Within the last few years, popular apps like Instagram and other social networking websites have taken over the way we consume and interact, both with brands, and other human beings. With hundreds of millions of daily users, these apps have added a convenience to networking with those who may not have always been accessible in the past. Instead of having to go to a special event to talk to someone you want to learn from, users can go to their Instagram page and interact with their mentors, or potential partners, directly from the comfort of their own homes.
However, while the sheer volume of active users creates an incredible opportunity for those on social media to reach new consumers and interact with like minded individuals with little to no boundaries, the wide array of accounts makes it difficult to set yourself apart from the crowd. With that being said, we pulled together eight of our best tips for crafting the perfect strategy when it comes to building out your networking efforts on social media. Doing these things every single day will ensure that you connect with the right people, and that you bring enough value to the table to stand out and field opportunities from those you interact with.
1. Create Interesting, Original Content
When it comes to Instagram, everything revolves around the content you are putting out into the world. With over 800 million daily users, you want to ensure that your brand or your page is worth following in an already oversaturated community. When you start to work on your networking, you also need to work on keeping your content valuable to those that you do make connections with. When you do this, you are more likely to have those who follow you share your content, and tag you in that content, which increases your engagement, and strengthens your relationships. This in turn allows for other accounts to find you, and as you start to gain more and more followers, you will be able to utilize those relationships and turn them into genuine opportunities.
2. Use Hashtags
While some people think hashtags are unsightly, they are a great tool to use when you are trying to get your content seen by those who aren’t already in your circle. This is because a lot of brands and individuals looking to discover new and interesting accounts, and people to network with, will often search relevant hashtags and look at the top photos, and the content within those hashtags. This is a huge catalyst for discovery, and you want to ensure that your photos are showing up in the kinds of hashtags that relate to your interests and your content because those show similar accounts that you are within the same community as them.
On the other hand, as someone who wants to strengthen their relationships on Instagram, you yourself should be looking up hashtags that relate to your brand, or your goals. Search popular hashtags related to brands you want to work with, or accounts that are similar to yours, and engage with that content and those people. If you find an account that has the same kind of social presence as you, interact with their content, look at what brands follow them and try to further network with those brands, etc.
3. Utilize The Explore Page
The explore page is simple — it is based on engagement, and relativity. Highly engaged photos that Instagram deems “similar” or “of use” to you and your brand or feed, are going to show up here. By looking through your explore page, you are being introduced to a plethora of accounts you should network with, and the guesswork is taken out of the process because you already know they are niche and tailored to what you yourself are doing.
4. Engage With Other People’s Content
Networking isn’t just about creating highly engaged content and expecting others to bring opportunities your way. Instead, on top of creating content that is relatable and valuable, you should interact with the content you are seeing on your feed, and the content you are seeing on the explore page. By helping other accounts to increase their engagement, and by showing that you are a dedicated follower, you stand out as a trustworthy person and others will want to help you achieve your Instagram goals as well. By supporting others, you will be supported.
5. Share And Shoutout Like Minded Accounts
Building on the trust aspect of networking, one of the best things you can do to create a strong relationship with someone you are trying to keep in your community, is to share their content. If you follow accounts that have has a positive impact on you, or if you are personally loving the way someone’s feed looks — speak that into existence. Celebrate those who are doing well on Instagram, let them know that you appreciate them and like what they are doing. They will most likely be notified of this, and when they see that you are helping to spread their message or increase their engagement, they will likely follow you back because you have similar content. This will then allow you to strengthen the relationship, and create respect surrounding your account, which will stand out when you reach out to collaborate with these people in a more professional way.
6. Slide Into Those DMs
When you build a reputation amongst like minded individuals and brands that you feel have helped for you to create a strong network on Instagram, you should absolutely reach out to those accounts or brands through DM. Start a conversation, get to know the people you are following, and humanize yourself.
However, ensure that you have crafted your DM well, because a generic message isn’t going to get you very far with accounts that are most likely receiving hundreds of messages a day. Know your audience, and know your approach. If you are reaching out to an influencer that interacts with their audience in a very laissez-faire way, you should absolutely reach out in a genuine way that shows your personality. However, if you are hoping to network with a brand or an entrepreneur, and you want to ensure that you leave a lasting impression, you should mention things of value. Telling a brand that their Instagram stories have helped you through tough days, and that you’d love to work with them to craft more incredible content — that stands out in a tremendous way. Writing about what you have learned from an entrepreneur’s posts and asking to go for coffee is also a green flag because it shows that you are dedicated to more than just getting their contacts — you are genuinely trying to create a connection that holds value, and that is always appreciated.
7.Send A Well Researched Email
If you’re weary of sending a DM, take all of the advice we mentioned above and craft the perfect email. A lot of business accounts have their business emails listed on their profiles, and this is meant for you to use. Make sure that your subject line is clear and concise, and ensure that the content in your email is both well researched, and genuine.
8. Find The Person On Other Social Networks
Last but not least, if you feel like you have created a good working relationship with someone on Instagram, make sure to take these tips to other social media networks. By doing this, you are further reiterating that you are building a connection with them, and that you would like to stay in touch, and it gives them a chance to get to know you better as well because they will engage with your content on various networks.