It can be a little awkward to break the ice on social media, but these tips should help make it easier.
There is no shortage of awkwardness when you are trying to break the ice on social media. You might spot a prospect and want to spark up a conversation, or see a potential lead and want to begin building a relationship, but you might find it very difficult to break the ice on social media without seeming contrived.
There are a few nice segues that make it much easier to get that conversation started or begin building that relationship. These are a few ways you can try breaking the ice on social media next time you want to start a relationship with a prospective client.
Personalize Your Connection
Telling someone that you would like to ‘add them to your professional network on LinkedIn’ has become so overused that a lot of people (particularly those that focus significantly on social) tend to ignore these connection requests.
One great way to get a conversation going is by personalizing your connection request on LinkedIn. These are messages that are sent directly to the user, and a personal message certainly gets noticed. Considering the fact that almost all connection requests use the standard invite rhetoric, venturing out of the box and being creative (or simply personal) makes an impact. From there, it will be much easier to dive into a conversation and this new connection will be prepared for it.
Engage with a Tweet
It doesn’t matter who you are – if you’re active on Twitter, you love the attention your tweets get. People are sharing these microblogs because they want to be heard. When you show someone that you’re listening, they’ll notice.
Something as simple as a favorite or a retweet can go a very long way. (Much further than we tend to think.) People take notice when someone engages with their content, and when you subsequently reach out, they’ll be much more responsive to that. So next time you identify a prospect on Twitter, try engaging with some of their content before making a full introduction. It’ll certainly help.
And speaking of introductions…
If you and your target prospect are both active on social media and work in the same (or a tangential) industry, you’ll almost certainly have connections in common on LinkedIn. You should be taking advantage of that!
Not enough people take advantage of the introductions that can be made on the network. In fact, a study by LinkedIn in 2013 found that people are 50% more likely to respond to you when you reference someone they know. That number is even higher when a common connection introduces you.
Respond to Questions
Sometimes the best way to break the ice is to take part in a conversation that is already taking place. See if your prospect has asked any questions or needs expert advice, and chime in if you have an answer. (Not a sales pitch – an answer.)
One of the beauties of social media is that conversations that are not private are open to everyone. Unlike face-to-face communication, people are much more responsive to someone jumping into a conversation on social media than they would be at a bar. If you see your prospect asking for advice or help, share something valuable with them. This does not have to be (and shouldn’t be, in most cases) a way for you to aggressively pitch your product or service. This is a way for you to share your knowledge and expertise in the industry and open up those lines of communication for the future.
Social media makes it a lot of easier to identify a prospect and begin building a relationship with that person. That said, it is not always easy to get that relationship off the ground. Following these steps will make it that much easier (and more natural) next time the opportunity arises.
How do you tend to break the ice on social media? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!