If you want to know how to do social media networking to grow your business in 2022, then this will be the last guide you need — and I do not speak lightly when I say this.
I’ve been an avid researcher of business networking over the past four to five years, and I’ve cracked the code…systematized the entire process, so that you don’t have to.
In this article, I will present you with the exact A-Z process to get new connections (using the only strategies that still work in 2022) on social media.
So, sit back, relax, and get ready for the ultimate social media networking guide.
Why Is Successful Social Media Networking So Hard?
Well, let’s face it. All of the people who are worth connecting with — the billionaires, executives, and celebrities of the world — are all “too high up” for most of us to reach.
You might run into roadblocks like:
- You send them a direct message and it gets lost in the sea of other direct messages they get per day.
- You comment on their posts to get noticed but it gets pushed to the bottom by the sea of other posts from other commenters.
- You feel like they wouldn’t want to respond to you unless you bring something they want to the table (or are “verified”).
Many have tried to crack the code to connecting with these high-status individuals through social media and failed. But, thankfully, a few who have tried are networking experts and accomplished businesspeople. And, in this comprehensive guide, you’ll find more than their insights, but their exact methods to building relationships with the people who changed their life and could change yours.
Now, personally, I’m a bigger fan of email and LinkedIn networking to reach the unreachable. But, social media is still a viable option for those who are willing to put in the work.
So, if you’re willing to get your hands dirty, let’s dig in.
How Top Networking Experts Recommend You Network On Social Media
Some of the networking experts and businesspeople listed below you may have never heard of before. But, whether you’ve heard of them or not, their strategies are sound and have been proven with great results.
Once again though, I can’t stress this enough. No strategy you see here will be effective or useful without action. So, keep an open mind as you read the following strategies. And then, go for it and do your best to apply the strategies that you think would work best for you based on your current situation.
Patrick Bet-David’s Social Media Networking Process:
Patrick Bet-David is a business influencer and media personality. He’s a content creator, producer, WSJ bestselling author and CEO of both PHP Agency, Inc. and Valuetainment Media, LLC.
Patrick Bet-David has cultivated an organic fanbase of over 10 million followers across 5 media platforms. So, he knows a thing or two about social media.
Let’s get into his approaches to social media networking.
Strategy #1: Network Like Casanova as “The Success”
One of the methods of the effective networker is to adopt the networking style of “The Success.”
This is an oversimplification here, but “The Success” is:
The Success: the person who accumulates so much success (in this case, perhaps, so many social media followers) they can’t be ignored.
And, if they combine that success with warmth and friendliness, they:
- Attract the people they want into their life through social media organically.
- Follow other high-status people on social media and get their attention without much effort.
But, most of us don’t have the time or resources for a multi-million dollar social media campaign to get famous enough for this strategy.
So, some more practical ideas are…
Strategy #2: Be So Present They Can’t Ignore You
Use their social media posts to learn where they are and where they will be next . Then, show up in person.
The internet is a great place for getting in touch with people, but meeting someone in person is the bigger touchpoint that creates a deeper (more “real”) connection. So, do your best to go out of your way and meet people in person whenever it’s possible.
And, it’s unfortunate that we live in a world where I have to emphasize this, but please don’t be a stalker. Be respectful of your target connection’s space, privacy, and boundaries. You’re only doing what it takes to connect with the person who could change your life. You’re not looking to be the weirdo in the bushes with the camera watching and gushing over their every move.
Strategy #3: Stand Out from the Crowd with Personalization and Authenticity
Here, Bet-David, recommends you send a direct message (DM) to the celebrities that you want to connect with. And, for this strategy, you’ll make that DM a personalized video that you made specially for them.
Bet-David: “This is a good way to make sure you stand out compared to everyone else who’s trying to get a hold of the person through emails or social media messages. Let them see the face behind the message and view you as an individual.”
And, in the video you send them, show them that you did your homework by sharing some light, appropriate information about them.
If you’re trying to get a hold of somebody who’s high up, more often than not, it’s a good idea to do a little bit of research. So, study their world. Mention things about their business, family, achievements, or life events in the video and that will show that you’re genuinely interested in them. (It’ll also help separate you from the other DMs in their inbox of people only looking for a handout.)
All of that aside, don’t pretend to be their absolute biggest fan to get a response from them. Be authentic and be yourself. And, treat them like you would treat anybody else. They’re human too and, oftentimes, they don’t want to be put on a pedestal.
