You can never have too many great connections. The only problem is that getting a hold of people, especially high-profile ones, can be tough. Oftentimes, very tough.
The good news is the rise of social media has enabled everyone with internet access to contact anyone else across the globe if they're crafty enough.
Before we get into creative ways to connect, we need to lay down ground rules for reaching out to others (since these rules are broken far too often).
1. Be persistent, but not creepy.
Use discretion when connecting with your target. Don't leave comments on their wedding photo on Instagram.
Send your message. Follow up. Follow up again. After that, restructure both your medium and your message.
2. Don't ask for a favor without giving something in return.
Often, people have nothing to offer in return for the target's time and energy. Asking for a favor out of context without giving anything in exchange will make you look cheap, desperate, and out of touch.
You wouldn't ask a stranger to take your dog for a walk in the park, and the same goes for online relationships. Relationships have to be built and nurtured, not forced.
3. Be different.
Plan a way for you to stand out relative to others trying to reach the same target.
Will it be a unique joke? Will it be an eye popping email subject line? Will it be bringing up a common interest you might share with your target person?
Focus hard on your strategy. If you're memorable, you're much more likely to get the attention of your target.
Keep in mind these rules are the prerequisites for effective communication. Without them, all the creativity in the world won't help you much.
Alright, now that the ground rules are out of the way, let's jump into the how you can use social media to connect with anyone.
Private Notes on Medium
If you're target is active on Medium, you might've hit the lottery. Why? Well, there's a feature many aren't taking full advantage of called private notes. With it, readers can leave comments on a writer's article only visible to those two individuals.
I can only speak for myself, but I have tens of thousands of people reading my Medium posts every month and I've replied to every single private note someone has left me.
To learn how to leave private notes, read this help page on Medium's website.
Utilize Private YouTube Videos
YouTube allows publishers to make their videos visible only to those they want to see it. If you're having a hard time reaching your target, create a personalized video on YouTube explaining why you want to connect with them.
Then, send them the video via email. To learn more about YouTube video settings, read this help page on Google's website.
Direct Message on Instagram
"Instagram DM is the single biggest networking or business development opportunity of this decade."--Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia
That's a big statement from one of the biggest icons in the social media industry, and there are plenty of reasons he should be excited.
One of the most powerful aspects of Instagram DM is that the person you're messaging doesn't need to be following you back. This opens the doors for streamlined communication that other platforms block out.
Engagement rates on Twitter have plummeted over the last few years. Some folks with millions of followers are receiving a dozen engagements on their Tweets. And that's on a good day.
Some may go as far to call Twitter a 'wasteland' of what it used to be. Whether that's true or not, it doesn't mean you can't capitalize on this trend. Take advantage of the low engagement by reaching out to your target on Twitter.
Less competition means more visibility and higher probability you'll get noticed by your target.
Add a Note on LinkedIn Invitations
Okay, so maybe this one isn't that creative, but it certainly is underutilized.
Adding notes on your invitations adds context by letting your target know why you're connecting with them. Maybe it's an article they wrote that resonated with you. Use your note as an opportunity to stroke your target's ego a bit.
This is more of a principle than it is a concrete method, but try messaging your target on a platform they're not the most active on. Pick one they have less followers on. This will automatically increase your chances of being seen by them.
If you want to reach a vlogger on YouTube, and you notice they're in the beginning stages of building an Instagram presence, then DM the target on Instagram.
Over to You:
What are some other creative ways you've connected with individuals you were targeting?