Social media cuts down walls and increases your ability to become a relationship-building all star.
But, social media shouldn’t be used to actually send a pitch (and if you can send a pitch in 140 characters, more power to you!) or for one-time communication. Rather, social media should be used to help get your foot in the door and get to know a contact on a more personal level. From there, you can use social media to manage and maintain relationships with your outreach contacts.
While there are now countless social networks to choose from, Twitter and LinkedIn remain two of the best for connecting with people you don’t know personally. In this post, we’ll show you how to successfully leverage these networks to build a relationship with a publisher.
Building Relationships on Twitter
Using Twitter, you can share an author’s content in a way that will get you on their radar.
All Tweets Are Not Created Equal
Tweeting a link to an article is a seal of approval that you value an author’s work enough to share it with your community. But, simply tweeting a link isn’t enough…
Don’t be another bot.
It takes two careless seconds to retweet an article. It takes 15 seconds to pull your favorite quote out of the article, and tweet that. It takes less than a minute to create genuine feedback using 140 characters.
Pretend you’re me, the author. As the author, which tweet would get your attention?
- RT @KelseyLibert: [Title] [url]
- “[Pull quote]” [url] by @KelseyLibert
- Great tips by @KelseyLibert My favorite is [insert your favorite tip] found [url] (<– I hope you chose this one…I did.)
The more time you take crafting a tweet, the more it shows your personality. You have a personality – so use it.
8 Tips for Crafting Tweets that Get a Response
- Give Credit @Author. Tweet the article, but give credit to the author, not the publication.
- Be Opinionated. Append you opinion to the article that you’re tweeting.
- Show Appreciation. Say how much you loved the article, and why.
- Pull Quotes. Instead of tweeting the article title, pull your favorite quote from that article.
- Pull Tips. Tips are not necessarily quotes…tips are actionable.
- Provide a Counter Point. But tread carefully. If you disagree with something the author said, you could be jeopardizing a relationship.
- Be Recent. Pick something that was written within the last month.
- Be Relevant. Tweet an article that relates to your pitch, if possible.
Tweets That Get Ignored
The more popular the author, the more difficult it will be to get their attention. Keep in mind the following tweets will probably yield a low response rate…
- Tweeting an article that someone wrote over a year ago.
- Tweeting an article and providing credit to the publication, not the author.
- Retweeting a well-known author and not including your genuine input.
Managing Twitter Relationships
Have you ever left Twitter up, to come back a minute later to see you need to refresh for 52 new tweets? #headdesk
No one has time to sit and watch their Twitter streams flood with noise (and if you do, let me know your secret). In order to keep up with editors and publishers, focus your Twitter stream by creating lists.
Custom lists I love using include:
- Placed Content. Great for keeping in touch with editors that have previously published your content.
- Top Tier Contacts. Group all of your top-tier publishers and editors who are on Twitter.
- Publishers by Vertical. Group editors and publishers by the vertical they write for the most.
Depending on the amount of outreach you do, you can further segment your groups. Be careful, too many lists is just as overwhelming as not having any lists.
Another key point: always create private lists, never public lists. People you add to private lists will be unaware they’re on your list and only you will have access to the list.
Building Relationships on LinkedIn
Use LinkedIn as a place to get to know your contact’s professional ambitions and their role within the publication.
The first thing you want to do is find out who is in charge. If you’re doing outreach to get content placed, the people you want to find are editors and publishers.
Do a “Company” search for the publication on LinkedIn. Next, narrow down your options within the left side column. Under the “Industry” select “Writing and Editing.”
Now examine the profiles that showed up in the above results. You should be looking for:
- If that person presently works with the publication you’re trying to get placement with.
- How many years of experience that person has in this industry. In other words, how many years they’ve been turning down bad pitches, and how well you will have to tailor your pitch. This will also give some insight on their seniority level.
- If that person has a private blog. This may may tell you more about their personality, past experience or life endeavors. This knowledge helps you relate to the blogger.
- Group memberships or interests they may have.
Looking at someone’s profile means you will also show up here:
Which in turn, could cause that person to look into who you are…
Optimize Your Profile
Make sure your profile is complete and gives an overview of who you are. Include links to your own blog, your company’s blog, and your Twitter account. Also make sure your current job description is up to date and accurate.
Making your profile transparent allows your contact to learn about you and make it easier to engage in a conversation. Adjust your public profile settings so even non-connections can view enough about you to get a good feel for who you are and why you’d be reaching out.
Tips for Reaching Out
If you’re lucky, your contact will be using apps within their profile like TripIt or LinkedIn events. Use these to determine the best windows for reaching out based on when they’ll be out of town or attending an event.
When you DO send a message, it needs to be very personal to stand out from the typical spam people receive on LinkedIn. Remember, you’re not going to actually pitch someone through a social network, but a LinkedIn message can be used for an introduction that can lead to you getting their email address.
In the example below, I saw via Twitter my contact would be out of town so I mentioned that in a message I sent on LinkedIn. This attention to detail is often appreciated by the recipient, adds a personal touch, and also helped me figure out when he’d be available.
Twitter and LinkedIn are the two best networks for getting in direct contact with editors and publishers. Since social media is plugged into our smartphones, laptops, emails and more, these networks serve as a platform for 24/7 access. Use it, don’t abuse it.
Rand Fishkin had a great point in a recent SEOmoz whiteboard Friday, “[On social media] I highly recommend a minimum of four weeks of interaction with your [guest post] target, before you send them the request. Let them know that you’re a real person, you know who they are, you’ve researched them, you’ve been in touch.”
Your goal is to develop a long lasting relationship, so be personal, interested, and genuine.
What networks do you find are the most successful at relationship building? Are there certain ways you reach out? Share your tips in our comments below!