Establishing and maintaining relationships online with your tribe is key to a successful brand. But what about connecting with other personal brands? Social media networking presents a HUGE opportunity for you to connect with other brands with similar interests and goals! By connecting with like-minded brands, you can build a network of peers with whom to share ideas, collaborate, and show support for one another.
But now that you have these online friends, why don’t you take it one step further and make your connection stronger than they could be online? Social media connections are fabulous (obviously), and we as brands are so lucky to be able to use the online world to promote our brands. But imagine for one moment what you could accomplish if you were to meet some of your favorite brands in person and created a squad of brands for brainstorming sessions, for advice, and for help promoting each other’s brands.
The problem is, most brands become so comfortable on social media that they forget that bridging between social media connections and in-person networking is even possible!
Not sure where to start? I got your back.
Find the Right Brands to Connect With
In my recent blog, How to Target Followers that Would Love to Follow You if They Only Knew About You, I wrote about how to find followers by searching for accounts that are a match your target audience. Well, now that you’ve built a base of followers, it’s time to do this same thing but backward; instead of using accounts to search for related followers, use your followers to search for related accounts.
Pick out some of your top followers, and go onto their page. Once you’re there, you’ll see how many people they follow. Click on that number to see their followers, and scroll through them, searching for brands that are similar to yours. When you find brands that look like they have similar target audiences and goals as you do, you may have found your new brand soulmate.
But, just like in real life, don’t just say yes to the first ‘soulmate’ that passes you! Take the time to get to know each of these potential partners in helping your brand reach the mountaintops. While it’s important to match your brand to another whose audience is similar to yours, its also just as important to make sure you can vibe with them! So get personal: Are they a chips + pretzels person or a chocolate + sweets person? Do share your undying love for avocados? Are they cool enough to get your jokes? Grab a notebook from your kid’s stash of school supplies and start jotting down the personal brands that you could picture yourself collaborating with.
Before You Swipe Right…
As anyone who has ever used online dating can attest, sometimes everything looks great on paper, but not so much in person. Once you’ve found some brands you think you might want to work with, start reading through their content and getting to know their voice.
Check out their website, other social media platforms, and blogs to get to know them better before you reach out. Try to learn as much as you can about them to find out if your brand is a match made in heaven.
Get to Work!
So you’ve found your target brands and have an idea of who you could be BFFs with. Now its time to get to work! Just like any relationship, start with the baby steps first. Follow them and explore the tactics they use to build their brand. How do they caption their photos? Are they asking questions of their audience in their posts? Are they engaging their audience using Instagram stories and extra features like polls? Get a feel for what its like to be a member of their tribe. Like their posts, comment on their content, and encourage reciprocation! Once you’re set on your branding soulmate, reach out to them privately through direct message and ask them to check out your brand to see if they think you’d make a perfect match for collaborations.
Pro Tip: Connecting on just one social network isn’t always enough! A good way to connect with and make yourself visible to someone is to jump from social network to social network in a single interaction. For example, let’s say your target brand shares something on Instagram. Use your Facebook page to promote or thank them for that post.
Building a Successful Relationship
Now that you’re connected and on each other’s radars, it’s time to start building a successful and meaningful relationship for both of your brands. If the goal is to foster a deeper relationship than your average social media follower, you need to do more than just share each other’s content; this friendship needs to be personal!
Let’s say for example they post a blog about protecting loved ones when opening up a personal brand. Send them a direct or private message expressing how much you enjoyed the article and how your story relates to it. If that article really helped you find ways to avoid revealing private information online, shoot them a message letting them know how they helped secure your family’s safety. Start the conversation and see where it goes. Making friends can be scary – whether online or in real life – so take a deep breath, take it one step at a time, and start a conversation. You never know where an enchanting friendship can take you.
Meet Up and Let The Creative Juices Flow
Bridge the social media gap between you two and meet up at a local coffee shop, restaurant, bowling alley – you name it. And it doesn’t just have to be the two of you! Nothing is better than getting together with a group of dedicated personal brands so each of you can pinball your ideas off of each other. How do I know? Like I’ve said, I’ve been there.
When I first met up with some fellow personal brands, I had the time of my life! Myself and six other fabulous women who’ve run their own personal brands met for a wonderful dinner hosted by a local restaurant. Each of us did our own thing; some were influencers, others were bloggers and business owners (shoutout to these talented ladies: Shaina, Melanie, Michelle, Cristy, Paulina, and Michele). We found each other on Instagram, but our friendships have grown enormously since then. From a simple direct message, we all got together for a free (yes, I said free) dinner paid for by the restaurant, Farmer’s Table!
Pro Tip: If you can (virtually) bring your audiences to a restaurant or local business, they will love you forever and return the favor by throwing in a little somethin’ somethin’ for free.
From that single meeting, each of us brought our respective audiences to each other and we learned about how best to advance our brands and give our audiences what they’re looking for. And the best part is: it was seamless. All I did was have a nice dinner with some good friends, but what stemmed from that dinner was much more valuable than I could’ve imagined.
Share Your Experience with Your Tribe
In the days leading up to and the weeks after your in-real-life meetup, make sure to keep your tribe in the loop! Post or vlog about how excited you are to meet up with your new squad, and don’t forget to tag your new friends in your posts!
You’ll want to share your experience and give teasers about what went down and what they can expect to see in the future. Even if you still want to keep your new ideas under wraps, share that you had a great time and learned a lot, or that you’re preparing for some exciting surprises in the future. Just recently Amy Porterfield, Rachel Hollis, and Jenna Kutcher (all who met on IG) got together for a weekend in the woods. Three POWERHOUSE women on the social scene, connected, supported, and met up for a getaway. Not just that, they shared it with us, their followers. As someone who follows all three, watching them do a 3-person IG live… I think I died from social media girl power overload. I LOVED it!
Pro Tip: If you prefer to talk, do a LIVE! If you’re a lover of the written word, then blog about your experience! But don’t stop there. If you’re a real pro, you’ll link your blog to the other brands that you’re meeting up with! This simple action will build your domain authority among search engines and link other audiences back to your website.
Keep Your Friendship Strong
Remember, you and your branding squad are friends ‘till the end. Don’t let your connection stop after your initial meeting! Keep up the relationship, plan future collaborations, go to conferences together, and introduce each other to other collaborators! Keep the connection strong to stay relevant, meet new people, and make sure your brand never stops growing.
The power of social media is intensely strong, but the power of true friendship is no match. Let this be your push out of your comfort zone. If you truly want to expand your brand’s reach, then social networking is the answer you’ve been looking for.
Have more ideas on how to expand your social network? I’d love to hear them! Leave me a comment or send me a message so we can chat! Maybe I’ll even have the pleasure of adding you to my personal social network one day.
To new friends and lasting social friendships,