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How To Make Meaningful Connections on Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with people all across the world who are just like you!

Interacting on social media is second nature for most of us these days. But what if you want more from your social media? How do you make friends online?

In our bi-weekly Twitter chat #G20Chat on August 3rd, we invited our friends from The Niche Movement to come chat about making meaningful connections on social media.

Our community joined in to share their thoughts on how to make meaningful connections on social media.

What are the best social networks to find and initiate meaningful connections on? Why?

Authenticity is key:

“We say, pick the platform that allows you to best reflect who YOU are! Connections are most meaningful when they are real.” @nichemovement

“I think any platform can assist with meaningful connections depending on how you use it!”

Why the #G20Chat community loves Twitter:

“I personally love using Twitter to connect with others. It’s easy to engage in chats like this one!” @JoelKaskinen

“For me, Twitter has been the best social network to establish connections because I’ve met so many like-minded people!” @rachaeltulipano

“Twitter is the best choice IMO because it’s acceptable to connect with people you don’t know and I initiate conversation.” @RLMiller4_92

“I would say Facebook or Twitter. Through Facebook Groups and having conversations on Twitter you can make great connections!” @happyarkansan

“As a blogger I would say Twitter rules for building relationships. Snapchat gives you chance to show personality. ” @focusonyou_

“Honestly I think Twitter! It’s one of few where you can interact w/o being direct friends / connected. Easier to initiate convos.” @amanda_koslow

 “Twitter. People who actively tweet tend to be the kinds of people looking to converse.” @VinceSkolny

“I’ll admit it as someone who is shy: using social helps while helping to build context with new/existing relationships.” @koco83

“I connected to 2 jobs via @twitter – it’s how I found@CheckImHere & @reubenpressman!”@kayleyrobsham

What are some ways to find “your people” on Twitter?

1. Use hashtags to find people who are tweeting about what you’re interested in.

“Utilizing hashtags on Twitter is essential to networking. I follow lots of writing hashtags that have bridged me to others.” @rachaeltulipano

“Using hashtags to find people like you, seeing who follows accounts like yours, and attending awesome Twitter chats!” @happyarkansan

“I commonly search a topic or an event that I’m interested in then connect with others tweeting about it.” @JoelKaskinen

Hashtag Tip #1: Limit your hashtag use to 2-3 hashtags per tweet. 

Hashtag Tip #2: You don’t have to hashtag every word, just by searching on Twitter, tweets with the words you are searching for will appear in the search results.

2. See who is following whom.

  • Look who is following the people you follow.
  • Look at who your followers are also following.
  • Look at what links your followers are tweeting.
  • “I’ve also noticed that the recommendations to follow on my new friend’s profiles are super helping for connecting with others!” @amanda_koslow

3. Join in Twitter chats.

“Chats, in particular, are a great place to turn strangers into tweeps. Watch who your tweeps are tweeting with and what chats they participate in, then jump in.” @VinceSkolny

“Facilitated convos like this. They’re the best for communicating, making new friends, sharing ideas, and gaining support.” @amanda_koslow

“Keep it simple..populate Twitter chats that align with your interests and simply be social!” @BPucino

“Twitter chats helped me discover true business homies. I branched out from there.” @focusedonyou_

“I keep weekly Twitter chat as standing meeting on my work calendar. Allows me to easily jump into convo, if available.” @briannemcd

New to Twitter chats? Read The Complete Guide To Participating In Twitter Chats.

4. Promote authentic connections between others.

“Also, look for every opportunity to connect your own like-minded tweeps. Connectors get connected.” @VinceSkolny

5. Use lists to organize your Twitter connections.

6. Use Twitter for research.

“I use Twitter to explore new topics and get industry news/info. I also love lurking in conference back channels.” @briannemcd

7. Encourage connection on other platforms with a pinned tweet.

“I added a pinned post to my Twitter page to help drive new professional contacts my LinkedIn. And I can see who is viewing!” @briannemcd

What are some ways to find “your people” on Instagram that you’d like to connect with?

1. Use hashtags.

“Hashtags again, I love using them on my pictures, and interacting with them. Also seeing who comments on photos you like.” @happyarkansan

“Instagram’s use of hashtags can help but also when you like certain posts, it suggests posts/people that are similar.” @RLMiller4_92

“Again Instagram hashtag culture is king – but don’t autobot or spam it. If you’re going to comment or heart, do it as a human.Also don’t go in for kill/ask. Follow them, comment on irrelevant content, say ‘hi,’ then see if you can email or message them.” @nichemovement

Hashtag Tip #1: “Instagram has a related hashtag feature. Click on hashtag and at the top of your screen you will see related hashtags.