Strategy #3.1: Stand Out from the Crowd with Proof of Loyalty
As an addition to this strategy of standing out from the crowd, networking expert, Larry Benet (who goes by “The Connector”) recommends you connect with top bestselling authors by doing this:
- Pick an author you want to connect with.
- Buy ten copies of their book.
- Take a picture of yourself with those ten copies of their book.
- Share those books with your network.
- Send the bestselling author a direct message sharing the picture you took along with a note letting them know you shared their book with your entire network.
This shows that you are willing to give value and that they have your loyalty.
In order to avoid losing your loyalty or any future value that you have to give (such as the chance of you sharing their current and future work with your network later down the line), they’re far more likely to respond to your message.
The caveat here is that, like with the strategy from Patrick Bet-David above, this only works if they see your message. But, if you keep reading, you’ll learn strategies to get around that challenge too — and get a response.
Strategy #4: Network Like Casanova as “The Promoter”
This is where you find people they respect or know and get them on your side. Enlist them as allies.
Reach out to a few people they respect and win them over. If you do this right, these people will help you get a hold of the initial person for you, giving you instant credibility.
And, more than the people they respect or know, get their gatekeepers on your side as well. Bet-David calls this “winning the layers of protectors.”
“The more powerful people are, the more layers of gatekeepers you need to get through. So, if you’re trying to get access to the decision-maker, you want to make sure you’ve got the gatekeeper on your side. Make them a friend by adding value to their life.”
Now, keep in mind, if you’re not sure how to do this yet, that’s OK. There are plenty of resources around this website on how to connect with people. Simply take those methods and apply them to connecting with the circle of your target contact.
Dorie Clark’s Social Media Networking Process:
Dorie Clark was named one of the Top 50 business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50, and was recognized as the #1 Communication Coach in the world by the Marshall Goldsmith Leading Global Coaches Awards.
She’s a consultant and keynote speaker who teaches executive education at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School, and is the WSJ bestselling author of The Long Game, Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of the Year by Inc. magazine.
Her resume goes on, but the point is that she’s the type of businesswoman who knows what she’s talking about. So, keep an eye on how you might be able to apply her strategy in your own social media networking approach.
Strategy #5: Be So Engaging They Can’t Ignore You
As Clark says herself, “Make unlikely connections through social media by leveraging social media’s social networking potential.”
And, you can leverage social media’s networking potential by giving your target connections a lot of your engagement:
- Comment on updates and retweet posts. (Caveat: don’t do this every day and come across as a stalker!)
- Use social media as a follow-up tool after meeting someone. (In addition to sending an email, you can send a LinkedIn invitation, follow them on Twitter, etc.)
- Stay in touch with your new contacts through social media. (If they’re mentioned in the news, you can share those articles and tag them with a congratulatory note.)
- Continue sharing and commenting on their blog, podcast, or other content they create.
- Message them directly or send them links they might enjoy that are related to their personal hobbies.
This strategy works best with either people who are closer to your level of status, or higher-status people who you already have a relationship with (however “green” that relationship might be).
Michael Ellsberg’s Social Media Networking Process:
Michael Ellsberg’s writing has been published on Forbes.com, Time.com, the blog of Tim Ferriss, and the New York Times. He’s the author of The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful. And, in order to write that book, he networked, connected, and built relationships with multiple millionaires (some of whom are celebrities) so he could interview and add blurbs from them for his book.
And yet, his recommendation and strategy for social media networking here is surprisingly simple.
Strategy #6: Leverage the Power of the Twitter Playing Field
“Use Twitter to meet new people. Comment on other people’s stuff and retweet.”
Twitter has been hailed as the only social network where people (and even brands) have an even playing field and unrestricted lines of clear, concise communication with anyone else who uses the platform.
So, by being as active as possible on Twitter in terms of pursuing (not chasing!) the people you want to connect with, it’s only a matter of time before you get through.
As the old saying goes, “If you hang around the barbershop long enough, sooner or later you’re going to get a haircut.”
Of course, it should be noted here that exceptions apply. More than your networking strategy, but your social strategy (in terms of what you’re actually saying and posting) should be conducive to the results that you want.
Brandon Medford’s Social Media Networking Process:
Brandon Medford (who formerly went by “lamborghini__b”) is an auto broker who was able to scale his company’s brand to 3 locations (New York, Miami, and Los Angeles) in only two years after having started his company out of the back seat of a Honda Accord with no money and only two friends. He was able to achieve this quick brand growth by leveraging social media and relationships to obtain celebrity clients and Instagram influencers.
