Using Twitter Search
1. Use FlashTweet (http://flashtweet.com/) to find people talking about your topic (use the keyword "wine" if you sell wine, "link building" if you offer link building services, etc.) FlashTweet has a great video that explains how to use their service.
2. Follow the people you find (FlashTweet can auto-follow all these people for you).
3. Unfollow people who don't follow you back within 2 weeks (again, FlashTweet can do this automatically for you).
4. Voilá! Now every time you tweet about a new wine you have, 1000s of wine enthusiasts will be reading your news! (I hope you realize the potential of reaching thousands of highly-targeted potential customers for free.)
5. If you're only interested in wine enthusiasts in your city, FlashTweet allows you to find Twitter users in any given location.
Using the "I'm An Expert Too!" Tactic on Twitter
1. Find on Twitter the authorities in your market. For example, if you sell wine, find the most recognized wine critics, sommeliers, wine blogs and websites.
2. Find out who's following them and follow those people.
3. They'll follow you back. Un-follow those who don't.
4. Now, all the people who were following the wine experts are also following you. Knock their socks off with great content.
5. FlashTweet can automatically do all this for you.
Finding People that Share the Same Interests on Facebook
1. Go to Facebook groups.
2. Search for your keyword:
3. Join relevant groups:
4. Go to the Wall and invite the most active users (the ones that post messages) to become friends with you.
5. Don't forget to include a personalized message. For example, if I were to add Ron Clive (from the screenshot above) as a friend, I'd say "Hey Ron, I loved your quote about wine, women and singing! I gave up singing a long time ago! I was looking to get in touch with other wine fans. Have a great day!"
6. Now, every time you post a wine article to your profile, your "wine" friends will see it in their timelines.
Getting LinkedIn Connections
LinkedIn is a lot better for B2B than it is for B2C. If you sell to consumers, you can still find some very valuable contacts here, but if you sell to businesses the potential is much greater.
Here's a search for the keyword "wine lover" (187 results):
Here's a search for "restaurant owner" (966 results):
You can also try "restaurant manager" (12,380 results).
People don't fill out their LinkedIn profiles with as much personal info as they do with their Facebook profiles, so you're not very likely to get a lot of search results when you enter a hobby (like "wine lover") as the keyword instead of a job position (like "restaurant manager").
If you're getting too many results and want to filter them, try LinkedIn's Advanced Search (http://www.linkedin.com/search). It rocks.
Use LinkedIn Groups
1. Go to LinkedIn Groups (http://www.linkedin.com/groupsDirectory).
2. Use the search feature (use broad keywords; if you get too specific you won't get accurate results).
3. Join the groups that look appealing to you. Most groups require membership approval, so just apply and wait.
4. Go to the Discussions tab and start connecting with the most active members of each group:
The Most Important Secret of Growing a Successful Network
It's about QUALITY of relationships, not quantity. Add no more than 10 LinkedIn connections, 20 Facebook friends and 50 Twitter followers per day. But, make sure you start a conversation with all of them. Don't just add people to your lists. Take the time to say hi and make a comment about their profiles. Show them that you took the time to learn who they are.
Create Your Own Group
If you have the energy for it, you can create your own community. If you sell wine to restaurants, don't call the group John Winery Inc. or you'll turn people off. Call it Restaurant Owners Networking Group, provide great content for restaurant owners (don't just talk about your wine) and invite restaurant owners and managers to join.
These are some platforms to host a community:
* Facebook Groups (http://www.facebook.com/groups.php): very easy to set up and great for B2C markets.
* LinkedIn Groups (http://www.linkedin.com/createGroup?displayCreate=&trk=anet_creategrp): easy to set up and great for B2B markets.
* Ning (http://www.ning.com/): a little bit harder to set up but not too complicated either. This is great if you don't want your social network to depend on LinkedIn or Facebook.
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