Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The rise of social media has fundamentally changed the way we personally connect with each other. What used to be done over a landline or in-person is now behind a screen of a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. These days, we have social interactions and relationships with people we’ve never met in person. And with friends, our relationship has been diluted to one built on the basis of likes and comments.

That isn’t to say that we still don’t use social media to build a personal connections. In fact, its adaptation is strategic in building personal connection. It’s so common to say, “I noticed that you went to Peru. How was it?” i In the most non-stalkerish way as possible. It’s the new normal to bring up what you see on social media. This is what starts conversations to connect with someone on a personal level.

What’s more, is that social media can interactively facilitate participation and engagement from your audience. Features like Facebook Live, IGTV, and more, make it possible for your audience to be part of the conversation. These developments on social media help marketers establish a personal connection on channels that are arguably the most impersonal.

The value of social media to businesses

For businesses, tapping into the potential of social media can prove to be an important market resource. But what makes social media different from other marketing resources is that it requires a personal connection to be effective. This provides value to your audience and encourages participation.

Social media should provide value

Social media has gained a reputation for endless promotion and propaganda by companies. If your audience feels this is the case, chances are you are not connecting with them how you want. Instead, make your content seem less like a marketing ploy and something more organic in a way that brings more value to your followers.

Instagram provides a great medium for businesses to provide live streaming in real-time while allowing viewers to take part in a conversation. Consumers now have unprecedented access to the company, organization, or entrepreneur. Viewers are able to see user questions and opinions are important wherein the viewers gain a sense of familiarity with the speaker.

Another channel that provides value to its audience is Twitter. This social media platform is among the easiest to engage your audience with. There are a variety of strategies to increase engagement, including hashtag campaigns, retweeting users who mention relevant topics, and specifically tweeting to people who are discussing something relevant to your brand.

Twitter is unique in that it’s essentially a worldwide chat room where anyone can participate in a conversation. Incentivize your customers even further to join your conversation by providing them with relevant offers.

Facilitate participation with social media

Other than providing value to your customers, you want to encourage them to participate in the conversation through their own social networks. This includes a variety of ways such as sharing information with their personal network, participating in surveys, or entering contests. Most people initially discover a business by way of their website or blog. To build personal connection, offer users something of value if they join an email list, put social media sharing buttons on images and at the end of posts, and social login options. This creates a sense of authenticity and personalization.

Once a company has information about its users, they are able to easily facilitate participation with those users. One such way is monitoring email interest and data collected from a variety of data points. Tracking social media shares and follows are done in a similar way, as can the number of referred users from those sites. Make it easy for visitors to engage and share your content and then collect the data to discover how well it is working.

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

The value social media brings to your personal life

While social media has a significant impact on personal connection for businesses, the same principles carry into your personal life. You can use your personal social media to build personal connections with your circle by first and foremost providing value. Gone are the days of random status updates.

Post relevant content to your friends and followers such as articles or photos you want to share. This works especially well if you have a lot of distant family members in your network and want to keep them updated. Articles and other shares are good content to show your interests, values, and more.

The same applies with facilitating participation. Use your social media to be a part of the conversation on topics that interest you. For instance, if technology is one of your interests, sharing an article on that topic to your LinkedIn or Twitter is a great way to show your followers that the topic interests you. It’s even better if you share a comment with the article that shares your point of view. This demonstrates an element of thought leadership and that you have your own opinions on the topic.

Social media is only daunting if we allow it to be. When used smartly and strategically, it has a profound effect on how we can personally connect with our audiences. And these principles aren’t just for businesses; they can translate to your personal social media as well.

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