Why You and Your Team Should Build Relationships Through Social Media

BY C. Lee Smith
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Is it time to refresh your management style? Maybe so — especially if you rose in your company’s ranks a while ago. Touching base with employees during a weekly one-​on-​one meeting is fine. But, your availability and outreach should be much broader. Have you considered using social media to strengthen your relationship with team members?

Lea Woodford, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of SmartFem​.com and SmartFem TV, in her recent Manage Smarter podcast with us, touts social media as the must-​use tool for managers. In addition, Woodford says sales managers should be coaching their reps to effectively use social media for cold calling.

Sales Reps and Social Media

One way your reps can use social media is to review the profiles of potential new prospects. In just a few minutes, your reps can determine what they might have in common with a prospect. LinkedIn pages usually mention where professionals went to college and which associations they belong to. Those little details can open the door to establishing a relationship.

However, those details shouldn’t form the basis for the entire relationship. Train your reps to dig deeper. They should read the articles the prospect has written or is sharing with others. Often, this information is key to the type of business they’re in and the opinions they hold.

Encourage your reps to make contact through social media by offering something of value. Perhaps they’ll send a link to an interesting article or they might praise something the contact’s business has done. Only after that, should your reps start promoting what they want to sell to the prospect.

Managers and Social Media

Managers should also follow this advice when it comes to their own social media use. First, remember to separate your personal from your professional presence. Then, says Woodford, present a consistent brand image to employees. Make sure the values you emphasize in the office and during meetings are reflected on your social pages.

You can build relationships, especially with younger team members, by reacting when they reach out through social media. If they share something you’ve written, look for ways to return the favor, as long as the subject matter fits with your values. And be prepared to use other tools with your younger team members. They’re tech and digital natives. Whether they are working down the hall or across the country, communicate with them through messaging apps and chat tools.

Take the time to show you’ve noticed what they’re doing. This kind of positive reinforcement goes far beyond the weekly one-​on-​one meeting in terms of building relationships and loyalty.