How to network on social media like a pro

Social media has revolutionized networking.Sites like twitter and Instagram can be extraordinary tools for expanding and deepening your connections with business contacts,clients and potential partners.

1. Build a social presence

Start by deciding who you want to network with. Ask yourself who is in a position to help you advance your business. Then, research which social media sites these people use most. The most popular social networking sites for business are LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, but every industry is unique. Check which sites your competitors are most active on. And search various sites to see what activity exists that’s relevant to your business.

2. Post engaging content

Think of engaging content to post on your social media sites. Your goal is to foster a community of like-minded people who see you as a thought leader, interact with you and share your content with their networks. Examples of content include how-to videos, blog posts, surveys, contests, industry and market insights, white papers and eBooks. Keep your writing concise and reader-friendly, with short sentences and paragraphs. Avoid technical and marketing jargon.

3. Focus on quality over quantity

Focus on the quality of your social interactions, not the number of followers. If you offer value and engage in meaningful conversations, your network should grow naturally on its own. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Try to establish relationships for the long-term,” O’Shea says.

4. Practice good etiquette

Good online networking etiquette means being professional and responding diplomatically to criticism. “This is an opportunity to wear the white hat, to be a good person and a non-complainer,” O’Shea says. “The complainers are not the people anyone wants to do business with.”

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