I've noticed many people don't know how to start a real conversation on Facebook. You've probably read already my rants about the perfunctory use of the word "hi" in chat mode. You've probably also realized that a simple "hi" will not incite a conversation. Well, I got to thinking that if I was going to rant and rave about not using hi as a means to start a conversation with a user than perhaps I ought to give you some tips on openers with new friends that don't involve a one syllable word that goes nowhere except in my delete box. These tips are super valuable for connecting with people or business owners you want to build an authentic relationship with, and here you go:
Always participate in your social media community. No, this tip does not mean actually attending the hundreds of events you are invited to. It means checking out the Top Headlines where your new connections are sharing with each other. If you don't stretch outside of your old connections, you are not networking and using the media properly. So, check out your new connections and see what they're talking about. If you see someone who says something you like, do comment. A real comment should continue to lead to more comments until your name becomes familiar to the person. After a short while you will be in a position to make the next move, which is to privately message them. Before you send a message, though, you should consider the next tip.
Check out their profiles. Find common interests, and then when you do share on their wall, you're not being random. Find out what they do for a living and why they're on social media. Just because he/she either includes relationship status or do not for privacy reason, do not automatically assume this person uses social media to "hook up." The no. #1 mistake I see happen are prospective singles on the hunt for a new hook up. Since I'm a woman, I can only speak to the men's techniques. I don't post relationship status to protect my family's privacy and to prevent identity theft (a whole other blog). When you do post your profile information, make sure you don't give out specific information that could lead to identity theft. The powers of observation, though, can tell you a lot. If the person of interest is sharing in his/her community, you can tell a lot about how he/she uses social media and for what purpose. If it is, in fact, to troll for social reasons, you'll know it right away, but if it's not, your immediate flirting and poking will only turn off the person you might like to friend.
Private Message. Next after you spend real community time with your person of interest and feel like a rapport has started, message him or her, but avoid chat. Chatting should only be established when you really do know the person pretty well. A random chat is both annoying and disconcerting from strangers. A private message is much less threatening -- and that goes for both business and personal. If you want to take a friendship from virtual to real, always tread carefully. Make sure you arrange to meet in a public place and never, ever give out your personal information until you've spent quality time with your "friend." Do not invite this person to your home! Do not give them your mobile number if you've never met them. You will end up wasting time having to block them should something go wrong. Do not even give them your private email if you don't feel comfortable. No matter what, be safe and cautious. After all, a social media "friend" is still a stranger that you may never have met. Exercise caution.