Building Relationships/Partnerships Online With Message Forums and Social Networking Sites
Is it truly possible to meet people, share a business concept and sponsor others into your business without that face to face, “belly to belly” experience that we have been taught about our Network Marketing business? Can a person really build strong relationships using the internet?
The answer is absolutely yes, and my goal is to offer you some thoughts and ideas about using one of the most popular online methods –Social Media/Networking Sites, Message Boards and Forums.
Social Media/Networking Sites are the interactive communities online where you can interact with friends from high school; college; a former job; current job; local community where you live; work, clubs to which you belong, etc.
A discussion or message forum is like a bulletin board online. It’s the “water cooler” of the Internet. It’s where people go to research, express and share ideas, share needs, etc. There are online message boards and forums for virtually anything you can think of. No need to limit yourself to just “Network Marketing” or “Home Business” forums.
To be effective online, there are a few areas you’ll want to define for yourself. These include:
What is your goal?
Who is your target market?
How will you add value?
How will you develop an action plan within each group and be consistent?
When I set about defining goals around my participation in social groups and online forums it always starts with creating relationships. Meeting people online follows the same basic principles as meeting people offline. Say hello; ask questions and get your new acquaintance talking about him or herself; find common interests.
I like to picture myself as walking into a party when I enter a social site or online forum. I may know one or two people, but that is about it. So, I walk in with the intention of meeting lots of new people and expanding my horizons.
Just as you would not walk into a party flashing a neon sign that says “Ask me about my business,” you don’t want to do this online either. Leave your business in the background in the beginning.
Here is a short tutorial on Attraction Marketing online –
One incredible tool with online forums and social sites is that most allow you to create a profile about yourself. With one click, your new friend can visit your profile page and learn more about all aspects of you, including your business. Make your profile very broad; and keyword rich. Make it about more than just your business and you’ll attract people of many interests.
What do you like to do? Do you travel? Have children? Homeschool? Enjoy Cooking? Gardening? Belong to a wine club? Share much about yourself so your prospect can get to know you in short order. Always include some information about your business and keep it as just another part of the “conversations.” Always include a picture.
You can quickly develop a network of contacts online through the “friend” and “network/groups” features offered by most social and forum sites. As you seek out people with whom you share common interests, you can network with their contacts by viewing and connecting with their database of contacts. This is similar to the “who do you know” concept networkers have used offline for years.
As you develop your profile, you’ll define your answers to who your target market will be in each site you are on. Certainly, you are looking for people who share a common interest in home business and network marketing. You are also looking to connect with others who share your interests outside of business because you never know who is also interested in a business.
Don’t hesitate to make contacts with people in other companies. You never know who might be looking for a change, or who you can develop a referral relationship with. Each person you connect with has the potential to put you in contact with hundreds and even thousands of others. Some of my strongest business builders have come from seasoned network marketers who I have connected with online even though they weren’t looking for a business at the time.
Now, the idea is NOT to blast into an online community, wowing everyone with your product and your opportunity. Just like offline, that’s a fast ticket to nowhere. Many people on these forums are turned off by Network Marketing because of unscrupulous “posters” who do nothing but blast their opportunity. The time to tell someone about your business is when they ask you about what you do; where you work, etc. Or, if they visit your profile, they can learn more and again, it’s their choice to do so.
When you enter into a community or a friendship online always be thinking about how you can add value; resist the temptation to think about yourself or what might be in it for you. Ask questions; offer ideas and advice if people are asking; share your personal stories and what has helped you. Did you read a great article online? Post the link so others can also learn. Saw a great motivational quote? Pass it on. In most cases, the link to your profile or personal website is included so people always have the opportunity to learn more about you and as you become known and consistent, more people will click to your page.
Gain trust with the other readers and visitors by being authentic, honest and transparent. Build a presence and through that presence, you will build a following. Be consistent and be a contributor. Set yourself apart from many of the others who show up.
Building a successful business of any kind takes time, commitment and patience. Developing a following of potential friendships, prospects and partnerships online requires consistency. Have a daily and weekly action plan for visiting and contributing to each social network and forum you belong to and stick to it. As your name becomes seen and known people will began to seek out more information about you. You will establish yourself as credible and knowledgeable. People then begin visiting your website, requesting more information and gathering data. This is your goal.
Here are some guidelines to follow –
Always use your full, real name.
Never bash or trash another company.
Offer valuable ideas and suggestions.
Don’t advertise, be subtle.
Be a consistent visitor, and establish yourself.
Always be honest, ethical and have integrity.
Give up your need to be right when a topic comes up that you disagree with.
The only secret to mastering this form of recruiting is to “show up” regularly and have integrity. This is one method of getting people coming to YOU, and that’s the goal, right? Get out online and have some fun; meet some people; and watch your business take off by creating relationships. It’s a happening party out there and you want to be there!
Learn more about building an effective Network Marketing business both online and offline in my Direct Sales Online Coaching Program!
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