Social networking, once a VIP party, has become a raucous frat party as the prevalence of social media has exploded. Time is also of the essence and many small businesses and entrepreneurs are feeling the pinch of fitting social networking into their already packed business schedules.
Morgan Mason, a small business owner, says, “As King Solomon ruled, we need to cut ourselves in half to do it all. Unfortunately, a half of me does not perform as well as a whole does.”
How can you break through the haze and reach the people who will help you or your business reach your end goals? Here are some effective tips to help you tune up your social networking for better marketing.
1. Clean out your social closet.
Go through your social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc) and purge yourself of unnecessary followers.
“I connect with (or follow) only people that I actually know. And respect,” says entrepreneur Dave Nelson. “As a result, even though I was one of the first 99,000 members of LinkedIn, and 99,990,000 members have followed, today I have fewer than 800 connections. But they’re real connections. When I ask them for something, I usually get it. And when they ask me for something, I’m happy to assist.”
Focus on quality over quantity and cut out any distractions. Going forward, only connect with people who will add value or who you believe you or your business can help.
2. Use the tools provided!
The majority of social media sites offer tools to help you organize your followers and/or help position yourself to get involved in conversations of interest, such as Twitter lists and LinkedIn groups.
LinkedIn groups are a great way to get involved in career-related discussions. These groups enable members to start conversations with one another and share pertinent information, such as articles, networking events, and on.
Using these tools will help you utilize your time more effectively, get information quicker, and help you keep abreast on pertinent information.
3. Help people regularly.
This tip is crucial. Networking is NOT all about you.
99.9% of the best networkers are connectors, meaning that they consistently connect people within their networks. If you go out of your way for others, they are likely to go out of their way for you. Networking is all about give and take, so make sure you are not only taking.
4. Break it into manageable goals.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by social networking, especially when you pair it with everything else you must get done as a business or entrepreneur. Establish weekly goals, in order to break the big picture in to smaller, more manageable chunks.
For instance, one week you could make your goal to connect or reconnect with 3-5 people. If you reach out to someone, make sure you establish or work to establish a solid connection. Again, quality is more important here than quantity. Make your time count.
5. Take it one step at a time.
Many people get too caught up in trying to make a big impact in their efforts at one time. When it comes to social networking, every little bit counts, just like many other things in life.
Even if you only have ten extra minutes between meetings, reach out to someone on Twitter who tweeted at you or someone who looked at your profile on LinkedIn. You never know—the smallest effort could make a huge impact.
What do you do to make your social networking count?
Image: s_falkow (Creative Commons)