you demonstrate how your various career experiences have helped you reach this stage in life where your knowledge and skills are valuable to people – it is your online CV; make it work for you.
When people are deciding to connect or not with you, the more informed will look at shared connections, who they may be (we don’t always like/trust all our old connections), and if you look to be well connected; do you know someone they may wish to meet? Don’t be tempted to accept everyone – some are simply inviting all and sundry to build their profile, some are looking to sell to you – beware recruiters! – Some will want your connections list.
Who has recommended you – are they the same sort of businesses they would relate to? What skills are they endorsing you for? I know that very often we get random endorsements from people but most will select skills they believe you have – so it is a perceived value which in these circumstances have bearing.
Who is recommending you? Are they companies they know? Trust? Do they sound genuine?
Does it say the same things as you are saying about your line of business or is there a question about the authenticity of the two? Is your marketing message the same as that of your company’s?
You are looking to build a convincing picture to the viewer that will make them either contact you, pick up the phone, ask about you or put you on their mental ‘to do’ list should the circumstances arise.
Your articles or posts:
Are they interesting? Do they read well and have information that is useful or are they a thinly disguised advert which has wasted their time? Do they link back to more information if they want it? We live in a bite sized world where information is given in bullets and the choice to dig deeper is important; time poor professionals will often leave a browser open to go back to something if they are interested.
In order to get the best out of a post or update use a BITLY.com short URL from your website to record how many people are actually visiting the website afterwards. This same URL should be used across all social media posts so you can see which has worked best and when.
Make your posts topical and informative; make them worth reading, but not too long. Any blogs should work hard for you and always lead them back to the website so they explore other articles that may interest them and demonstrate your skills.
Groups you belong to:
At the bottom of your profile page you will find a list of the groups that you are connected with, this tells people what your interests are and who you engage with. People will draw their own conclusions from these and also look to see if you have a shared interest. If you are viewing a discussion and think you would like to make a private comment to someone taking part, then by all means send them a direct message with your thoughts – or a question and get the conversation going that way.
Online Business Directory?
Companies and individuals spend quite a bit of time researching online and your social media profile is important. If you type your name into Google does your LinkedIn page appear high up the list? It is often referred to as an online business directory for a good reason, if people know of you and can’t find your contact details they can search LinkedIn.