Social Media Etiquette – how to make the most of new connections

Gaining new connections on social media can feel like an exciting opportunity to meet someone new and share with them what you do but there is a right way to go about this.

We’re all bombarded with connection requests across the social media channels that we use, and I’m sure that like me, you’ve had people connect with you and immediately try to sell you something. It’s like walking into a networking event when someone pounces on you and talks at you about how they can help you without even taking a moment to get to know you!

In my opinion, this is bad etiquette and can leave a sour taste behind, so what’s the best way to make the most out of your new connections?

Know who you’re accepting as connections

It can be easy to get excited by the number of connection requests waiting for you, so you happily click to accept them all without a second thought. I think it’s sensible to take a quick look through profiles and posts before accepting (or sending) connection requests.

Make sure that they speak the same language as you – if you don’t like constant selling and being spoken at rather than to, it can take just a second to spot this kind of activity on a prospective connection’s profile.

Similarly, if you’re sending connection requests, make sure it’s obvious who you are and what you do on your profile, give people the opportunity to figure out if you’re a good connection for them before they hit accept.

Reach out to new connections in a softer way

I must admit that I sometimes dread hitting accept on a bunch of connection requests because I know I’m going to get at least one sales-driven message land in my inbox within hours of doing so.

I’m not saying don’t message your new connections at all, but don’t make it all about you.

Take the time to get to know them, what they do and the problems they might be experiencing that you can potentially help them with. In the meantime, let your social media content do the talking for you. Have posts that open up dialogue, invite opinions and be available to answer questions on their terms.

Then, when you already have a rapport and believe some interest is there, set up a virtual 121. A virtual meeting over Zoom or Skype to get to know each other better, how you can help each other (remember this can be introductions to other people, telling them about apps that might help, even news articles that could be useful – it doesn’t have to be related to your service or products), and if you do feel there’s something specific you can help them with, use your follow up to present the offer.

If you’re not confident with meetings and making sales, I recommend this blog by the lovely Jade Brindley at Koa Consulting about the sales process, why sales seldom happen the first time round and how to use follow-ups to your advantage.

Avoid stalking your new connections!

This one should go without saying, but so often I add a new connection and suddenly I’m finding them everywhere, across all social media accounts. I don’t mean just following or adding me, that’s ok, I mean the same kind of pushy messages, tagging me into things and generally making me feel like a target.

Remember that social media is a form of marketing and that means you should be ethical in your dealings. I think a lot of people use connection requests and messages to get past the ethical guidelines of marketing somewhat, my golden rule is that if you wouldn’t put it in a public post, you shouldn’t be putting it in a message to a connection. I feel that many people can be quite pushy to the point of being rude in messages and that’s never a good thing for your reputation.

To make the most out of your new connections, you need to be your authentic self. Get to know the real them by being the real you. If you are a good fit for them, they will buy from you. Adding them to a list, spamming their inbox or following them across social media is just going to raise a few red flags that you’re not someone they want to do business with.

Social media can be a fantastic way to generate new opportunities for your business but remember that you’re doing business with other people and try to treat them as you would want to be treated yourself. It’s my belief that if you think of your social connections less as leads and more as potential friends, you’re doing both of you a far greater service and will get more out of it in the long run.