I can’t tell you how many people ask me how I can keep up with all my online social networking sites, and I wonder why everyone thinks it so time consuming.
The hardest part about social networking is getting started. You simply can not just set up an account invite everyone you can and then leave it alone. It takes some nurturing and attention to be successful. However, it does not have to drain every minute of every day from your schedule. So here are my tips on how to be successful at online social networking without letting it swallow up your life!
1. Have a purpose- think about who you are trying to reach and why
It is important that before you go forward with social media for your business that you consider who you are trying to reach. Next think about what that demographic’s biggest challenges are. Now figure out how you can help solve their problems or help overcome their challenges. This will help direct you to the next step: choosing the right sites and branding yourself for that specific consumer group.
2. Only use the sites that will serve you and your purpose the best.
Limit yourself to no more then 4 accounts (unless you have all the time in the world to dedicate to this thing). For me its:
I am on more then these sites (but then again, my job is to be online all the time) but I focus most of my energies on these 4 sites.
3. Make your account the best it can be!
So what do you do once you have chosen your select few? Set up a complete account. Include professional pictures (use all these accounts for business purposes- you can have separate accounts for your personal stuff like family photos and such), company information that is key word rich, your expertise, and plenty of good content that is helpful for your audience and your business. Whenever possible link all your accounts together and to your website. Also be sure to brand these networks whenever possible to reflect the image of your company.
4. Make new friends and keep the old…
Now you are set up and ready to roll! Where do you find contacts? First invite your collogues and contacts you already have to join you online. Most people are on at least one social networking site already so you should capture quite a few people you already know this way. Now join a couple of online groups that pertain to your purpose and start inviting the other members to be your “friend” or “link” to you. Also look at sending out an invitation via email and be sure to put your social links on your website so they are easy to find.
5. Social Networking = Building relationships!
Remember social networking does not work if you are not actively being social and building relationships. If you don’t make an effort to help others and build those relationships then this thing won’t work for you. Keep the social in social media.
6. Make time.
Now that you are all set up and have some good connections the hard part is really over. Now you need to set aside a little time each day that you can use to visit each of your sites, post new and relevant content and follow up on some messages. I recommend scheduling an hour per day to do this kind of maintenance work. If you are a blogger it will take a little more time because typically you need time to read some news articles or relevant material and it takes time to write so you will want more time scheduled if you plan on blogging. (Although you don’t need to post more then one blog a week unless you want to).
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