Asking Questions In Social Media – Key To Building Relationships

At the age of seventeen, my first mentor in business was Nic Knievel, Bob (or Evel Knievel’s) brother. Nic became like a second father to me and largely made me what I am today in business. The amount of respect I have for him, his sales ability and the many things he taught me can’t be easily outlined in a blog post. It was just too substantial.

In honor of Nic, I would like to share something profound that he taught me, that is completely applicable in today’s social media marketing world. “You make more money with your ears then you will with your mouth!”. Imagine this said by an famous old stunt man, loudly and with massive intensity. This would definitely make an impression on you. I did on me…

The point is that many of us don’t understand this sales philosophy. Sometimes we are way too busy talking (posting) instead of asking questions, engaging in conversation and listening. Sometimes, we get too busy to take interest in our prospects businesses, interests and situations. Sometimes we forget that showing interest in others and what they do is how we build relationships and real connections.

It is my belief that the proper formula for effective social media marketing is:

Content leads to conversation, Conversation builds relationships and Relationships result in business or ROI.

Here are some reminders that will help you build relationships through questions:

1) Don’t forget to ask questions that expand your conversations with your friends, fans and followers.

2) Use open ended questions that show a sincere interest in your connections.

3) Show interest in what your connections do by asking about THEM.

4) After asking the questions, listen and respond.

5) Take action on others responses by sharing their content, website and information.

If effective social media marketing is about relationships and I believe it is, then taking the time to ask your community questions when they engage with you is imperative. Questions are the most overlooked opportunity to build relationships and reciprocate appreciation. Listening to what people are saying in response to your questions will guide you to the next steps of your social media relationship with them. Pay attention to how they are saying what they are saying, not just the content of their response.

Even the simplest questions can be highly effective. Some I often use with sincerity are:

1) So what exactly do you do (first name)?  I truly want to know. Just asking and understanding, often results in being able to refer them to someone that needs what they do, or my own need being fulfilled in their product or services.

2) How’s it going? Seems simple, but sometimes it is simple enough to getting to know someone much better.

Simple but effective to opening up a conversation. The key is sincerity though. Don’t ask if you really don’t care. There is nothing worse than someone asking about you and then disappearing right away and never responding. This says you are not sincere!


13 thoughts on “Asking Questions In Social Media – Key To Building Relationships

  1. Great post Robert! I would add one thing – In addition to ROI, engaging in meaningful conversations leads to ROR (return on relationship) which I believe to be as important as ROI! As I like to say, through conversation … life happens and finds meaning!!!

    My two cents….

    Be well my friend!


    1. I hear you Marc. I just try to stay away from those terms which are created in this industry that are really meaningless. Without results, social media is an ineffective cost center. There must be ROI that is measured and generates income. Just one mans humble opinion.

      Appreciate you bro!!

  2. Hi Robert, Great post. I have always felt that building relationships is so important. However, I have been having a better time achieving that within smaller groups. Between blogging/business/social networking, I am feeling that the larger following on Twitter has been more of a challenge for me and I am not even close to your following. How do you do it? Do you have any tools that help with that aspect? I can’t seem to fit in the time to be able to thank or comment to everyone. Thanks so much. Lisa

    1. yes, it is time consuming. Our Bundle Post software ensures I have plenty of relevant, valuable content in my stream for my target audience in 20 minutes every four days. So all of my time in social media is focused solely on engaging, thanking, conversation and relationship building.

      It all depends on strategy and target audience. You know, the “what are you trying to accomplish?” stuff. Do you have a product or service? What is the goal of your social media marketing involvement. From there you can build a strategy of content, audience and engagement that is manageable.

      I’m happy to help get some focus on all that with you if you like. No cost, just a quick call to help you. DM me on twitter @fondalo and we can schedule something.

      Have a great day! Robert

  3. Robert – I think that those who were lucky enough to have a Mentor relationship in their early years are light years ahead of others without that experience. The relationship is ALL ABOUT asking questions – learning – and gaining experience with a sharp eye watching.

    Providing something of VALUE when you do speak is also key. Although you may not have a specific answer to a question – you can refer the client so someone who does. Once you are known as an UNSELFISH RESOURCE you are well on your way to success.

    Social media has provided a forum for those that have these skills to really expand their base. Someone does not have to be “Next door” to answer a question. I can easily pick up the phone and call anyone “world-wide” to assist or ask for assistance.

    Great post. I must say that loving COFFEE is a plus to keep up with all of the interaction. Don’t you think? Cheers! Gerry

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