Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media – Step 3: Mingle

mingle - social networking, social mediaWe’re continuing in our series Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media.  If you missed the previous posts, check out…

Once you’ve had a chance to listen and observe how other people are using the social network it’s time to start mingling with others.  Here are 7 suggestions.

1) Take it slow

Getting started a social network is just like showing up for the first time at any social function.  If you walk into a circle of people having a conversation and take over the conversation by talking too much, people are going to think, “Who the heck is this guy/gal???” and walk away.  Begin with a low number of posts/updates/tweets.

2) Respond

Start by commenting on, replying to, or retweeting other people’s posts/tweets.  People like being responded to.  They like it when others help spread the word about their cause and content.  It’s like giving little gifts to the people in your network.  Generosity is appreciated in social media.  It’s also a great way to get noticed and create good will that will lead others to respond to your updates/tweets.

3) Don’t stalk

While it’s good to respond to others, don’t go overboard and comment on or reply to everything somebody says, especially if it’s someone who doesn’t know you personally.

4) Provide good content

If read a really useful article or see a great video, go ahead and post it.  Just be selective in what you post.

5) Don’t expect others to respond

99% of people who read a post/update/tweet, simply move on. Some people are just on social networks to lurk (observe), get news, or be notified of interesting content.  Everyone is busy.  Everyone is scanning hundreds of updates/tweets a day. Even someone who is really engaged, can only respond to a small % of them.  People who have large networks don’t have the time to respond to every comment, reply, or mention.  So, don’t let a lack of responses discourage you.  Just be grateful for those who do respond.

6) Grow your network with common sense

Some people get all caught up in the size of their social media networks.  Don’t.  Don’t be in a rush to grow your friend/follower count as big as you can as fast as you can.  Gradually add friends, family, colleagues.  When you meet new people offline try to connect with them online.  When someone in your network responds to someone else or passes along someone else’s content, check out that other person and see if they’re someone you’d like to add to your network.

7) Engage with people personally and privately

While most social networking happens in public, what you do privately can really strengthen relationships. In Twitter automated, “thank you for following” messages have become despised by many.  So, sending a private message that is obviously hand typed really stands out and shows a person they matter to you.  Sending a private message when you first add a person to your network is great way to start the relationship. Beyond that, just keep your eyes open for ways to engage people privately.

Have you got any other suggestions for people who are just starting to mingle in a social network?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

4 Responses to “Practical Steps to Getting Started in Social Media – Step 3: Mingle”

  1. Thanks for the social network advice. It was very helpful!

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