Build an audience by keeping it real

Are your followers real, engaging people or a lot of robots that make your numbers look good?

“People do business with people they know, like and trust. Starting conversations on Twitter can lead to virtual coffee chats and in-person meetings. This can help build rapport, trust and grow your business.” Alissa Carpenter, a millennial workforce expert.

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Establish rapport with your audience by being available and engaging. Become a valuable source by listening to their needs and offering valuable solutions.

“Being social on social media is key,” Carpenter said. “Engage and share their content. Provide opportunities for conversation on things you’re working on or interested in exploring. Share articles and information your audience is interested in learning about.”

The easiest way to create authentic relationships with your audience is when you see something, say something — to them. Don’t sit back and wait for your audience to come to you. Reach out to them.

“To create an authentic relationship, you have to be authentic,” she said. “I am a firm believer in being honest, open and real about where I am in my journey — not of the ‘fake it till you make it’ mindset. Also spend time engaging and sharing your audience’s content. We can learn so much from each other. Creating the space to help them grow their audience and message is important."

Don’t forget to take connections offline to continue building authentic relationships. Plan with a few of your Twitter friends to meet on a social road trip. You’ll be surprised how many people are available. Meeting in person adds depth to relationships.

There are fails when nurturing online relationships. Lack of follow-up or abandonment is a big fault online or off. Social media is not a one-night stand.

“It really isn’t,” Carpenter said. “It’s about building that relationship and connection over time — virtual or in person. If someone hasn’t gotten back to you, give them time and then reach out again. Be persistent but not insistent.

“Stop selling, and really nurture and build the relationship,” she said. “If we haven’t ‘met’ on Twitter, please don’t try to sell me your business or product. Let’s talk first, then go from there. Relationships come first, business might be second.”