Tuesday, June 14, 2011

5 Step E-Guideline to Meeting & Greeting You Social Media Friends

5 Step E-Guideline to Meeting & Greeting Your Social Media Friends

So last month I was inspired to create a guideline on what to do when you meet an acquaintance on “Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare…etc.”

What motivated me to create this guide were several encounters with professional networkers on social media sites.

For instance I was meeting up with my running group downtown (http://www.twitter.com/saltydogrunners) and was approached by one of the new members with “Hey you’re that runner on Twitter… I follow your tweets!”

Let me just say that I was flattered that someone took notice to my 140 character rambling.
On another note I was unsure on how to respond, introduce myself and continue with the conversation? Do I know this person? Have we talked.... We’ll get back to this later…

Another encounter I have had with “Social Media Awkwardness” was at Emerge Memphis, a focal point for entrepreneurial activity in the Mid-South and a general business and technology-based incubator, in other words, a building filled with entrepreneurs and tech geniuses. A large number of the business professionals I have connected with via Social Media channels are within this building and I see at least three of them every time I come in--only realizing this after my partner says, that is “JohnDoe123 on twitter” and I say “Oh, I am following him, but I haven’t actually met them.”

There are two reasons I connect with people on social media sites:
1. They are my friends
2. Professional Networking

So, lets get back to the reason you probably came here, how can you avoid the “Social Media Awkwardness?” How do you approach or converse with your “social media friends” in the flesh?

Followed is a 5 step guideline I have created through personal encounters as well as through discussion boards and commentary from others.

5 Step E-Guideline to Meeting & Greeting Your Social Media Friends

Step1: Examine

You need to determine what channels you want to have and what you want to utilize them for? Strategy is Key in everything you do.
Facebook has generally been a personal profile page for friends and family to connect with each other, yet recently businesses have started using the site to promote and engage their services and products with audience members.
Ask yourself: Who do I want to connect with on Facebook, Wordpress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, FourSquare…etc. and more importantly why?

Step 2: Etiquette

Traditionally, before the social media revolution came about, you would congregate at a social event and properly introduce your name, a mutual friend, your title, and perhaps an icebreaker to further connect.
Well social media relationships should mirror real face-to-face relationships.
Properly introduce yourself by stating who you are, how you know them, why you would like to further connect with them, and how they can further connect with you---mostly in 140 characters or less. Facebook and LinkedIn are more lenient.
Example: “My name is Jessica Grammer & I met you at last night’s professional mixer with John Doe. I specialize in SMM and would love to further connect with you to discuss this field and more. I heard you mention you wanted to learn more about online marketing; you can check out our web site www.thinkebiz.net which shares free resources and tools. Feel free to email me if you have any more questions, comments or concerns, Jessica@thinkebiz.net.”
Twitter (140) Friendly: “I'm Jessica Grammer & I met you at last night’s mixer w/ John Doe. I specialize in SMM & would love to further connect w/ you on the topic.”
If you have not met the individual, you would send a similar message that looks like this:
“I’m Jessica Grammer and I saw that you are a Web Development specialist in Memphis & I would love to further connect with you via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…etc.

Step 3: Engagement

Now you and JohnDoe123 are friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, FourSquare, etc. and he mentions a story, topic, and/or question of your interest. This is the beginning to your viral relationship and where you have an opportunity to engage. You can respond to the post and/or share it to your other connections.
More than likely this process will continue and you will become more familiar with each other’s focuses, trends, and styles.

Step 4: Encounter

Here is the BIG question…You are out at a social event or you are at a local conference/meeting and you recognize a name and or person from a social networking site---What do you do?
I shared this question via Twitter, Facebook, and Quora and here were a couple of the responses
Kelsie Murdock: “Wing it based on the vibe I get from that person.”
Jon Murray: "Hi, I follow you on Twitter, I think we've @'d each other a few times, I’m @JonSupermurray (usually I point to my nametag where I've written my Twitter handle.)"
I agree with both of these responses and decided to tie them together
When you encounter someone face-to-face, hopefully you properly identified and introduced yourself in Step 2 and would re-greet them with,
“Hey, my name is Jessica Grammer, @jgrammer on twitter, and I wanted to formally introduce myself since we are connected on Twitter and LinkedIn (whatever channel you are connected on). I also wanted to thank you for sharing the article, “Top Social Media Tools,” and for the #FF shout outs!
If you skipped Step 2 do not panic. Just “wing” it like Kelsie said and be bold using something you spoke about to break the ice.
Take the “runner girl” situation for example; the individual who recognized me did great! He approached me, said his name, and mentioned what I had talked about and that he was listening to what I had to say.
That is one of best compliments anyone could get, that they are being heard. That is why I am on Twitter. I want for what I say to be acted upon, which leads to the last step.

Step 5. Extend

Once you have built an ongoing relationship with individuals via social media channels you may want to extend your relationship face-to-face. Invite them to lunch, coffee, and/or a community event.
This goes back to my purpose of certain channels, in which I use Twitter and LinkedIn professionally. Your purpose of Twitter may be to find new gaming partners, find active connections within your community, romance, and/or special hobbies.
The messages and process I use are to gain an increased awareness and network and professionals within my community.

So let me briefly take you through this process by example…

(Step 1) I acquire a social media channel.

(Step 2) I go to a local meet up in town for social media professionals. I gradually meet local expertise and online marketing specialist and introduce myself and go through the “6 degrees of separation.” I give my new networking friends my business card with my social media links and how they can further connect with me. In exchange, I get their contact information and send a request to connect with them later.

(Step 2 –Step 3)Via @jgrammer Twitter: “I had a blast at the Social Media Mixer and it was a pleasure meeting @JohnDoe123 and @JaneDoe123. #SocialMediaMemphis.”

(Step 3) via @Jgrammer Twitter: RT @JaneDoe123 The mixer was a success. Join us for the next Social Media Mixer June 30th. #SocialMediaMemphis.
Via @JaneDoe123 It was nice meeting you @Jgrammer. Thanks for the RT.
Via @Jgrammer: Check out my new blog post 5 Step E-Guideline to Meeting and Greeting Your Social Media Friends
Via @JaneDoe123 Great Post! @Jgrammer: Check out my new blog post 5 Step E-Guideline to Meeting and Greeting Your Social Media Friends

(Step 4) Bump into @Jane123 at Starbucks, “Hey, Jane. It is a pleasure seeing you again. Not sure if you remember me, but I am Jessica Grammer. We met at the Social Media Mixer and have RT’d/@’d each other a few times. I am excited about the next meet up!

(Step 5) Jane, “We are having this Social Media Breakfast if you would like to come….. Exchange contact information…. Have a yummy breakfast and extend your networking!
Connecting at its best

Connect with me!

Jessica Grammer
www.thinkebiz.net, http://twitter.com/#!/think_ebiz
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicagrammer

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