Welcome to the inner workings of the mind of an Instagram Page manager who is low-key tired of waking up to messages that almost border on belligerence. She really hopes that something’s getting lost in social-media-lingo translation because she desperately wants to believe that there’s still courtesy and consideration left in the world. Even if there isn’t much left on DMs.
Fine. Maybe I exaggerate a little.
But how about I show you, rather than tell you?
“How can you help me?”
“Give me a job”
Dear readers, if you are wondering why you have ventured into this comic strip when you were actually here for tips on how to approach people on social media, welcome! You’re in the right place.
What you read above are just some direct quotes from the DMs that I’m expected to reply to. No biggie.
I just thought it would be a little fun to welcome you on to the confusion bandwagon. The kind that I ride on a daily basis sorting through the DM’s that our business page receives. Let me elaborate.
Managing social media pages can be a lot of fun. I certainly feel this way having worked on the Kool Kanya Instagram handle for a while now. But you know what’s not fun? Both in social media and irl?
The Problem With The Casualness Of It All
Social media has got us all closer than ever before. Hitting someone up, connecting, reaching out to someone influential or building your network is most certainly a piece of cake. Just send them a private message right? Slide into their DMs. Drop them a ‘hmu’. And become bffs. Right?
We’ve taken social media for granted. There I said it.
We’ve forgotten the art of texting since memes seem to do all the communication work for us. We think everyone’s online round the clock and hitting up people we’ve never interacted with before with sporadic big asks is no big deal at all.
A lot of the discourse on approaching people via social media talks so much about how you need to just do it!
“Don’t hold back!”
“Put yourself out there!”
“Ask and ye shall receive!”
And while I’m absolutely on board with that, I think the “how” of it is equally important too.
If we’re looking to find work, seeking meaningful collaborations, trying to get clients and hoping to network professionally on social media then we need to retain some semblance of professional courtesy.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you find the right tone for that perfect social media DM.
Lead With A Compliment
The people you are trying to reach out to might already have hundreds of other unopened request DMs. Their sheer popularity warrants that they will need a significant amount of time before they’re able to get back to you.
So how do you make yourself stand out in the sea of messages?
Begin on a note of appreciation. Everybody loves genuine praise and if someone reads something that makes them feel good, the chances of them engaging with you are sure to increase.
Talk about how you know them for their work or how something they did struck a chord with you and compelled you to reach out to them. Not more than a line though. Ensure that you don’t lose sight of your purpose and the message is as precise as possible. Speaking of which,
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Be As Specific As Possible
Realistically speaking, no one wants to spend more than a minute reading messages from people they’ve never met before. So it’s up to you to give them an incentive to spend more time and engage with you. (The first step was an incentive, in case you didn’t notice)
So next up, talk about a small and very specific request that you have of them. The more direct, specific and small your ask is, the more likely they are to reply to you.
Saying something like “Hi, I need a job and I think you could help me” says nothing about the kind of information someone might need to actually give you a job. To get that info, they’ll need to ask you about it first, wait for your response and then see if there is anything they can actually do… You see where I’m going with this?
So eliminate any need for them having to get back to you for more information by saying something like this.
“I have over 2 years of experience in the field of content marketing, working with brands like A and B, and I was hoping you could introduce me to XXX who heads digital marketing for your company.”
Tell Them Why They Should Care
Notice the above example? It clearly lays out the request but also introduces you. Let the reader know that there is an actual person behind the words and this what the person is all about.
“Why should they care?”, is what you need to ask yourself every single time you reach out to someone on social media. Give them a reason to care, whether it is through who you are, or because you have created space for a conversation that also means something to them.
Whenever you ask something of someone, or ask them to vouch for you in their own circle, you’re essentially asking them to put their own professional reputation on the line a little bit.
So let them know what they’re getting themselves into. Make it easy for the person to feel comfortable recommending you or collaborating with you.
And when you do reach out to them, ensure that your own profile is in line with what you’ve reached out to them for. Make sure your social media bios are thoughtful, updated, well-written and give the person a sense of where you’re coming from.
If you’re wondering how to update your social media to make it look more appealing to a potential client, recruiter or someone you’re looking to collaborate with, click here.
Leave The SMS Language Back In The Era Of SMSes
If someone had told me a couple months back, that I’m going to be writing about the importance of texting in full sentences I wouldn’t have believed them. But how the tables have turned!
If someone is still writing lyk dis nd dey xpect 2 b tken srsly then they have another thing coming.
The thing is, there was most certainly an age where we had to press a single button 4 times to get to the letter ‘s’. So back then, this was acceptable. At this point, anybody who is reaching out to somebody on social media has the exhaustive qwerty keypad fed into their phones. So if someone’s having trouble typing out a 6-letter word, honestly, they’re just asking not to be taken professionally.
Nothing makes me hit the ignore button quicker (no there isn’t really an ignore button don’t go looking for it on your keypads) than seeing those dreaded “mah lyz mah rulz” kind of DMS.
So let’s put those qwerty keypads to good use.
… She says as she wakes up one morning with the hope of seeing fully formed sentences, hallmarks of professionalism and consideration on her social media DMs.
“Thank you for writing in! Appreciate your insightful feedback. And yes, can definitely help you out on that one, since it seems like you’d be a good fit for it” – she hopes to say one day to someone who has let her know, succinctly and nicely, why exactly she should care.
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