No matter which social networking sites you choose to use, and I suggest you use them all, you must find ways to increase the number of people interested in what you have to say and in what you do and write about. Otherwise, you efforts to network will leave you without the contacts you want to create. (If you are unclear about the different social networks, read my last blog post.)
I’m not so sure that “working cyberspace” is that much different than “working a room.” To make people want to give you their business card or to call you later, which in the case of social networking amounts to befriending you on Facebook, linking with you on LinkedIn or following you on Twitter, you must try to get in contact with as many people as possible and show them they can gain something by doing so. You must prove they need you. To accomplish this goal, you must prove you have expertise and that expertise will be useful to them.
To gain followers, friends, and tweeple, here are a few tips:
- The key to success with all of these social networking sites comes in sharing useful information. Share what you know. Share links. Share videos. Share tips. Give away as much as you can. Give away even your best information. Don’t worry that you won’t have more to give; you’d be surprised at how much information you possess, and in most cases people need to hear the same information multiple times before it truly sinks in.
- Have a conversation now and then. Get to know the tweeple, friends and contacts that follow you. Get to know the other people you follow. Spend a little time each day simply letting people know you have read what they have posted by commenting on it.
- “Retweet,” share or “like” those links or status updates that you feel are valuable. This means that you pass along the great information others provide to your followers. Share what other people know. Don’t be scared to let other’s know about your competition. Support your competition. They will, in turn, support you.
- Post regularly. If you don’t post once or twice a day, you will miss important networking opportunities. Also, it takes this amount of “showing up” to create an online presence on these sites.
If all of this seems overwhelming—especially on two or three sites, commit to automating them. Here are two more tips to accomplish this:
- You can, for example, sign up for www.ping.fm. This free service will allow you to send a status update and a shortened link to all three networks at one time.
- You can also schedule your updates, but www.ping.fm won’t do this for you. If you want to schedule status updates to all three social networking sites at once—and you want to do this for free, you’ll need to look into www.hootsuite.com. There you can link to all your social networking accounts (including www.ping.fm) and schedule updates. Scheduling updates means you can enter 10, 20, 30 or more updates and have them post without you having to do anything at all other than initially enter them and schedule their posting time.
The downfall to posting so many updates lies in the fact that you never get online and interact with anyone in your social networks. Remember, the whole idea lies in getting involved in social networking. I know…you are writers…you want to write. You must, however, put on a socializer’s hat or networker’s hat for at least a little bit of time each week and get out there in cyberspace and connect with other people—your prospective book or product buyers.
Tomorrow we look at another platform-building element any writer can handle: blogging.