Social network marketing: Get to know those who need to know you

NOTE — This is the sixth in a series on social network marketing. The entire series can be found here.

Since relationships play such an important role in social network marketing, anyone planning to use it successfully must learn how best to interact with people.

Me, Myself and Eye
Creative Commons License photo credit: A Silly Person
The proper interaction will go a long way to helping people get to know, like and trust you. As with any relationship, the initial contact takes on added importance.

Whenever you meet someone on a social network, make sure your first impression is a good one. One way to do that is to know the person to whom you are talking. You can do that by looking at their profile, their blog postings and comments they make.

For example, a few weeks ago, I was responding to folks who are following my Twitter stream. I usually go to their Twitter site, find something interesting and write them a direct message about it. I don’t spend a lot of time on this, because I’d rather interact with people on my blog. But I know that taking this step sets me apart from all those who use automated programs to send a message to people who follow them.

While on one fellow’s site, I noticed a Tweet saying that he was going to a funeral. I sent him a message telling him I was sorry for his loss. I left off the link to my web site that I usually include on similar messages.

A couple of days later he sent me a message thanking me and saying that I was one of only a few who had expressed condolences. Others were just hyping their web sites, he said. Last week, he recommended me to his followers as someone to follow.

To me it was a no-brainer. If I met someone who told me he’d just lost his grandmother, I’d never say something like, “Let me tell you about my business opportunity.” That, in effect, is what happened to this fellow.

You also have to be careful that your efforts to build relationships don’t get so automated that it doesn’t do any good.

For example the other day I got a comment on my blog that said simply “its cool.” Now, I’ve gotten similar comments that were clearly spam, and this one might be. But I clicked on the person’s link. It’s a blog written in Spanish, but it looked legit. So, I approved the comment and replied, thanking the person for the encouragement.

The point is, I nearly rejected it without a second thought. Then I decided that for whatever reason, the person had taken the time to leave a comment, no matter how short, on my blog. That deserved enough of my time to check the link.

Keep in mind that you can’t form relationships with too many people. Most every day I get e-mails touting the wisdom of “building a list” in order to grow my network marketing business. Seems there’s numerous folks who think that having such a list is the ticket to success.

On the surface, there appears to be  wisdom to the strategy. After all, the more people on a list, the lower percentage of people you need to convince to join your team.

In other words if you want 10 new people on your team and have 1,000 on your list, that’s only 1 percent. If you have 100 on your list, you need 10 percent. Easier to get a 1 percent response than a 10 percent response, right?

Not necessarily.

List-building works great if all you need is a one-time customer. If a sale is what you want, the list-building strategy is a grand idea.

But network marketers need more than one-time customers. They’re seeking business partners.

The list-building strategy is a variation of the old “get a lot of no’s so you can get one yes” tactic. The main problem: it doesn’t work.

Network marketing is a relationship business. People join people they know, like and trust. If you have thousands of people on a list, there’s no way you can ever let them get to know you, but less like or trust you.

The relationship aspect of the business is the reason some trainers teach network marketers to make a list of their friends and family members. The thinking was that people who already know, like and trust you will be more likely to go into business with you.

Unfortunately, the profession was not up to the challenge. Presentations made the business sound much too easy. Broken promises of quick money led to hurt feelings.

Veteran network marketers soon came up with an acronym for their predicament — NFL, which stands for No Friends Left.

So, you can’t form close enough relationships with a lot of people in order for them to become business partners. And turning existing friends into business partners doesn’t work either.

What you need is a way to find potential business partners who will become your friends. You do that by genuinely interactioning with them. For that a list of dozens works better than a list of thousands.

2 Responses

  1. Gary McElwain


    This is a great lesson you have taught us here. Your strategy sounds effective and
    easy to follow. I look forward to reading more of your lessons behind relationship building, over list building.

    I get them emails too!

    Gary McElwain

  2. stevedevane

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the good words. And I, too, will take building relationships over building a list any day.

    I appreciate the comment.


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