It may not be particularly dynamic or sexy, but slow, organic growth is the key to social networking. So often formulas and techniques are suggested to build your network as fast as possible, but invariably these tactics are not embraced by digital communities. By choosing to adopt these tactics, you may find that your motives are questioned and your commitment to authentic, genuine connection found lacking.
So what can you do to ensure that you continue to grow your following in order to foster strong relationships? Well, I would like to suggest that the best way to do this is to invest time and energy in the networks you have chosen to focus on. Search according to location, interests, profession, etc., check out the twitter packs wiki, add bloggers that you admire and ask your new contacts who they recommend.
However, unless you can show that you are an active member of the community, all of that effort will be wasted, and this is why you need to build slowly but surely. By engaging in conversations, contributing meaningful content, linking generously, and participating in memes, you’ll soon discover that you’re attracting like-minded individuals as well as discovering interesting new contacts.
My advice – resist the urge to follow the social network equivalents of get-rich-quick schemes. You’ll find it far more beneficial to take it slow and steady.
Organic is a good word. It leads me to one of my key words for this year: sustainable. Organic growth tends to create something sustainable. Especially with networking. Building relationships takes time. I don’t believe any get get numbers quick scheme will be sustainable because it takes time to get to know someone. The “get there quick” way builds a house of cards by not allowing for sufficient time to build the sense of trust which creates a sustainable relationship.
Good luck with the launch! Go slow, go organic, be sustainable!
A nice article, and an interesting insight to the ‘get known’ aspect of blogging.
I’d like to think I agree with you, and will certainly give this methodology a try.
Thanks for the tips. 🙂
Think sustainable is a great word, Steve. That’s absolutely key to all relationships forged either online or off. Otherwise those connections remain superficial, don’t they?
Matt, I was thinking of those twitter profiles that you sometimes visit where they’ve got 23 updates and are following 1500 & being followed by 132. When I see that it makes me think that there has been some kind of fundamental misunderstanding. Far better to take your time and invest in these connections.
I love this post, and the overall feel of your writing. I have been on Twitter for about 5 weeks, and as of today I have 200 followers (and slightly more that I am following.) While I know that is nothing compared to lots of people, I feel very good about it.
I am trying to look at the growth of my social network, my blog & online business in terms of what I want to accomplish over the course of a year, not a week or a month. Its hard, and I still check my analytics every day, but I do believe that it takes time to build something of value.
Thanks for the encouragement!
Hilary – I think you’ve got a fantastic attitude towards Twitter. It does take time to build a network of meaningful connections and, despite the impression of speed & pace that Twitter has because of its format, it really is no different. You still need to invest time & energy into it, otherwise you miss out on so much that it has to offer.
I have enjoyed reading your stuff. It was only your persistence at leaving a comment in 24 hours that got me to write this. I am hoping to gain good incite to social network, though I am not sure why. I am the only that has a blog that says, “Why am I doing this?”. Then a delete it a month later. Maybe I will learn to stop being the social introvert and come out and play like my good friend and mentor, Jamie Grove.
Good luck with this blog. I will continue to follow.
Matt – Glad you’ve enjoyed reading the blog. Social networking can be extremely beneficial for both business & personal reasons. Hoping to persuade you over the coming posts!
“Building Relationships takes time” – spot on.
In this regards, I loved the term ROII (Return on Investment in Interaction) coined by my friend Rajesh Setty. Every interaction (over twitter, blog, email, one to one) takes time and time is the most valuable resources we all have. So if we start focusing on delivering “value” in our interactions, we automatically start generating an idea-rich network of like-minded individuals.
It certainly takes time but is way too rewarding!
P.S: I wrote about “Delivering Value through Interactions” at – http://qaspire.com/2009/02/16/delivering-value-through-interactions-and-roii/
Pingback: Online Networking & the Personal Touch « AmyPalko