Social Media 101: Building Trust & Rapport with the Marketplace



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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Category : Blog &Social Media

  • michelledh

    Great Advice! :) 

    • Mark Harai

      Thanks for sharing a piece of your mind here Michelle : )

  • Bill Dorman

    You know, as I was looking at your header the first thought that came to mind was ‘look at the size of the melon on that dude’. You remind me of my good friend Alex Santiago, he has a similar dome; is that like a Rican thing or something? You know I luv ya though, right? I know you can’t help it……….doh………:)

    It is all about trust and credibility my friend. And sometimes you can spend an entire career building it and do one silly thing and blow it all. The key is consistency and being true to your principals. 

    Some people in social (and even people we know well in here) try to take the social out of social because they are all ‘business’. And that’s fine if that model works for them, but what they are missing out on is the connectedness relationships allow. It is perfectly possible to do both. 

    Good to see you sir; have a great weekend. 

    • Mark Harai

      I thought about cropping my head to look smaller, but I haven’t learned how to use photoshop yet :P

      As you know Bill, there’s a lot to running a business, however businesses are build on relationships and social media can help accomplish that.

      Balance is key to effectively leveraging the social web for business owners. 

      If a guy with a head the size of Rhode Island and an invisible blogger can do it – anybody can do it!

      Thanks for stopping by my friend :)

  • Hajra

    Hey Mark,

    I finally made it here! :)

    For people running a business in the online world it has to be about appearing “human”. Yes, that I think is more important primarily. I mean let people know who you are, what you do and what you have to offer. All that is okay, but these things can be done by automated stuff. You need to let them get the human aspect of you. Even on their FB pages, all these people have are just regular updates of their posts and what their products are and all that jazz. Update asking them about their day; or discussing a recent event or issue related to your field. Make them feel important. The “customer” “reader” or the “client” will value you only if you provide the value in return! 

    Like @twitter-34985693:disqus says, the social is missing somehow for some; but then they are missing out on a lot! :)

    Glad to have stopped by! Hoping to be here more often! :)

    • Mark Harai

      Hi Hajra!

      Thanks for stopping by miss – you are everywhere these days and adding so much value to the conversation : )

      I honored to have you here and I look forward to sharing in the community. I’m all sub’d up to everywhere I could find you, including your blog…

      Don’t worry, I’m not stalking you – although it may appear that way – lol!

      I obviously agree with you on the human aspect of “social media.”

      It’ about the quality of connections you establish and dialogue and interactions with people is what establishes that.

      I look forward to establishing a productive relationship with you in 2012 Hajra!

      • Hajra

        Yes, I am everywhere.. you will soon find out that I am trying my best to make 500 $ and am just pestering everyone to come by and support… let’s save it for another day! I just got to know you! :)

        Please feel free to stalk me, I like online stalkers… as long as they don’t break my window in the middle of the night ;)

        P.S. I talk too much and leave a lot of long comments! 

        Here’s hoping 2012 will be fun! :) 

        • Mark Harai

          It takes a lot thoughtfulness to craft longer comments and replies. Many times these have more insights and golden nuggets than the original post themselves.

          I look forward to seeing your perspective on things Hajra; BTW, I only engage and follow folks I can learn from and grow with!

          Sorry I’m a bit selfish here, but time is money and I’m here to learn and get things done.

          Cheers miss!

  • Jens P. Berget

    Hi Mark,

    Happy Friday :)

    What I find to be good way to build trust and rapport is to keep talking (and to listen) about relevant things for your customers. Never sell, just keep talking about what you know your customers are interested in hearing. 

    For instance. My first client is a bike race in Norway. I know that the customers are people who are thinking a lot about health, training, and are more or less interested in nature (since they’re competing in a bike race and it’s outside). We should keep talking about what to eat before a race (and after). How to train to become better, and what’s going through the heads of people who are in a race etc.. but we should never ask them again and again to please compete in our race :)

    • Mark Harai

      I love your strategy Jens!

      People are attracted to on the social web. They attracted most to smart, personable, humble, giving people who contribute value to the community and get things done. 

      My suggestion would be to make it easy for people to subscribe up to you’re feed, newsletter, and the such. 

      Continue to serve up the value and insights people appreciate and don’t be shy about a call to action; some of your future customers are already reading your blog, so make it easy for them to contact you to discuss what you can do for them.

      A solid ‘attraction marketing’ strategy is the right approach for business on the social web.

      Thanks for all you do Jens, I appreciate it a lot : )

  • MLM Alice

    Thanks Mark.  I’m starting to using social media right now…so your information sure is helpful.  You’re correct – I’ve seen a lot of people just trying to sell and I just want to ignore them.  

    • Mark Harai

      Hi Alice, thanks for popping in miss. I hope to inspire the right attitude and mindset to those folks who are looking at social media for the long term. 

      You can build an awesome personal brand for the rest of your life if you do it right. It will only gain value when seasoned with time.

      Have a good weekend : )

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