With dozens of online social networks begging for our attention and new ones popping up nearly every day it can seem an overwhelming task to start building an online network and presence. And really who has the time?
Firstly I think anyone who has the time to spend at a physical networking event has the time to spend on line building their online brand. And secondly it probably won’t take as long as you think it will.
The key is starting small. Lots of people feel (or are advised) that they need to be on lots of social networks and that they need to be updating constantly.
This quickly leads to burn out and that feeling of what on earth should I write about? Many people who start this way flame across the social network sky like a shooting star – an all too fleeting thing of beauty.
My recommendation to anyone starting out on this journey is to choose one of the ‘big three’ networks and start there. Many professionals choose to start with LinkedIn because they are already familiar with that platform but there is also Twitter and Google Plus.
And yes I have deliberately not included Facebook. Facebook is a wonderful platform for communicating with family and friends but it is not the best platform for building a professional, online brand.
So pick the platform that you like the best and let’s get started! (And if you’re not on any platform as yet then I do recommend starting with LinkedIn simply because of its professional networking credentials).
In line with starting small and avoiding online fatigue here is a ‘recipe’ that I’ve recommended to clients in the past:
- Post one update a week. This can be something you’ve written, or sharing something someone else has written (either an article or resharing their update).
- Comment twice a week on something someone else has shared. If you like the piece enough to share it yourself then that counts as your weekly update as well – you could consider it two actions for the price of one almost!
- ‘Like’ one update a day.
Try this for a month and see how you go. If you want to update, comment or ‘like’ more often than outlined above then go for it – these are minimum guidelines!
By the way if someone comments on any of your updates or any of your comments on other people’s updates then you do need to be prepared to respond. Bear that in mind when you’re doing your online updating – it’s fine to take a couple of hours to respond, especially if the comment comes in whilst you’re asleep (!) but don’t go for days before responding if at all possible.
Once you’ve established the rhythm of updating, commenting and liking on one network ( a process that usually takes a couple of months) then you’re ready to branch out to the next social network of your choice.
Note – this is not mandatory. Many very successful people choose to concentrate their efforts on one network and that is fine. If you do branch out to a new network and decide it is not for you, then feel free to close that account down and return to your first platform.
Well, you might be thinking, that’s all well and good but what should my updates be about?
What an excellent question!
I’m all out of time now but let’s talk about that in my next post shall we?