I've written extensively on the subject of forming a deeper interpersonal relationship with your social connections, instead of just hoarding them. It's through these deeper connections that you are better able to influence new business, repeat business, referrals and word-of-mouth. Not to mention the creation of friendship.
It's always been the desire of social networks to connect people. Facebook is nothing more than the facilitator of community and friendship, it's a communication tool and if you want to stand out you must do something different in order to do so. The same is true for LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and all the others. How are you standing out?
If you're like the majority, then you accept all incoming connection and friend requests but never really get around to introducing yourself and starting a mutually beneficial conversation that can lead to both professional and personal relationships. Remember, the strength of your social networking lies in the quality of the connection, not in the quantity.
So, how do you stand out and really take the stance that you are different? That you are the type of person that others WANT to be connected to? Personalized video, that's how. Whenever somebody initiates a connection or you initiate it, if you send a personalized video, your chances of having an impact are greatly increased.
The kind of video I'm talking about is not the kind that you make once and send out to everybody. No, I'm talking about the kind you make specifically for the person you're sending it to, personalized just for them.
You can use Youtube for this if you want, upload, set to private and then include a link to it but that takes time and sends people to a site that you don't control. Personally, I use the video email program from 3GEngagement (Transparency Alert: I'm the VP of 3GEngagement), it creates a specific landing page for each video, along with my contact info and links to my websites. You can email your video from right within the program, grab the embed code or even just copy and paste the link, it's as easy as hitting record, then stop, then on the send or share button.
The content of these videos are simple and is usually about 30 seconds or less. As an example let's say I were to get a connection request from a restaurant owner on LinkedIn, these would be my steps:
First, I would check out their profile. Maybe even click through to their website and learn what I can about them.
I would create the video, saying something like this: "Jerry! Hello, this is David. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me, I'm always looking forward to connect with other business owners here on LinkedIn. I see that you own a restaurant in Denver and while I've never eaten there I have driven by a few times, next time I won't! I do a lot of work with social marketing and if you ever have any questions about anything digital marketing, just shoot them my way. Speaking of questions, are you doing any kind of digital marketing?"
I accept the invite to connect, then I write a short note that says something like: "Jerry, I appreciate the connection. As a way to introduce myself I created you a quick 20 second video. Talk with you soon!" Then I paste in the link (LinkedIn will hyperlink it, don't forget to add the http://) and hit send.
Those 3 steps take about 3 minutes and you wouldn't believe the results! I get messages back all the time with people saying, "wow David, I've never gotten a message like that before!" Or, "That's such a great idea, it really makes me feel like you care about getting to know me. I'm going to steal this idea!"
Best of all I'm getting people to respond back to my call to action. Notice at the end when I said, "Speaking of questions, are you doing any kind of digital marketing?" That was a subtle call to action and since I work with business on their social marketing it's a great conversation to start. I'm in the processes of working two deals that looks like they will close this week, all because I sent them a personalized video message. Remember, you can initiate a connection the same way, just stay away from the question at end because it can come across as if you're only connecting because you want to sell them something. Instead say something like:
"Jerry, hello my name is David Johnson and I'm always looking to connect with other business owners. I came across your profile and wanted to connect after reading your post, Taking Care Of Your Restaurant Customers, I'd love to interview you for a post I'm writing on obtaining reviews. Would you be open to that?"
You don't have to do this on just LinkedIn, you can do the same on many other social networks, when are you going to give it a try?