Before social media, if you wanted to reach out to someone for whatever reason, there were only three ways: face-to-face, by phone, or by email. And that meant you had to find them, their phone number, or their email address.
Now you can tweet, link, like, post, or message your way into pretty much anyone’s life. Anyone can do it. And therein lies the rub. Everyone does do it. And the competition for people’s limited time and attention is enormous.
So, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from the pack. Stand out. Get noticed. That’s the only way you’re ever going to get a response. Sure, it’s hard to do. Hard, but not impossible–if you follow these seven rules:
Make sure it makes sense. I get requests from people every day that I just can’t make heads or tails of. I don’t know what they want or why they think they can get it from me. They either don’t make sense or they’re not appropriate, at least not to me. It’s a showstopper.
Make it personal. People respond to whatever it is that interests them. And most people are interested in themselves. That’s why a long introduction about you isn’t likely to get their attention. Hopefully, there’s a good reason why you’re reaching out to this person. Some sort of connection you have with their background or something they wrote. Use it. Just make sure it’s appropriate. Use a little common sense.
Make sure there’s a WIIFM. I get loads of requests from people. They spend paragraphs telling me what’s in it for them. I know what’s in it for them. I want to know What’s In It For Me. Everyone does. If you can’t do that, then don’t bother. You might get a polite response, but that’s all you’ll get.
Continue reading the rest of the story on Inc.