I hear this often, even from friends who do publicity for the music industry. I tell them to approach social media the way you would a cocktail party or networking event. Here’s why:
1. Survey the space
When you walk into a networking event, you might look at the nametags on the entry table or see in advance who registered. That way, when you arrive, you know the people you’d like to say hello to.
This same tactic should be used on Twitter. Do a search for keywords in your industry or for the publications you read every day. Follow people, reporters, publications and organizations that line up with your interests, especially if they have a robust following or fan base. Many people and organizations will follow you back, no questions asked.
2. Put yourself out there
Once you’ve figured out who is in attendance and who you’d be interested in meeting, grab your favorite cocktail and start shaking hands. Once you’ve followed someone, introduce yourself with an @ mention. Tell them why you’re following them and show that there is common interest. Be sure to retweet and comment on content that they’ve shared.
3. Add to the conversation