A LOT of people I meet are keen to know how to increase the size of their social networks and database. Whilst I have covered the traditional means in other blog posts, I thought I would write about some of the more alternative ways that you can build your networks and database that you may not have thought of. All of these things I do on a daily basis so I am constantly chipping away at the size of my social network and database.
1. Install Rapportive on your Gmail - You've heard me go on about how much I love gmail in previous blog posts. If you've made the switch to Gmail, you can also enjoy Rapportive, a cool app that will display the social networks of anyone who is emailing you. It will display the networks they are on, whether you are already connected or not, and their latest tweets, or messages on LinkedIn and Facebook posts. Using this tool, you can see if there is an obvious or potential business with that person. Build your networks by simply following them on the social network or networks you wish to be connect to them on.
2. Gmail contacts - Another great technique for growing your database contacts is to use Gmail contacts. If you go to the top left and you go to where it says Gmail, you can drop down and change the view to contacts or tasks. Gmail is clever enough to record the email address and any contact details of anyone that you have ever emailed from via your Gmail account. You may have a store of contacts here that you did not know that you had! It is a good idea to go through this list and invite any of those who you may deem relevant to join your database as a way of growing it. Chances are if you have had some business interaction with them, they may have some interest of keeping in contact with you, but like anything it is important to give them a compelling reason to do so.
3. People you might know on LinkedIn - As you get the hang of LinkedIn (if you need help, check out our list of upcoming workshops here), and connect to some people, LinkedIn will start to make suggestions to help you out. Each time you log on to LinkedIn, take a moment to look at the suggestions LinkedIn provides, and if you see any valuable connections, request a connection. Commit to logging into LinkedIn at least once a day, and connecting to just a handful, and before you know it you will have an extremely powerful list of connections in this social network.
4. Invite friends to your Facebook page - In order to have a Facebook business page, you first need to have a Facebook profile and then become an admin on the business page. You can have more than one admin at varying levels of administrations roles for any given business page. Once you or others are admin on a business page, it is a good idea to invite friends you think might be interested in the business page. To do this, go to the right top hand corner and drop down the 'Build an Audience' tab. From here select 'invite friends' or 'invite email contacts. Then either add friends who are already on Facebook that you think would be interested, or shoot them an email. There is not a lot of point in getting people to like your page, unless you believe that they would be really interested in your business. I encourage you only here to invite your friends that will enhance and help your business page grow.
5. Growing your Twitter follows - Another great technique to grow your social networks is a technique called 'legitimate lifting' as dubbed by our Social Media specialist Zoe Wyatt.
Twitter is the most open of all the social networks and it is very easy to tap into other people's contacts and follow them in the hope they will follow you back.
I tend to follow influential people that have followers who I think might also like to follow me or I will click on influential people and click on the lists they have created and lift relevant contacts from there. I gave more information on a twitter lists blog post here.
You will find if you can commit to following just a handful of followers each day you should have lots of follow backs, and are able to grow twitter quickly and easily. It is worth noting that after you reach 2000 contacts, you cannot follow more contacts without retaining a 10% follow ratio.
6. Grow your database through all marketing - Last but certainly not least is a reminder that you should seek to grow your database by mentioning it on every type of marketing you do. On your website, you should have 'join our database' placed on every page ideally so that person has the option to opt in. On your email signature feature an incentive and a link to join your database. Also consider adding it to your business card, flyers and more.
The more people you have on your database, the more valuable your business will be, and these days the greater your social networks the greater value your business will have also.
I encourage you to commit to using some of these techniques outlined above as daily practice and to let me know how you go with them.
I would also love to hear if you have any other techniques that are not so well known that others can use - please add to the comments below.
By Yvette Adams, director of The Creative Collective.