Here’s how he did it.
Strategy #7: Leverage the Power of Your Mutual Instagram Followers
For those of us who aren’t verified, if you send a celebrity a DM on Instagram, it’ll probably get lost in the (literal) hundreds of thousands of other DMs they haven’t opened yet.
Here’s how to get around that and get your DM noticed:
- Find celebrities that need the value you’re able to offer them. (In Medford’s case, it was a brand new model of Lamborghini he was able to offer rappers.)
- Head over to the Instagram app. And, log into your profile by entering valid credentials.
- Go to that celebrity’s Instagram account and see who they follow on Instagram. (You can do this by clicking the “following” button right beside the number of accounts they’re following.)
- In that “following” section, you’ll notice a “mutual” tab amongst the options that will appear on top.
- Tap on it to see all of the people that you follow who also follow the celebrity. (These are your “mutual followers.”) In that mix of mutual followers will also be some accounts that the celebrity follows back.
- DM all of the mutual followers you have and request that they DM the celebrity for you. Ask them to ask the celebrity to reach out to you because you have the XYZ value that they’re looking for. (The celebrity doesn’t follow you, so they’ll see the DMs from people they do follow faster than they’ll see yours. And, there’s a good chance that they follow back some of the people who follow them — which are people you can reach out to.)
- When the celebrity reaches out to you, coordinate sharing the value that you have with them to start the process of fostering a relationship with them.
Keep in mind that you can’t see mutual followers on private accounts that you’re not following.
And, this also depends on the privacy settings of the profile you want to visit. If the celebrity turned their security settings to “only me,” then you won’t be able to visit your list of mutual followers with them.
Ladun Thompson’s Social Media Networking Process:
Ladun Thompson is the CEO & designer of the Body of God clothing line, which produces the “My God vs My Enemies” apparel. Many celebrities and influencers have championed the brand including Ladun’s business partner DJ Envy.
And, Ladun was able to gain that celebrity attention for his brand using a social media networking strategy to build those celebrity relationships.
Here’s what he did.
Strategy #8: Mix In-Person Networking with Social Media Networking
Thompson calls being able to have back-and-forth conversations with celebrities over DM “opening the DM door.” And, this is one of the step-by-step processes he used to spark DM conversations with multiple celebrities:
- Prepare a bag with your card, Instagram, and free value. (In Thompson’s case, that free value was his free merchandise.)
- Look for the celebrity’s driver. (It could be an Uber driver.)
- Tell the driver something along the lines of, “Look, I came downstairs and I was told to leave this bag for (Name of Celebrity)… just tell them we left it in the car for them.”
- Now, we wait! This is the part where you’ll start getting celebrities sending you “thank you” messages for the free value over DM (since you gave them your Instagram as your contact information).
We already talked about becoming friends with their friends, siblings, assistants, and so on in Patrick Bet-David’s social media networking process.
But, Thompson encourages taking that a step further, by becoming friends with their security, their driver, and the valet parker.
For example, if you can’t get to the celebrity to give them your “care package” (or whatever value you offer that you think would be appropriate for this strategy), give it to their security as a gift to them.
Ask their security for their phone number and address to send it to them as a gift. (Not as value for the celebrity, but for the celebrity’s security.) Then, follow up a week later to make sure they received it and continue building that relationship to eventually get to the celebrity.
Repeat this with any gatekeeper you come across to eventually make it to that final step where you “open the DM doors” with multiple celebrities.
Ron Lieber’s Social Media Networking Process:
Ron Lieber is an American journalist for The New York Times, where he writes the “Your Money” column. He is the recipient of three Gerald Loeb awards for his writing in the column. He previously wrote the “Green Thumb” column for the Wall Street Journal and is the author or co-author of five books.
And, he rose to the top of his field largely thanks to his connections. So, let’s review his social media networking process.
Strategy #9: Pique Their Interest with Personalized Facebook Messages
You can use other social media platforms for this, of course, but Lieber primarily uses Facebook to implement this strategy.
It has two separate approaches to it. You can either:
- Share something with your target contact that’s really interesting — that they might like to see or join you on.
- Ask questions in a Facebook group with the VIP that you want to know the answer to and that you think other people would find useful as well.
Especially if you’re in a business course or program where they manage a community using a Facebook group, Discord, or online forum, by being the one to ask a question that drives engagement, you can get their attention and greenlight your own opportunities to start building relationships with these powerful people. (In those cases, you’ll typically connect with the driven entrepreneurs and high-status executives and managers who manage the group.)
