If you think about it, it’s easy to know about many people. There are people I know that I have never met in person or even had an online conversation with.

Going from Know to Trust requires a stepping stone, and that’s called a Like. You can try to jump over that stone, but it leads to a transactional two-step. You may make a sale, but it will not build a relationship.

Relationships are key in the B2b world because businesses need to be reminded that you are there to serve them when needed and that they can continue to trust you.

Like is not just appearing as a nice guy or gal, it’s about actively creating a top-of-mind presence that you are reliable and present. Furthermore, it is a process that bridges the gap between Know and Trust.

Like Levels

Not everyone who knows you will like you and your business. Not everyone who knows you may even be associated with anything related to business.

Like has specific associations. It refers to you as a person and can also relate to your specific business or your role in a business.

So, someone can like you because they met you at their kid's soccer game. They could like you because you have a certain role related to their business like a speaker, a member of an association, or a community group. They can like you because you could be either a direct customer to them, a referral source, or have access to their perfect client in your company. Also, they could like you because you are the person in your business who can directly solve their problem or be a part of a team of people who help them become more successful.

In your perfect business world, people who like you will buy from you. In the real world, you never know who each person is connected to and how this can lead to direct customers.

I like to put people into three buckets that help to define their relationship with you and your business. Any one of those three could lead to business, so you want to keep them in your sphere of influence.

Level 3 people are those who may never buy from you but find you interesting and worth staying in touch with. They may be neighbors, friends, family, or even people who are trying to sell you something from their business.

You never know when a level 3 person will say, “Hey, I know a guy or gal you need to talk with, connect to, or read about.”

Level 2 people are active in your business life and have high potential to become clients, vendors, or power partners, and are in a position to make additional connections and referrals. This also works in reverse. You could have high potential to become a client, a vendor, or a power partner for them.

These people may be part of your business networks or friends of people who are in your level 1 connections.

Level 1 people are of the highest value. They are in the current active community of clients, past clients, vendors, influencers, or prime power partners. They could also have been in any of those other levels in the past.

Not every one of those people will lead to immediate or potential business, but prospects certainly fall into this category.

There is no perfect test or checklist that helps you categorize these people as level 1, 2, or 3, and I can assure you that they can and will move between groups. It’s up to you and your interactions and potentially your gut feelings that will help you start to see them at those levels.

What’s a Like?

Like is a connection. Online a connection is a follow, friend request, or whatever a social platform says its phrase is defined as a positive affinity, rapport, or fondness with someone in a digital sense.

In the literal sense, like means you have something in common. For example, I like dogs, golf, music, humor, motivation, family, and business. The more you have in common with certain people, the more they will like you.

Conversely, if all you talk about is business, you limit who will like you.

The Unwritten Law of Like

You are going to be you. That does not mean you want to or have to invoke everything you believe in or are passionate about online. That means it’s good to filter some things and practice restraint.

There is an unwritten law that says, “If you talk about politics, religion, or sex (men versus women) online, you are certain to piss off at least 50% of your audience.”

I have met people who refuse to filter their passion for God because it’s what their religion insists they do. It’s your job to evangelize your church. The problem is that not everyone is going to agree with your religion, denomination, or even doctrine of your synod.

Lutherans have three synods. The Catholic Church is comprised of six different liturgical rites, and within those rites, there are twenty-four particular Churches. Then factor in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Agnostics, and Atheists, and you now have a religious mess. It may surprise you to know that there are over 4,000 recognized religions in the world.

Playing It Safe

Some people try to play it safe by posting nothing personal and only posting about their business. This has a very limiting effect. Only people who are involved with your business or have an exacting need at a specific time will ever pay attention to what you have to say.

You also see people and companies that “We-We” all over themselves when creating content or posting online. “We achieved this award. We now have an office in Bangkok. We have a new CTO.”

Only people who are already familiar with you and your business will care. Some may also see an opening to sell you what they have if it fits with your achievements.

Striking a Balance

I hope you can see that only posting personal or only posting business information limits your audience. It’s a mix, kind of a dance, of softly revealing the human part of yourself and your business. You can also share about how you are a member of a community and a business person. It’s about balance and moderation.

It’s also about posting the right content in the right context on the right platform at the right time. LinkedIn rewards posts about business, news, insights, and motivation. Facebook rewards posts about babies, puppies, and bacon. Instagram rewards posting beautiful and interesting pictures. Twitter (X) rewards posting controversial opinions and news.

Should you post anything business on Facebook or personal on LinkedIn? Of course, you can, but it’s about the mix of how much on what platform.

Also, playing to a platform's strength helps you stay top of mind. A post about your dog on Facebook may get your post about using AI in business on LinkedIn more attention.

Content for Likes

When you create and post content, you are speaking to both people (your preferred audience) and to the platform (its algorithms). The more people who interact with your content (like, comment, share), the more the platform will show your content to the people who interact with it.

No matter how many connections you have, you can’t control who sees what you post. The software of the platform and its algorithms control that. Your job is to control what you can and optimize what you can’t.

For the sake of argument, I use 150 as the number of people who will actually see any content you post on most platforms. Although there are exceptions, this is a fairly solid number whether you have 100, 1,000, or 10,000 connections. You and your connection's brains would explode if you saw every post from every connection, all the time. It would make social media unusable.


Nobody is going to like and pay attention to you just because they know or know of you. The exception is if you are a celebrity or influencer. It’s going to be a process.

Some people will like you because of your dog. Others may relate to your golf or pickleball games. At the same time, others may be able to relate to your struggles as a business owner, employee, or salesperson. It usually is a combination or mix of all of the above and more.

So the process of getting people's attention will be a mix of entertainment and information. It’s what I like to call Infotainment.

The goal is to inform and entertain people so they continue to interact and pay attention to you and your business.

You Like Me… You Really, Really Like Me

So, it is the activity that gets someone who knows you to know you better. It’s about informing without dividing. It’s about making them feel something. It’s about forming a bond around subjects that matter to both of you. The goal is to stay in touch and be top of mind. The goal is not just to sell something.

There are three final points that I believe need to be addressed.

First, just because you have something in common with someone who knows and likes you does not mean this will automatically create business. Keep in mind there is a chance that when someone who knows you knows someone else who may need your products and services, they may be introduced or added to your sphere of influence.

Second, this is a relationship, so it requires some reciprocity. If you expect people to interact with you and your content, you should invest some time and attention in engaging with them and theirs. The simplest thing you can do is wish someone a happy birthday once a year.

Also, keep in mind this is not a quid pro quo. It’s not a like for a like or a share for a share. The platform and the algorithm choose which interactions get your content noticed by which connections and vice versa.

Third and finally, just making a connection with someone who knows you is the beginning of the like process. You have to create or share content for your audiences to interact with.

It could be as simple as some graphics, all the way to a webinar or manifesto. You have to provide the right audience on the right platform with the right content, that encourages engagement.

From that point forward, people who know you will define in their own mind how much they like you. That is the path to trust, which we will discuss next.


Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about business-to-business sales and marketing today! Do you have a sales or marketing communications strategy that works for you? What tips or techniques can you share that work for you and your business?

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.

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