It saddens me to think that there are still people who have not grasped the concept of what online networking is all about. Of course it seems that everyone is on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and/or LinkedIn but there are legions of individuals who may be participating in one or more of these sites but have absolutely no idea what they are doing. It’s kind of like fishing in murky water. You know that you have cast a line but you have no idea whether anyone or anything is biting.
These are my three secrets to social media success…
- Have a strategy. Why are you on LinkedIn? Are you looking for a new job opportunity or wanting to build your professional network? The same is true for Twitter. Twitter is a very useful networking tool but you have to tweet with a purpose, if you want to be successful. I tweet to promote this blog and to establish relationships with people throughout the country so that when I travel I have “friends” to hang out with and network. My FaceBook, on the other hand, is for my friends and family to connect with me and get glimpses into my life just as I do into theirs. My LinkedIn is used as a professional resume for potential consulting projects. As you see, each of these have very different missions therefore most of the information is different except my blog feed because I know everyone wants to read that 🙂
- You have to be a part of the conversation. Of the hundreds of followers in my networks, I probably communicate with less than 10% of them. This isn’t by choice, but conversations are two-way streets. If I post or tweet something that you find interesting, either retweet it or comment on it. If you don’t then, how am I supposed to know that you are there? Once you catch someone’s attention, make sure you have enough information in your bio for them to decide whether they want to respond. Just because someone is following you or sends you a friend request does not mean that you have to connect with them or that they will connect with you. You should seek quality over quantity and associate yourself with like-minded individuals or companies that you support. It’s better to connect with a smaller group that you can interact with than to people in your network and no way to do business with or for them.
- Finally, you have to establish a relationship. Just because you start a conversation does not mean that you have a relationship. It’s almost like going out on a date and then assuming that you are in a relationship with the other person. Yes, you had a great conversation but what’s next? Is there a basis for continued conversation? Is there any way that you two can help each other? Always remember: people do business with their friends.
Managing your network is a lot like maintaining relationships with friends and family members except you communicate on a different level. See this week’s Networking Beyond the Business Card… Tip 2: Be personable, not personal.