After inviting contacts to connect with you on your professional social network of choice and building your network, you’ll need to nurture it to ensure further growth. Use the tips below to keep your contacts coming back for more:
- Stay on topic. Your contacts have connected with you for a reason; make sure that you remain true to that. For example, if you’ve presented yourself as a healthy living coach, then your updates should be focused on healthy living topics not the latest celebrity gossip or hottest technology gadgets (unless they are related to healthy living, of course).
- Stay active. We all get busy but don’t disappear for months on end only to return, apologize for your absence, and hope to rebuild relationships. Prioritize social networking and actively participate. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours a day socializing; it means spend some time each day on your social networking site of choice. Many people find it helpful to pre-schedule some non-time-sensitive posts a month or two ahead. This ensures that should you temporarily need a reprieve, you’ll still have some relevant content appearing on your social profile pages.
- Share the love. If you’d like others to recommend you, do the same for them. For example, Follow Friday (#FF) on Twitter remains a popular way to grow a Twitter following. Many people return the favor. Thus, if you recommend them, they’ll likely recommend you.
- Foster relationships. Periodically reach out to individuals to see how they’re doing, just as you would in real life. Do this with no agenda other than to show you care. You might also follow up with people you bumped into at events to let them know you enjoyed seeing or chatting with them.
- Continue sharing worthwhile, engaging content. The more relevant and engaging, the better as others will be more likely to share it with their networks. Don’t be afraid to ask others to spread it, either. For example, many people will retweet if you simply ask them to. With that in mind, consider adding a call to action to spread the word.
- Be available for comments and questions. If you’ve just shared some controversial industry news, chances are high that your followers will have questions or comments. Make sure that you’re available to answer questions and acknowledge comments. If you have prescheduled these updates, make sure that you anticipate comments. It’s also helpful to turn on notifications so that you are immediately notified of new activity on your social network pages.
Staying on topic, staying active, sharing the love, building relationships, sharing engaging content, and being available work together to nurture your growing professional social network. If it sounds like a lot of work, you’re right, it is, but it doesn’t have to consume your entire day. Consider using social networking tools to automate some less essential tasks such as prescheduling some posts, using RSS feeds to find a steady supply of relevant topics to discuss, and setting notifications so that you are alerted whenever your account receives new comments.