1. Make the right connections
It is no use just adding a whole pile of spammers who are going to clutter your walls and inboxes with garbage. They waste time and space and do not give you a very professional look. You need to be seen to be engaging with the right people and rubbing shoulders with the leaders in your industry. Above all you need to be speaking to the right people, the people who are actually looking for what you are offering.
It is much better to have fewer friends and followers who are in your field than thousands of spammers.
How do you find them?
Google search for people on facebook, youtube, and linkedin
Follow the leader. Check out the conversations he or she is having and follow them. Long tail follow them.
Set a Google alert for the leaders in your field and keep an eye on what they are up to and who they are talking to. Take a genuine interest and engage with the people they are engaging with.
Locate blogs and forums in your niche
Follow the key players in an organization, not just the organization itself.
2. Be really visible and linkable
Make sure your links are really visible everywhere. On your website, Facebook Page, business cards, at the end of emails. It used to be enough to leave your web address around, but not anymore. Make it really easy to like, link and connect in as many ways as possible with links, buttons, widgets and apps.
3. Keep the context right
When you are posting messages, comments and links remember where you are posting and keep it relevent to that platform. Twitter needs to be short and snappy with bit.ly links, facebook offers a multitude of options depending on what kind of page you are using. Business and Fan pages should be dynamic, lively current, useful and helpful. Personal pages can be a bit more personal but be careful not to be overly personal…perhaps the same way you would engage at an informal networking event. Linkedin should be approached with a business head. Do not spam any of the sites and engage with the right people wherever you can. Be polite, helpful, knowledgeable, and kind. Funny is good and so is inspiring and motivating, but be careful not to overdo it.
4. Study the Leaders
If you find someone who is getting lots of success with social media watch what they are doing and learn from them. In my experience, this is niche specific and you know your own niche. I watch Sarah Bradden on facebook, she gets around a 100 friend requests a day, so I watch to see what and how she is doing it. A word of warning though….make sure you stay true to yourself. Don’t copy outright, make it your own.
5. Measure your success by your level of Engagement
Try to take the long view, get passed return on investment and sales and know that if you are connecting with the right people and having good conversations this will pay off dividends. Document your good conversations so you remember them and the people you are engaging with.
6. Be Real
If you say something mean it and don’t stoop to flattery. Remember you are dealing with real people who have real feelings and treat them with respect. This includes not adding people to your lists if it is not appropriate. You can afford to be selective, it will pay off in the end.