2. Look for people who post what you want to see.

“Instagram is great for capturing behind the scenes of a business. Try searching for others by seeing who your followers follow.” @rachaeltulipano

“I see what other pictures people “like” under the ‘following’ tab!” @kayleyrobsham

3. Encourage your account to grow.

1. It can be hard to build a following on Instagram if your brand isn’t that visual. If you want to grow, assess what types of posts get the most engagement via likes and comments.

2. Join an Instagram commenting pod if you’d like to see real growth.

3. Engage with those who engage with you–make sure to reply to people who mention you in comments.

4. Comment often on posts you like/people you like! Interaction via comments is key on Instagram.

4. Use the same username and photo across platforms.

“Most people have all social media platforms covered & I use the same username so folks can find me. It’s how I search too.” @jbhatt12

“I try to keep the same handle and same photo so people know it’s the same me.” @amanda_koslow

“Pro-tip: Stay recognizable across social media platforms!” @gen_twenty

5. Use the geo-locater to search out location-based businesses, people, freelancers, etc.

“I connect with people who love the outdoors, photography, and universities on Instagram because locations are easy to search.” @JoelKaskinen

What are some ways we can take social media relationships from casual to something more?

  1. “Start off small with consistent interaction and when you feel comfortable enough, reach out to exchange information.” @RLMiller4_92
  2. “After building context, send [an] email [and] set up [a] phone call, ask how you can help. Meet-up at event/conference. Video call. Or, just come to terms to be patient and realize, you just may be digital friends forever.” @nichemovement
  3. “Take advantage of proximity.” @BPucino
  4. “Taking relationships from social to RL can occur in the form of Skype, meet ups, conferences, & even snail mail. Be proactive!” @rachaeltulipano
  5. “I have met many social media homies at conferences & the IRL connections are even better! We chat & laugh all the time!” @focusedonyou_
  6. “Meet ups! Or exchanging contact info!” @JoelKaskinen
  7. “To take relationships to something more––reach out. A lot of times we collect lots of connections, but never make a move!” @happyarkansan

Meaningful relationships don’t happen overnight–how long should you expect it to take to build a relationship?

In unanimous certainty, the GenTwenty community agrees that no two relationships are the same and there is no specific time frame. Some relationships may become more meaningful instantaneously, others may take months or years. Even still, other relationships may be digital forever or never amount to anything.

But don’t stop trying to forge new and deeper bonds with your online community.

What steps can we take to form meaningful connections with someone on social media?

1. Find something you have in common and connect with them.

“Connect with them but make it a meaningful connection. Try to chat with them about something somehow!” @jbhatt12

“Tip: Pay attention to and care about what your emerging friends are doing, up to, and interested in. Then ask about it.” @VinceSkolny

2. Consistently interact.

“Start by following and tweet to them. Saw a tip to keep a list of people you’re interested in and make a point to tweet weekly!” @gen_twenty

3. Start small and work your way up.

“I usually start small by liking a post. Then work up from there. Retweeting or sharing is next. Commenting or DMing come last.” @JoelKaskinen

“Follow their account, put out a few likes here or there, comment on things they share (exchange opinions, find common ground).” @allisonjensen_

“Tweeting @ or replying to them per platform. Not just liking.” @VinceSkolny

“Make it meaningful.” @gen_twenty

Tip: Don’t use automated DMs or replies–it is way less personal and a turn off.

What are the biggest obstacles to making friends on social media?

  1. “1. Not all use it to make friends. 2. Knowing how to take people sans body lang/tone 3. Creeper stigma.” @VinceSkolny
  2. “I mentioned earlier my stalking habit. Sometimes the Woo in me wants to make all the friends, but I come off creepy!” @JoelKaskinen
  3. “Connecting in person can be challenging due to distance.” @jbhatt12
  4. “In our opinion, sometimes following too many people adds to comparison/am I good enough mindset.” @nichemovement

Any tips for meeting social media friends/connections in person for the first time?

  1. “Use the conversations you’ve had via social media as an ice breaker!” @jbhatt12
  2. “I’ve never had the chance to meet any friends or connections in person but I’d say just pick up where you left off online.” @JoelKaskinen
  3. “We recommend meeting in a public place. Or at least video chat first. Safety is paramount.” @gen_twenty
  4. “Be sure you weren’t being phony on social media!” @VinceSkolny

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