Jun 052013

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By Dr. Earl R Smith II

Most people who use any of the social media sites do it poorly and with any serious thought. I spend a lot of time coaching others on how to make the most of the potential of social media. During those engagements, I have seen a number of recurring patterns that, if avoided, greatly increase the benefits they get from time spent.

One of the reasons that people get experience poor results from social media sites is that it is so easy to get started and even easier to get sucked up in what seems like the its principal advantage – the ability to make lots of new connections. This seduction is the same no matter which of the many very good sites you are using. What is true for Twitter is also true for Facebook and Linked In.

Reflexive Response

STRANGE-FRIENDS-dogs-13657812-660-425I’d like to focus initially on Twitter; although, as I’ve said, the experience for most users is the same across the social media platforms. If you have a Twitter account, think about what it was like when you first set it up. You had no followers and, even when you began to get some, the numbers grew depressingly slowly.

Now Twitter, like all the other sites, realizes that a large number of relatively unconnected accounts do not make for a very vital social network. They help you to expand your network by suggesting others that you might want to connect with. This is a great service as it looks at the connections that you have and suggests similar ones.

Of course, there is a downside that you will almost immediately discover. If you initial contact list is full of hookers, halfwits and scammers, that’s what you will get as suggestions. However, if you spend some effort building a focused group of followers, Twitter will help you get more like the ones you have. Your reflexive response is to build your numbers as quickly as possible. Most people are relatively unselective as they try to make it to the first major level – having at least a thousand followers. But remember the old acronym – GIGO – garbage in, garbage out!

Being Selective Yields Coherence

It makes no difference if you have a few hundred followers or several thousand. The issue is how relevant each one is to your interests. One of the best ways to maximize your return from your social media accounts is to develop a carefully thought out set of criteria for the contacts. Then use those criteria to select new contacts. It also makes great sense to spend some time on a regular schedule pruning the tree – unfollowing those on your lists that don’t meet those criteria.

Here’s a way to think of the process. You are building a very valuable list of contacts, friends and followers. The better job you do the more valuable the list will be. Be selective and the return from your efforts will increase. If you want some tips on how to do this, try Cleaning Up Your Twitter Account

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