Social Media 101: Building Trust & Rapport with the Marketplace

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Photo by: Christina Pomoni

For professionals and business owners, social media provides a way for you to communicate “who you are,” “what you do” and “why you’re the best person for the job” to the marketplace.

In order to do this you’ll need to:

1.) Connect With Potential Customers

The best ways to reach eyeballs in your industry is to research your competition and leaders in your industry on the web and connect with them on their blogs and other social media platforms.

They’ll already be populated and engaged with your audience and here you’ll have an opportunity to build relationships, display your expertise, add value to conversations and eventually win business if you go about it properly.

2.) Don’t Sell, Build Rapport

People hate to be sold online or otherwise. What’s the first thing you say when a sales person approaches you in a department store most of the time? “I’m just looking!” In other words, “Get out of my face.”

Casual conversation takes the walls down. Your motives shouldn’t be to sell something – they should be to connect with interesting people (your potential customers), share ideas, share interests and be irresistible. You need to attract people rather than have them sprint the other direction when you show up to the party.

After you’ve connected with people and shared a few laughs, gotten comfortable with each other and realize you like each other, where does this typically lead to?

“So, what do you do?”

It opens the door to talking about your business or professional life and if it doesn’t lead to a sale right away, it can in the future. People buy things from people they like and trust and recommend them to their friends & family.

Don’t you do the same thing for your friends when they are in need of something? It’s very helpful to provide a recommendation to a trusted source knowing they’ll be treated right!

3.) Building Trust Takes Time

So many folks just fire up a Twitter, Facebook, or blog and start selling the crap out of their stuff. They don’t take the time to build relationships and establish trust and rapport with the community they desire to serve. This can actually hurt your reputation in the long run.

You need to think through what kind of presence you want to establish on the web and what you want to be known for by the marketplace – AND NOT BE KNOWN FOR!

Spammers and doucebags don’t get very far on the social web!

Don’t do or say silly, stupid, embarrassing things when you’re online either. If you’re a professional or business owner, this can hurt you for the rest of your life. Everything you do is literally like fingerprints you can’t change or get rid of. They follow you everywhere you go!

When you approach your social media efforts in this manner, you’ll have a voice and a platform to build on for years to come. Even if you change positions or get into a different business, your efforts and labor of love will stand the test of time.

Your activities on the social web will either build you trust and rapport with the marketplace or disdain.

Which do you prefer?

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