Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Connect or Not to Connect: What Makes a Quality Connection in Social Media?

Recently I helped a professional client who had scores of unaccepted invitations to connect on LinkedIn, but who was skeptical of the process of connecting.

She didn't understand the value of connecting on LinkedIn and didn't care about "entering a popularity contest." Well, she was mostly right. It is not a popularity contest - or at least shouldn't be. But it is important to connect - selectively.

The same is true for Facebook and Twitter. I am noticing a trend of requests in LinkedIn groups of "let's all follow each other on Twitter and Like each others' Facebook Page!" So, in the interest of increasing followers and fans, many participate in this exchange.

Will it do them any good? To some degree, yes. But only in terms of getting bragging rights for the # of followers / fans and perhaps a little bump in SEO ranking (minimally). But for those who are trying to increase brand awareness and subsequently increase profits, that is the wrong way to go.

Think about this example to better understand:

During this unemployment crisis, many unemployment support groups have formed to help the unemployed.

Really? How much can networking with the unemployed help you become employed? Other than validation, that's it. Maybe they have a neighbor in your line of work that could help? That's a shot in the dark! The unemployed are also told to join some of the many networking associations - networking lunches abound and everyone is there to be networking toward their own interests!

Again - how much help is it for you to be networking with others in a WIFM (What's in it for me) situation.

Look for established groups where you can actually serve a purpose and reveal your strengths and abilities through participation in their causes.

Fish where the fish are! You have a business to grow. That is your primary purpose. You don't want to chase after connections, followers, or likes from people who serve no momentum for your goals. So... increased followers, likes, etc. are only productive if you have gathered the right audience.

Would you invite a bunch of plumbers to your art showing in hopes of selling paintings? No, you'd invite those who have exhibited an interest in your type of art. (no offense to plumbers!) So here are some tips on the value of connections for the Big 4 in Social Media plus Email Marketing.


Choose some connections based on shared industry pursuits so that they can be aware of your abilities if you are looking to leave your present position or move up.

Choose other connections based on what you can offer them in the way of your services / expertise.

Choose open groups to partake in discussions that have members that SEEK what you offer, not who also do what you do! In other words - POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS!

Choose industry groups if you are seeking knowledge to improve your services - but spend more time on the groups I mentioned above because your best education is your experience with customers.


Follow your competitors pages to find fans of theirs to follow. Like and comment on those followers' posts to attract them to your page.

Invite people one by one to your page. Personalize, share common interests, etc. Don't mass accumulate fans through like-swapping.

Stay actively engaged with these followers organically. Don't attract them to your page and then abandon them!


Attract followers with direct comments on their posts.

Follow tweeters back unless there is something objectionable or conflicting about their profile.

Monitor your mentions and DMs and respond!

Don't depend on schedulers and auto-responders to build your authentic following.

Auto-responders and social media schedulers do serve a purpose - especially when you are unable to post at times. But do not use them regularly or worse yet, exclusively. Sure you might get away with it for a while, but when your followers try to engage with you and you don't respond because you aren't even on your page to see it, you are relying too much on the robots and they aren't designed to engage you and your followers - that's impossible! And a big turn off to followers.


Attract subscribers and sharers by providing value, not promoting.

Create material that your desired customer would want and will follow you for.

Subscribe to other accounts carefully. Google makes everything you look at public! Protect your reputation by using privacy options where optional...

Email Marketing:

Attract subscribers organically - by providing value and interest relevant to your desired audience.

Create loyal subscribers with the 80 / 20 rule. 80% relevant content, 20% promotional. No spamming.

Track your reports to see who is reading your broadcasts. Test your effectiveness by using surveys, polls and targeted copy.

Use email follow-up auto-responders selectively and only if you have relevant information to provide in that manner. Remember, auto-responders treat people generically and that is a turn off if not used properly.

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