You know you want to get more involved with your local community, but perhaps because you work online, are shy, have social anxiety or something else, you never have.
As a result, you have few or no local connections even though you are known online.
But, there’s really nothing to worry about if you find yourself in this situation.
If you want to get more involved with your local community but don’t know anyone yet, that’s okay; you can start in your online comfort zone using Facebook.
- Fix your profile: before you join any groups, fix your profile. You want it to be open to the public. This can be scary because you’re used to using Facebook for personal purposes, but local people need to get to know you in every way possible to trust you. Open that page, refine your profile and be sure to link your real estate online, such as your groups, website and blog.
- Join lots of groups: first, you’ll want to join a few groups. Start with five to ten groups with the idea that you’re not going to participate fully yet. You’re just trying to find out what’s out there.
- Introduce yourself: take the time to introduce yourself to a new group according to the group’s guidelines. In some cases, they don’t want you to share links; with others they don’t care. But your profile is now open to the public, which means they can find you if your introduction is interesting enough for them.
- View the group: when you join a group, you want to monitor the activity. See who the moderators and owners of the group are and take note of whether you are connected with others or not. Don’t try to befriend everyone right away. If people friend you, that’s good, but don’t be aggressive by befriending everyone.
- Read and follow the rules: Never fail to read the rules. Sometimes it’s a posted publication, but sometimes it’s in the archives. Always look at all the archives. Some groups allow anyone to add to the archives, so this is an important opportunity to keep in mind.
- Don’t start selling right away: in fact, unless you are invited, never sell in a group that is not your own. Instead, participate in discussions that demonstrate your expertise. If you demonstrate that you are an expert in something, people will come to you.
- Be a resource for members: when members ask something you know the answer to, step in and help them. The more free, friendly help you can offer members, the better. Don’t do anything for free that takes more than five minutes, but when you can help someone else solve a problem easily, you’ll be known.
- Pick one group to focus on too much: once you get to know the groups, you’ll probably notice that at least one group stands out as preferable. Pick that one to get more personally involved with. At this point, you can even unsubscribe from some of the other groups if you determine they are not relevant.
- Go to your first in-person event: once you choose the group you want to be most involved in, go to your first in-person event. When you go, talk to everyone; don’t try to talk to one person all the time. Work the room when appropriate, making sure to introduce yourself to the leaders. Wait until your third meeting to start volunteering to do things and volunteer so no one is afraid of you taking over.
- Start your own group: a really good thing to do is to start your own local networking group. As you join other groups and participate, people will be promoted to see your group through your profile and join. Do not promote your group to other groups.
- Start volunteering: once you have been accepted by the group, you will notice that people will start inviting you to lunch, asking you for advice and even asking if you are willing to volunteer. Take advantage of the opportunity, because the leaders are the ones who will be most trusted by the members.
When you show your expertise freely by example, you will be more likely to establish good relationships with group members.
People like to be around people who are kind and helpful and not receptive.
Show them how much you care about your audience by being a resource to them in a non-threatening way.
Don’t worry; when they really want something, they will eventually come to you or even recommend you to others.
Be prepared with your sales page or purchase link.
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