Social Networking is NOT Chat

Social Networking is all about Socializing ~ Tamar and friends at SES NYC 2007 ~ Photo by Search Marketing Gurus ~ Click photo to visit them

~ Social Networking is all about Relationships ~ Exceptional Social Networking User Tamar and friends at SES NYC 2007 ~ Photo by Search Marketing Gurus ~

Are you missing the power of Social Networking and especially Twitter by trying to use Social Media sites as though they were chat? I ask this because many on Twitter are limiting the number of users they follow – most likely to reduce the number of Tweets they receive. If you have a business, blog or Web site, limiting yourself in this way will greatly limit your success online.

The simple solution is to have separate Twitter accounts for friends, family and business or use other methods for keeping in touch with them such as chat. Your business Social Networking sites can be dedicated completely to your business – and they do not need to function like one-on-one chat!

Social Networking is all about NETWORKING and for that to be effective you must be willing to follow those who are important to you. If you refuse to follow them why would they follow you? [They won't!] If they don’t follow you your networking will fail. Read on to find out who else you should be following to grow your business.

First we need to understand what the goal of Social Networking should be because many people just don’t seem to “get it”. Seth Godin made some very strong points in a video in SmallBizBee‘s post Seth Godin on Social Networking and How to Do it Right:

  1. “Superficial” Networking is “a waste of time”!
  2. Counting sheer numbers is “worthless” (followers, friends, subscribers, etc.).
  3. Helping People Achieve Their Goals“…Do this “Reliably and Repeatedly” so that “over time people have an interest in helping you achieve your goals because they have a stake in it”.

So how do you ensure you are not counting worthless numbers and engaging in “superficial” networking? Simple. First,  understand What Social Media is and is NOT. Then see point three above and burn it into your thought process or write it on your white board or stick it on your PC – whatever it takes to remember this:

The exact path to getting Social Networking to achieve your goals is by HELPING OTHERS ACHIEVE THEIRS!

How can we do that? First, identify who is important to your goals:

  1. Fans of your products or services – especially if they are vocal, blog, or are very active in Social Media.
  2. Potential Customers and Clients – go out of your way to offer assistance, answers, and suggestions.
  3. Collaborators – others with similar goals or who share the same potential buyers, clients or customers.
  4. Mentors – people who know what you would like to know more about.
  5. Influencers / Thought Leaders – focus on those IN YOUR NICHE and those who are generous and very active in Social Networking. (We’re working on a list to share.) You will get far better results from that than you will pursuing the same famous individuals everyone else is contacting.

Determine what you can do to help them achieve their goals:

  1. Read their bios on Social Networking sites, visit their blogs, read their about pages – find out what they do best and share that information with others.
  2. Share their best content. If you use our Comment Then Share strategy you will be benefiting them and you at the same time!
  3. Use MrTweet to recommend those you admire; writing a strong, specific recommendation is key here. Include #followfriday in your recommendation to get more visibility for them.
  4. Go out of your way to send business to potential collaborators and mentors. DO be clear on how strongly you can recommend them including explaining whether you only know them online and do NOT know their work personally.
  5. Ask those you admire intelligent questions – preferably in the comments of their blog whenever possible. When someone takes the time to answer DO be sure to acknowledge the answer. (Subscribe to the comment and check for replies at Twitter and elsewhere.)

Observe These Unwritten Rules of Social Networking:

  1. Do NOT use your accounts as one-way broadcast stations. Interacting to create relationships is key!
  2. Do NOT only post your own information and links. You can include yours but make most of what you share about others in your niche or of interest to them.
  3. Do check links BEFORE you share them so you don’t get blamed for the misdeeds of others.
  4. Do NOT fill your timeline with the same Tweet over and over; you will look like a spammer! For the same reason, do not RT or DM fads like how to get a zillion followers automatically.
  5. Be careful who you recommend and retweet because what you share reflects on you.
  6. Follow those who follow you unless they are spammers or post objectionable content. (It IS a good idea to block obvious spammers.)
  7. You are NOT expected to read every Tweet! Who could possibly do that? If you want to send someone a DM (direct message) also send them an @User to let them know you did. DO keep up with your @ messages. It may not be possible to keep up with DMs. More on how to make sure you see what is most important to you on Twitter in an upcoming post.
  8. Do NOT expect to receive instant responses or to be able to always respond instantly yourself. The busier someone is the longer it may take, but do answer as soon as you can.
  9. If someone fails to reply do NOT assume they are ignoring you or annoyed at you. Assume they may not have seen your communication or are very busy. Follow up intelligently and consistently.
  10. If you send a lot of Tweets use su.pr and CoTweet to spread them out so you don’t fill up the timeline of people who follow you who have few or very inactive followers. More on that in the next post on how to be more effective on Social Networking sites.
  11. If someone Tweets your content share theirs. (If theirs is not of the quality you prefer, retweet something they have tweeted instead). You can also thank them; however, many very active users do not because that would fill their timelines with thank yous and annoy their followers. They are likely to share something else for you instead – and that is even better!
  12. When someone recommends you, thank them. If you admire them do make the time to recommend them at MrTweet and for #followfriday and elsewhere.

