Social media allows professionals to construct strong business relationships leveraging insights and data previously unavailable pre new millennium. So why are so many professionals wasting time, not getting results?  They typically have a weak personal brand and network, and don’t invest time building relationships.

Create a Strong Network

Prior to joining any social network for business, professionals must identify their desired target market. Are they looking to connect with hiring managers, industry influencers and peers? A business owner may desire to connect with potential customers, industry bloggers and strategic partners. Creating a presence with the end game in mind decreases wasted time focusing on purely social connections mixed with desired business contacts.

You likely would not attend a family reunion or happy hour with old high school friends for business networking. Treat social media the same way. If your primary goal is career advancement or business growth, skip mixing equal parts family, friends, and business colleagues and focus on building a professional network.

3 Daily Social Media Tasks for Relationship Building

Once you’ve started building your network, the next step is to strengthen relationships. Remember, social media does not take the place of in-person meetings, phone calls or hand-written notes. However, it does provide us with a non-spooky opportunity to touch our contacts in between those other modes of communication, staying top of mind. Below are three daily tasks that will increase the likelihood of your building stronger relationships with your social media contacts.

  1. Wish Facebook friends a happy birthday. If you’re using Facebook, “the” best relationship-building social network for business, you will notice birthday notifications on the upper right hand side of your home page. Don’t simpy post “happy birthday” on your friends’ timelines. Ask them about their plans and, if appropriate, send them a small gift. Unfortunately, Facebook no longer offers the ability to send gifts  via their platform, however, you can use a virtual gift card service to send a gift card to their Facebook email or directly to their work email addresses. Bonus: Review their profiles or photos to send a gift in alignment with their likes!
  2. Respond to LinkedIn Updates.  To receive network updates  in your inbox, once daily, log into your LinkedIn account. Under Account Settings, go to Privacy & Settings > Communications > Set the frequency of emails> Updates and news. For Network updates, select the Daily Digest Email. You will start receiving an email daily listing LinkedIn contacts’ birthdays, new positions and company anniversaries. Take the time to acknowledge these events and ask your contacts questions. Always ENGAGE on social media. If appropriate, as in #1, send an e-gift.
  3. Contact connections mentioned in your daily Newsle report. If you have not already, create an account at Newsle is an app that sends you links to articles within hours of you or someone you are connected to via social media being mentioned in an online article. Under your account settings, check the box under Friend Alerts and select the daily option for email frequency. When your key contacts are mentioned online, send congratulations via email or your preferred social network, linking to the article. They’ll be impressed that you’re following their activities. If it is a potential client or hiring manager, you may want to add your own insights, demonstrating your understanding of the situation discussed in the article.

Create a daily social media ritual that focuses on building the quality to relationships versus the quantity. Comment below if you have any additional daily actions to add.

This post first appeared on Personal Branding Blog.