When was the last time you visited a social media site, liked a picture on Instagram, or celebrated a friend’s professional achievement on LinkedIn? It is a safe guess that very recently. But have you been using these sites to build your business and grow professionally?

Both you and your business can gain tremendously from social media (SoMe) networking. Whether you are looking to expand your network, build a business, or find new partners, social media networking is an irreplaceable part of the process.

But how exactly can you use your network to the maximum potential and what to look out for in the future? Let’s dig in!

How can Social Media Networking help you personally?

Let’s say that you are looking for new business clients or partnerships. Where do you go to start your initial search? Probably some will say Google, but LinkedIn is definitely the first place you should visit. But – be sure to use the platform in a smart way. Sending endless invitations to strangers that you have nothing in common with in the hopes of connecting with them and offering them something they don’t care about is not a good strategy. 

Instead, look for real connections you have with people, those working in the same field, and that will benefit from your product. Of course, your connections shouldn’t only be potential clients; you should also consider colleagues and old study partners. When you have decided whom to connect with, send them a request with a personal note. This network will open you to more opportunities and will make you more reliable.

And speaking of reliability, improving your online persona will heighten your chances of landing your dream client. Companies don’t just want to know what you look like on paper; they want to see what you look like in your everyday life. They want to see personality, responsibility, leadership, and good decision-making skills when they find your social pages.

Always maintain a professional appearance to keep a positive and good reputation at work. Don’t let future partners or clients make assumptions about you based on old and/or unprofessional posts. Instead, control how you (re)brand yourself through social media.

So now you know whom to connect with, but what about being influential on SoMe to engage better with your audience? How can that work?

How can you become more influential online?

We all know that millions of people are buying online, nothing new. But did you know that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of executives use social media to make purchasing decisions? Organizations who invest resources in reaching out to their audience have a more considerable trust and a chance of success – 89% of top salespeople consider networking platforms critical to closing deals. 

Businesses should be present on all relevant social networks to keep in touch with their customers, inform them about new deals & products and offer them specialized customer care. This is crucial for the business’s reputation.

Now how do we make it happen? 

Reaching a large audience online is more accessible than ever; however, there are thousands of brands out there doing the exact same thing, so the challenge is to become more influential than them. You can’t just use the same old methods to attract customers; it’s important to constantly adapt to the new trends or rebuild the traditional marketing concept into fresh ideas. Many traditional marketing methods offline can be adapted online, for example, using word-of-mouth advertising campaigns with influential followers.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to be more influential. 

Step 1: Know whom you are talking to

Before you start thinking of the SoMe networking and being influential, you need to think about your customers. Who are they? If you don’t know, then go back and make sure you do. If you already have customers, then see who they are, send them some questions, and define them. On the other hand, if you have no customers yet, do field research, surveys, and focus groups. Never miss this step!

Step 2: Always listen

Always listen to your audience. Often, companies assume that they know what their customers want and are mistaken. Do not fall under this category and pay attention to the smallest details – take in all of their feedback and grow from it. When someone comes with problems or suggestions, always respond and take notes, it won’t go unnoticed, and it is guaranteed that you will learn a lot.

Step 3: Define your brand image

Have a clear vision of what brand image you want to portray to your audience. How do you want to be perceived? First opinion matters. 

Transparency is something many companies ignore, but this is where the gold hides. Social Media is a great place to show how credible and honest your company is and the product/service you are offering. Whether the clients are other businesses or consumers, what matters is that you are professional, honest, and reliable.

Step 4: Stay visual

Have you seen a good-performing campaign that doesn’t have visuals? Probably not. How about one that uses very fake-looking images of perfect people in comparison to authentic ones? Both types are still used. However, campaigns implementing authentic images are performing 80% better. Why? Because people cannot be fooled anymore, as mentioned above, everyone seeks transparency and reliability. 

Using the right visual marketing strategy in your campaigns speaks to the people more than anything else, which will definitely help capture your viewers’ attention. Choose images that combine well with the brand message and give the right emotion. Authentic content speaks louder than words.

Step 5: Be consistent 

It is important not to be forgotten in your network. No matter the content you’re providing your audience with, whether it is blog posts, videos, social media, or absolutely anything else – consistency is the key. Creating valuable and consistent content is the way to gain authority and credibility throughout your industry or niche. This authority will allow you to become more visible, and your social media presence will grow along with it. 

Step 6: Sharing is caring

It’s also important to share other people’s content/work as well. User-generated content shows that you’re not just self-promoting and will help you build trust with your followers. It’s also a great way to build your relationships with others. As it’s said- sharing is caring!

What to look out for in the future?

Before the social web was invented, the only people you could trust were people you have met in real life. The beauty of Social Media is that it helps you expand your horizons and increase your circles of trust. 

Organizations can use them for branding awareness and expanding their reach. And hey, there is nothing wrong with getting professional help with Social Media campaigns and networking; if you are not a digital guru, NOTRE agency is a great choice.

All these possibilities will continue to shape and influence how people live, work, and socialize with the world, so it is important to be part of the journey.

The article was written by Viktoriya Stoyanova, Head of Marketing and Sales at JumpStory. JumpStory is a stock image platform with customers in 150+ countries, offering authentic images that outperform the competition. In addition, there is a large selection of videos, icons, illustrations, and vectors, along with different marketing tools.

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