Social Media Networking for the Shy Business Owner
Many business owners can be introverts by nature, much preferring to work behind the scenes rather than be a social butterfly.
Twitter is often considered as the preferred platform for the introverted business owner. Let’s face it, coming up with a message no longer than 140 characters to the uninitiated can look easy when compared to writing out an engaging and lengthy blog post, or crafting a post for Facebook and taking a photograph to go with it. Doesn’t it?
But have you ever asked yourself how you can communicate anything sophisticated in 140 characters?
Leaving the comfort zone
This may be difficult to hear, but if you are not too good at communications, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Social media is all about finding people to connect with, and to form trusting relationships with.
Many managers will spend ages agonising about what to say, and who they will be talking to. But social media is just like one huge ongoing networking event – you will not know everyone there, or even like most of the people attending, but you will find some kindred spirits in the crowd, and will probably end up in the metaphorical kitchen talking quietly with them away from all the noise.
The added benefit of using social media rather than attending live networking events, is that you are still able to hide behind your screen somewhat rather than have to talk face-to-face with a stranger. Having a conversation with someone from your own industry through Facebook or Twitter can actually be a lot of fun, and you can accomplish what you set out to do in a lot less time.
Building on familiar ground
Because you are talking with people from your own business niche or industry, you will already have a lot of common ground to build on. Using your screen to communicate can help to remove that first meeting awkwardness you always have to overcome at live events.
Contrary to common belief, you do not need to be an extrovert with an ‘in your face’ attitude to build solid relationships. In fact, introverts can have an advantage here.
Networking is as much about building loyalty and solid bonds with existing connections as it is about meeting new faces. Many extroverts love to meet and dazzle new people, but will often struggle maintaining a connection once it is made.
Keeping the communication channels open
An introverted business owner will quite happily revisit established friendships and keep up communications with familiar people. This sort of action really helps to build loyalty and reliability within your network, and using social media to regularly check in with your contacts is a simple yet effective way to maintain and nurture those bonds.
Another advantage about being an introvert using social media is that introverts are usually great listeners. Allowing your contacts to talk, and responding with genuinely helpful comments really shows you have respect for them. Your contacts will really value your ear, and will more than likely seek out your advice or guidance when in need.
Listening is a powerful tool
You really can use your natural shyness to your best advantage while on social media. Your ability to listen more closely will enable you to pick up more information that others may miss. Paying attention to your contacts Twitter feed and responding accordingly is better for relationship building. Being active on Twitter is not about being the one who shouts the loudest.
The ability that social media gives you to speak to the masses, or to one single person is amazing. You can cast your message far and wide, then reel in your interested parties for further conversation. But having the ability to then block out the noise and focus on one person will mean you can get down to business without them sensing how nervous you are, or how many beads of sweat you have on your brow.
Being a introvert means that you don’t have favourites
When you are attending a live networking event, many people will automatically gather to the brightest light in the room, which is often the most extrovert, loud and engaging person there. But how many people will that extrovert actually remember in any great detail after the event?
Being naturally shy, at the event you would be more inclined to single out a person you can relate to, focus entirely on them, and build a relationship that matters to you both. Following up with them on Facebook or LinkedIn after the event will be much easier because you already know them so well.
Each relationship you build is just as important as the next, that is why you don’t have favourites within your network. You cherish each contact equally. Shyness can have hidden strengths, so take some time to appreciate the benefits your shyness can bring to your own business.