Without a doubt, social media is one of the best ways to interact with potential clients and kickstart the relationship-building process, that can increase your bottom line.

But before you start closing deals with new clients, you need to understand how to properly leverage social media and establish yourself as the go-to expert within your industry.

Here’s how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks to showcase your knowledge and make client-worthy connections.

Social Media is All About Relationships

Before you’ll be able to see clients pour in from social media, you have to first understand that it’s all about relationships. it’s vital you build a real relationship with your peers and the experts you interact with online if you’re to have any success.

If you’re only on Twitter or Facebook to “make money off clients” it will be all too easy for them to see through your intentions — and this will drive people away quickly.

Like any client relationship in real life, it’s all about give and take. Remember that there are real people behind the computer who are looking to make a trustworthy connection.

social media skills

Help People First

Once you’re building relationships within your network, there’s still some guidelines to follow before you can “seal the deal”.

Make sure your content is laid out in this order:

  • Share helpful and valuable resources
  • Listen first and then reply
  • Showcase your knowledge and skills

If you approach social media in a different order and aren’t “helping people first” you’ll be going nowhere fast. If you want potential clients to listen to you, they first want to know you will listen to them.

Follow the 80/20 Rule

Aside from following the “helping people first” principle, another strategy to follow is the 80/20 rule. Which states that social media should be 80% talking, promoting and sharing other people’s info, and only 20% promoting your own work.

I know it may sound counter-intuitive but promoting yourself less and highlighting other people more, will actually display you as the go-to resource for all things within your industry. And that makes what you know and who you know a more attractive quality that potential clients will be looking for.

Join Relevant Groups in Your Industry

Seek out active groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that you can join. Then set aside 10 minutes 2-3 days a week to interact with the community, share feedback, answer questions and list out any resources.

You can also start conversations to initiate feedback and interaction. This is a great way to share ideas and even come up with topics for upcoming blog posts, webinars, events and more! Again, it all comes back to the relationship and showing yourself as a respectable business person who knows what they’re doing and who isn’t selfish about his knowledge or time.

I know several colleagues who landed jobs as community managers or content curators because of their valuable interaction within online groups. I’ve been able to land multiple clients using this strategy, as well as hire members for my own team.

Show Your Expertise on Quora

The big leaders in social media are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (with Pinterest and Instagram coming up quickly) but a silent newcomer who’s building steam is Quora.

This site is an amazing resource for anyone who has a question about anything. Currently there are over 400,000 topics and discussions happening on Quora and every one of them is an opportunity for you and your business to shine.

Searching through the topics I’ve been able to answer tax questions, reply to comments about financial apps, list out the best career books and show my expertise within my niche.

How does this help land clients?

It’s the perfect medium for you to display your knowledge and your business without coming off as too promotional. People on this site are asking the exact questions you can answer, and many of them are looking to hire the person who can help.

Land More Clients with Social Media

In the end, the method for your social media success online is the same as your offline strategy — be helpful, listen and build loyal relationships. Set aside time each day, or several times a week, to cultivate your social media network.

Spend time within groups and contribute as much valuable content as possible, while using the industry information as ongoing market research for your own business. Within a few months, you’ll start seeing the results of your efforts with a steady flow of clients and recommendations.