How does being a great host or hostess relate to social media management? Social marketers building communities, promoting contests and inviting influential bloggers and stakeholders to read, attend and try something they’re working on is not unlike putting together an unforgettable event. If you can throw an epic party, you’ve already got the skills to create a social media outreach superstar downpacked. However, there are a couple of steps to being the “host or hostess with the mostest” beyond making sure everyone’s glass is always full!

Here’s an easy to follow guide to social media outreach and party-throwing success:

Step 1: Networking

We all know that one of the most crucial factors in determining a party’s success or failure is who goes to it. The same can be said for social media outreach – you need to create the ultimate guest list. Whether you’re looking to connect with key players in your target market on Twitter or researching bloggers to write about your newest social media contest, it’s important that you select the right people. When you do find them, it’s important to cultivate those friendships over time. Making relationships online isn’t always easy – you need to be thoughtful when networking with the contacts you encounter.

Here are a couple of ways to network:

Tweeting a link to content is the equivalent of you giving your seal of approval to an author’s work. It’s a great way to start a conversation and pump up your potential friend’s ego. Don’t just retweet; take the time to read what they’ve written, pull out quotes or even provide a counter point to their argument (if there is one). Don’t forget to give credit to the author and link to their content. Usually they’ll thank you (more on that later), and you’ll have an opportunity to start building a lasting bond with them.

Another good idea is to become the ultimate comment dropper and take part in discussions on blogs. Nothing feels warm and fuzzy like a well thought out comment. Put your opinion out there, even if it isn’t the same as the author’s. It’ll get you on their radar and might be able to spark up that conversation that you need to create a connection.

Step 2: Invites

The anticipation is growing and now you’re ready to invite your newly researched friends to your party! You need to make sure that your invite is the coolest ever – sparkles included. The key ideas, or pixie dust, for successful social media outreach are to make it personal, short and to the point.

Since you were such a great sleuth at finding out who to invite, now it’s time to use that knowledge in your pitch or invite. You’ve been following your “party guests” on Twitter and/or taking a look at their background on LinkedIn, so you’ve now got some intel. Use it in your pitch. People appreciate the personal touch of you knowing a bit about them before inviting them, you won’t come across as creepy.

It’s important not to be wordy, get your point across in the first few sentences. Don’t try to sugar coat, suck up, or make promises to the people you’ve invited – tell it like it is. You’re throwing a killer party and they’re invited. You have something they’d be interested in and thought you’d pass the information along.

Step 3: Partying

This is where your host or hostess skills come out. Whether you’re hosting a live event or you’re asking someone to write something, these rules apply.

Make sure your invites come prepared with all the right information. If you were having a costume party – you’d definitely tell your guests to arrive dressed according to theme! The same goes for social outreach. If you’re asking a writer, blogger or influential personality to promote your project, make sure they have the right information to do their job properly.

Step 4: Thank you cards

The follow-up is the part that people appreciate the most. Whether the task they performed was as easy as tweeting or as time consuming as writing an article/attending an event, make sure to give thanks. It’s important to make a lasting impression, so make sure your thank you is sincere. Chances are you’ll want to work with this contact again.

Once the initial thank you is sent, your job isn’t over. Remind yourself to keep up with all your party invites or new social media friends. Be a champion for what they’re doing, and remember to periodically check back in with them.

You don’t need to be a professional party planner to be excellent at social media outreach. Just remember to have fun, show your personality and nurture your relationships online. Party on!

Tags: , , , , , ,