I have always been about quality. I know a lot of people, but value my few close friends. When it comes to clothes, I would rather have one quality, custom outfit than a dozen that were just OK. And when it comes to social media, I want to build a quality network of people rather than a massive list of names.
The first step in building a community is to develop relationships with people who have similar interests to yours and then engage in conversations, offering something of value and interest to them.
My goal is to build my networks strategically. I don’t add followers, friends or connections just because I can. I add quality people that have some personal or professional connection to me. To many, my networks may appear to be rather small, but they are enormous in their value to me.
In addition to my blog and email list subscribers, I am building the following social communities:
I have 293 connections in my network on LinkedIn made up of people I have met in a professional setting, including previous employers, clients and prospects and those I’ve met at both live and online events. I am very comfortable inviting the people I’ve met to connect with me on LinkedIn. I know I have value to offer and want to remain in touch, even with prospects that never become clients. I always include a personal message to them and hope that they value connecting with me as well.
If someone invites me to connect that I have never met, I review their profile, looking at their picture (absolute must have), basic info and profile summary for common interests or business synergies. I view all people as potential business partners, future clients or someone who can open the door to an opportunity that is important to my business.
I have 174 Facebook friends made up of life long friends and golf buddies, business contacts and social media contacts. Facebook is a wonderful place to meet people and interact with them. I love getting invitations from people from all over the world to become a friend. The stream of activity on your wall can help you learn a lot about someone. You can be more casual while staying professional in your conversation. I connect with all types of people on Facebook, including friends, colleagues and folks I meet networking because Facebook enables me to build Friend Lists, private groupings of friends based on my personal preferences, so I can organize my conversations and privacy settings.
Every business should have a Facebook Business Page where you can make connections in a business casual atmosphere. Facebook provides many capabilities to enhance your Business Page to make it more interactive and interesting. Provide a steady stream useful and relevant information and those who are interested will become fans. Although some people send out requests for fans, I prefer to let the list build organically. I am thrilled when I see someone new become a fan. I currently have 66 fans and I am thankful to you all!
With 914 followers and 742 friends (those I follow), Twitter is like going to an event and talking with everyone around you. The open conversation is very casual, but a lot of useful information can be found. My criteria is simple: I follow interesting people – not robots, spammers, automated accounts or adult content. A real picture of you will more likely get me to check your profile to see if there is a connection. Use a custom background image on your Twitter page to add important information about you and your value. If I don’t know who you are or what you have to offer, I probably won’t follow.
Bottom line is I’m very open to connecting, friending and following interesting people. I look forward to connecting with you.
What is your criteria for building your social media network? Share your strategy with us.