5 Ways to Cultivate an Active Social Network - Created by Intersection Consulting

~ ~ ~ Five Ways to Cultivate an Active Social Network ~ ~ ~ Attribution:Intersection Consulting

Social Networking Success Tips:

  1. Regularly share quality content from your most-admired sources across multiple Social Networks. (How to do this efficiently will be spelled out in an upcoming post.)
  2. Follow and interact with those who are active and who regularly support the efforts of others by retweeting and recommending them at MrTweet and elsewhere.
  3. Create a list of important blogs in your niche and those that contribute to your learning. Regularly visit them, leave quality comments, share what they write in Social Networking sites. WHY? Because every time you do you are building a relationship with them and relationships are what count.

I want to make this even more clear. Everyone is busy and most people are not thinking about you EXCEPT when you cross their path – so if you want them to be interested in your goals you must:

  1. Be interested in and assisting them with theirs!
  2. Cross their path regularly by commenting in their blogs and sharing their content. Do this for the right people and they will do the same for you!
  3. Link to and recommend their sites from yours.
  4. Follow and recommend them at Technorati, MyBlogLog, Blog Catalog and across Social Networking sites.

We can not promise results from what you do from every person you promote, but we CAN promise that many will and when someone crosses our path we DO go out of our way to assist them. Sometimes that is with recommendations, reviews, Tweets and Stumbles and sometimes it is with specific suggestions to improve what they’re doing. Often it is both.

Below you will find a list of specific things you can do to improve your Social Networking relationships. We are using our own accounts as examples; however, we want it to be clear that you, too, can use these same sites to achieve your own goals and to support the efforts of others.

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If you have questions, ask in the comments. If you need personalized assistance we will provide it. We will write up some step-by-step how-to instructions for many of these and link them to this post to make it even easier. If you want to cross our path regularly here are some great ways you can help us:

[NOTE: You have to have accounts at each of these sites to take most of these actions. Pick the ones you know how to do or already have and we'll teach you any others you are willing to learn.]

WHERE TO CONNECT WITH GROWMAP:

  1. Follow GrowMap on Twitter.
  2. Recommend GrowMap on MrTweet – provide a strong reason and include #followfriday.
  3. Leave comments and questions in our dofollow blog. Be sure to take advantage of KeywordLuv to select your own Anchor Text and add your Twitter ID so we and our readers can follow and retweet you. If you aren’t sure how just ask and we’ll assist. Use our comment then share strategy to drive more traffic to your site and your Twitter account too.
  4. Tweet our posts. Use su.pr to maximize traffic to your Tweets.
  5. Review our posts at StumbleUpon. Reviews can include a personal comment, an image, and excerpts from the post. Nothing drives traffic as well as we have from StumbleUpon. If you’re short on time at least give our post(s) a thumbs-up and consider adding a review later.
  6. Subscribe to us, friend us and most importantly review GrowMap on StumbleUpon. (If you don’t know how we’ll show you – how-to post in the works.)
  7. Subscribe to GrowMap at FriendFeed.
  8. Bookmark your favorite GrowMap posts on Delicious. Be sure to use the tags you can find at the bottom of each post. You can see which GrowMap posts other Delicious users have saved.
  9. Favorite GrowMap on Technorati. (Click Favorite It just under the Authority number in the top box on the page.) [NOTE: Be sure to save a copy of any reviews you post to Technorati because they often disappear. It is faster to paste them back in than rewrite them.]
  10. Write a review of GrowMap on Technorati. (Scroll down to find the review box in the center of the page.)
  11. Link to GrowMap from your blog. Ask and we’ll suggest specific posts most relevant to your site.
  12. Go to the GrowMap MyBlogLog page and click Join Community (on the right under tools).
  13. Visit GrowMap Blog Catalog Blog Page and click Add to Favorites; then visit GrowMap Blog Catalog profile and click Add to Friends.
  14. If you use Google Reader or another RSS reader that allows you to share us please do.
  15. If you are active on Digg, Reddit or other Social Networks and any of our content fits your niche thank you for sharing it.
  16. If you are a regular in a forum or answering comments and notice that our answers would be useful for others we would appreciate your recommendations.

Let us know where you’ve been active and we will immediately reciprocate. We spend far more time on Social Media than most anyone else you know so we can regularly expand your efforts each time you cross our path online or here. Write about us in your blog and we will write a post than incorporates your business with appropriate anchor text into it here. We will eventually do that anyway even if you do not give us a heads up.

There is far more you can do in Social Networking sites and we’ll be explaining that in the future. As you can see, achieving any kind of consistency across so many different sites is not likely to happen by chance. That is why we are actively working on a complete process we can all use for tracking our Social Networking activities.

For now all you need to do is understand the above concepts. If you are already active in Social Media apply any you can. If you aren’t or you need assistance watch for our very next post:

Coming this week: a step-by-step process for efficiently using Social Networking.

To be sure you see it Subscribe to our RSS feed (if you use a Feed Reading Program or Subscribe via email to get updates by email.


SOCIAL NETWORKING RESOURCES:


SOCIAL NETWORKING DIRECTORIES:


BEST SOCIAL NETWORKING BOOKS:

There are dozens of books on Social Networking; however, those below are some of the very best. The first is by Tamar Weinberg, pictured in the photo at the top of this post and well know and loved by many online. You may remember her unique StumbleUpon Avatar of a grinning goat wearing braces.

The second is by Chris Brogan, whose Social Media blog is ranked number three today on the AdAge Power150 Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs. There are over 65 recommendations for Chris Brogan at MrTweet – the most I’ve come across.

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Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of GrowMap.com, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.