When it comes to networking for personal and more importantly business use, there are many benefits to be had and pitfalls to be avoided. If you are able to effectively engage your online community you can experience many advantages. We know that the initial connection is just the beginning. It begs many of us to ask what it really takes to grow and maintain an online community in a meaningful way.
Tip #1 – Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Patience is a key when you are initially growing your online network and even as you manage it on an ongoing basis. When “networking up” you may want to take a more strategic approach. Spend time doing research, try to see if there are connections that you may have in common, or a mutual interest or goal that connects you in some way. Even in the online world, people want to connect with people they like. Keep in mind that meaningful connections on social networks are worth much more than a large list filled with inactive accounts or illegitimate profiles.
Tip #2 – If You Want to Make Friends, Be Friendly
Before Google and MapQuest applications were invented for smartphones, one thing all of us have done at one point was ask someone for directions.
How does this translate to your online community?
-Use search terms within Facebook & Twitter related to your areas of expertise and find questions you could help answer.
-Visit LinkedIn groups to participate in the conversation as well as ask and answer questions.
-Monitor and respond to comments on your company blog and social sites daily.
-Identify at least 2-3 web articles per day to comment on.
Tip #3 – Give the People What They Want
As a rule, your content should be a good mix of:
-Current and relevant industry news that will be helpful to your prospects and customers.
-Informative information about your organization in a way that does not appear to be a sales pitch.
-Questions based on your customer pain points that you have identified.
-Mini social campaigns based around a theme to draw in your online audience.