The heart of social media is building relationships. You can have just 100 followers and never blog, and if you develop real relationships with people you can get work, business, information, referrals, free stuff and friendly visits.
Social media isn’t about accumulating followers, likes, shares, comments, newsletter signups or blog visits. Here’s how I build new relationships. My participation on social or in writing blog posts isn’t to attract people purely via the merits of my writing or SEO – that model has been proven to be highly questionable, with the odds of your content being found to be lower than winning PowerBall.
I follow liberally and often, unfollowing or even blocking people who sell followers, post pornography, never post, don’t follow back, or behave poorly. I participate in a lot of Twitter chats to meet new people, learn and discuss. My expectation with chats is to connect with people and start relationships, not say profound things that people will discuss for generations. Be personable, respond to real people, and don’t be so superior and removed from people that all you do is make quote posters of your own advice.
I use lists a lot. I spend a bit of time on my home feed, but spend a lot more time on one of several of my lists. Here’s what I do.
I have two lists where people are added via IFTTT. One is People I’ve Favorited, which is people who have posted a Tweet I’ve favorited. The other is Mentioned You, a list of people who mention me on Twitter. These lists have a lot of people. I skim through them, interacting with content, and when I notice someone I really enjoy talking with, I add them to another list. I also remove people who annoy me.
I have another two lists that I spend most of my time on – The Watchlist which has a little over 100 people, and People Who Say Things, which has just 10 members right now.
People who talk with me a lot on chats, but don’t ever see me interact with their content outside of chats are likely those who I don’t find to be very interactive. I’m not using Twitter as a feed of links to blog posts or articles to read. If I don’t see discussion or something I don’t have to go offsite for, I don’t interact with Tweets.
To sum it up, my interaction on Twitter tends to be on chats, with those who replied to something I’ve said, on my lists (primarily the four I mentioned) and my home feed. Steady interaction with a select number of people builds strong relationships. The result is connections that are strong. We will all happily connect on other networks, look forward to seeing each other in person, and will take phone calls from each other. Social media is social, and the goal for me is to turn conversations into relationships. And those relationships can lead to clients, jobs, referrals, mentions, opportunities, and just plain fun.