We spend a lot of time on social media networks – updating, sharing, liking, connecting. Once we have made our connections and work hard to continue to make more, we must remember to reconnect with those we have met and shared with along the way. It can be so easy to say, “Whew, I received X new Facebook Likes this week” or “I got X new Twitter Followers”. But, what happens after that? We all know what we are supposed to do. We know interaction is key, we know connections lead to more connections, we know being active is crucial, but do we really remember it in all aspects and in all spots as well?
It can all be very overwhelming because there are so many social media networks out there and each has its own connection flow. There are a few easy ways to accomplish maintaining those connections and paying attention to them.
1. Set up reminders to check for comments and feedback on a regular basis
You may have a setup where you receive email notifications for comments and feedback on your own blog or sites that you write for; however, do not rely on these. I have had issues where my contact form was filled out and sent to me, but I never received the email notification. This has actually happened quite a few times. So, instead of relying on those notifications I set up reminders. For example, I click the Feedback button on my website’s dashboard every Saturday. Even though I try to click that button every time I log in, if I am in a hurry I often forget. However, the reminder to check it every week forces me to log in just to check for feedback.
2. Create a social media calendar and stick with it
Some people are able to use a social media calendar very effectively and routinely. Designating specific days per week and/or times per day can be very helpful. For example, if you choose to market on Monday for Facebook, Tuesday for Twitter, Wednesday for Pinterest, and so on, you can not only consistently post, but you can also regularly support your followers. This is a great way to organize your social media time and remember to try different things that may work for you – not every type of schedule works the same for every person.
- Set a time of day, not just a day of week. Specifying the times of day for social networking may seem like over-organizing, but it is really not. We all know that participating in social media networking can be a huge time-sucker if you are not careful and disciplined. So, consider not only specific days per week, but times per day to participate.
- Use your posting time as connection time. If you use a social media calendar for marketing, take the time while you are already on the network to keep up with your connections. If you designate Thursdays for Google+ then make the most of your time there by not only marketing your work, but by connecting with the people in your circles. Splitting up marketing time versus networking time can be counterproductive depending on the amount of sites in which you participate. I have found that (for me) once I am on the website I can accomplish everything needed from marketing to networking in one session, rather than splitting them up.
- Remain a little flexible. Although a social media calendar is a great idea, remember that if you see something eye-catching from a connection on a different day then you should share it/like it/retweet it. You may see a post that grabs your attention on an off day from your calendar. Do not ignore it or plan to revisit it later because chances are that you may not go back to it – remember to remain flexible so that you can support your connections when the post strikes you.
3. Create email folders and filters
If you count on email notifications to let you know when you have feedback, then it is a good idea to designate specific folders and filter your emails into those folders as they come in. This way you do not have to fish through hundreds of emails to get to those that require attention. Whether it is for feedback, comments, or direct emails from others, set up a folder and folder structure that allows you to visit one place in your inbox where you can view all actionable emails and reply to them. You should also consider a reminder as discussed in #1 to check the folder(s) on a regular basis.
- You might also consider a special email address for all communications from your connections. This way you know that every email coming into that inbox is feedback from a connection that needs your response.
- If you use an auto-responder, try to find the time to follow up with a personal email. You may very well receive hundreds, if not more, emails per day from connections you have made. This might be the reason you use an auto-responder. But, auto-responders are very impersonal, very obvious to the recipient, and probably do not answer any questions they may have. If you can, try to respond to connections directly. This shows that you care about their feedback enough to write them back. Keeping connections is just as important as obtaining them.
Support is a two-way street. Let’s face it, connections work both ways. We cannot simply be the takers; we must also give. If a connection endorses you on LinkedIn, take a look at how you can endorse them in return. If a connection retweets a Tweet of yours, take a look at their recent Tweets for something you might like to share or a reason to Mention them. Paying attention to your connections is crucial to online success for both sides, camaraderie, and mutual respect. Respond to your readers, interact with your fans, help your comrades, and stay connected.
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