But, this strategy can be applied to any group regardless of if you’re in a business course or not.
Remember to be careful not to do this too often though. Asking questions is asking them to give you answers. And, at some point, you’ll need to give them something in return if you want the relationship to be balanced so they won’t see you as a taker.
Ramit Sethi’s Social Media Networking Process:
NYT bestselling author, Ramit Sethi, has been featured in ABC News, CNN, and the WSJ, and is the founder of I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
More than personal finance, he also teaches psychology and shares some networking insights on how you can network with VIPs that are “experts.”
Strategy #10: Leverage LinkedIn to Network with Experts
As Sethi mentions himself, LinkedIn is a good place to start your search for experts. And, those experts can be very high-status people.
If you find that they’re very active on LinkedIn or took the time to share a good deal about themselves on their profile, you might even want to continue using it as your main hub for researching them, even if you’ve found their names on other sources.
Here’s the process to finding experts to network with:
- Search the role of the person you’re looking to connect with. (For example, type “creative director” into the search bar and make sure it’s set to “People.” And, feel free to search different variations of that role to make sure you’re not missing anyone.)
- Filter your settings by clicking “All filters.” Click 1st and 2nd Connections to prioritize them. (But, don’t completely ignore your 3rd level connections!)
- Make a list of contacts you want to connect with based on the search results. (Only do this after thoroughly checking out their profiles).
And, your process for reaching them:
- “If they’re a 1st degree contact, you can email them or message them directly through LinkedIn.”
- “If they’re a 2nd degree contact, ask your mutual acquaintance for an introduction.”
If they’re a 3rd degree contact, there are a few things you can do to get in touch with them:
- “Check their profiles. Some people list their public websites or blogs, and you can easily find their contact information there.”
- “Click on their profiles and see if they’re a member of any LinkedIn Groups. If they are, join the Group (if possible) and you’ll be able to message any member of that Group directly.”
- “Finally, you could always pay for a premium subscription to LinkedIn which will allow you to message 3rd degree contacts. In the long run, it may be well worth it.”
Strategy #11: Leverage Twitter to Network with Experts
Twitter is very different from LinkedIn in that it’s not geared toward business professionals. But, once again, as Sethi makes sure to note:
Sethi: “It’s still another social media platform that tons of industry professionals use. Yes, this does mean you need to have a Twitter account in order to search. When searching, the goal is to simply discover names of relevant experts, and use other tools like LinkedIn, Google, etc. to get more information about them and gauge if they’re someone you actually want to know.”
Here’s the process for finding your contacts:
- As you did with LinkedIn, type the role of the person you’re looking to connect with in the search box. (For example, type “creative director” into the search bar and make sure it’s set to “People.” And, once again, feel free to search for different variations of that role to make sure you’re not missing anyone.)
- Specify your search with Twitter’s “Advanced Search” feature. (For example, if you’re looking to connect with VIPs in a certain company, you can specify that company by including their Twitter account in its respective “Advanced Search” fields)
- Use Twitter as another channel of contact. (Use Twitter alongside the other reach-out options that are at your disposal.)
More Tips and Ideas:
Keep in mind, some celebrities have sections in their bios that say, “For business or one-on-one consulting inquiries, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org” or “Biz inquiries: email@example.com.”
So, you can use that to offer value to the celebrity by giving them a free opportunity for their brand and business. You can say, “Can I interview you? I’m going to tweet you out to all of my followers,” or “Can I do a phone interview with you?” and share it online. (Dorie Clark agrees with this idea and believes it’s way a better idea than approaching them to beg for a cup of coffee or a chance to “pick their brain.”)
Plus, if you don’t think an interview or exposure would be valuable to them, you can always use one of the social media networking strategies above.
I’m a much bigger fan of email and LinkedIn networking because the process is not only simpler, easier, and oftentimes faster, but it seems that the barriers to connect with high-status people on social media are getting harder and harder to pass each year.
With that said though, if you can make it through that barrier, you’ll be one of the very few who ever pass through and get exclusive access to connections most only wish they could ever speak to. And, that kind of private access can do wonders for you and your business.
By the way, if you’re not convinced yet, go give the strategies above a try and see what they could do for you. You’ll find that these are the only strategies that still work in 2022 and, thankfully, they’ve all been proven to work in one way or another by each of the experts and businesspeople above.
So, with that in mind, you’re well on your way to building an awesome relationship that grows your business. Go for it!