In a world where so much interaction takes place online, how do you build meaningful connections with potential clients?
It’s a question that educator and business communications expert Natalie Klun has pondered on behalf of all manner of small business owners. Klun has examined the way people communicate in today’s world and studied those who’ve been exceedingly successful at building online communities. What she ultimately discovered was a formula built not on the latest, greatest technology but on time-honored principles of relationship-building. People want to connect. People want help with their problems. People are searching for trusted resources.
Today’s most successful networkers are those who can use modern tools, like social media, to offer solutions. They become magnetic, drawing others to them rather than continually inserting themselves into prospective clients’ lives.
“Nurture relationships and demonstrate the value of what you provide in a way that people self-select to connect with you. And be consistent. The winning strategy is always built on consistency.”Natalie Klun
To become more magnetic in your online networking, Klun recommends an approach that can be summarized by three elements that are central to virtual relationship-building:
1. Impression. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Consider how to position yourself online so that when you meet new people, they are encouraged to connect with you. How can you communicate who you are and what you do but also identify who you want to connect with?
2. Interaction. Treat social media the way it was designed, as a tool for social connection. “How should we interact socially, knowing there’s a natural process of getting to know people, building a relationship, and establishing trust?” asks Klun. “Social media makes it easy to become familiar with people, but it’s the daily routine of interacting and showing interest in others that yields the benefits.”
3. Influence. Develop a content posting plan that helps establish you as a valuable resource. “We have to be mindful of what we’re creating and sharing,” says Klun. “Nurture relationships and demonstrate the value of what you provide in a way that people self-select to connect with you. And be consistent. The winning strategy is always built on consistency.”
To impress, interact, and influence online, Klun drills down into the specifics that online networkers should embrace:
Jeff Kent is editor-at-large.