Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Guest Blog by Terry's client Jennifer Hudson Taylor

THE VALUE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING

Social Networking can either be a time consuming waste in chasing quantity over quality or a valuable opportunity to make connections that turn into relationships that convert into real sales. While it is true the larger your follower base, the greater your opportunity for making those connections, but it is also true that target networking is more valuable than blind networking

For years advertisers have known that it is best to invest in markets that target people who are interested in their products and/or services. Target Networking works the same. You need to network and create friendships and relationships with people that have the same interests as you do and in the products and/or services you provide. You may have 20,000 Twitter followers or fans on Facebook, but if none of them have an interest in the content, products or services you provide, every time consuming post you make, or paid ad you invest in, is a waste of time. Networking may be financially free, but free of time it is not. 

Each network site operates on a different strategy, and therefore, you need to have a different strategy for your method of networking on each site you participate on. Here are a few suggestions for the two most popular network sites.

Facebook
If you have a business or as in my case, you're an author, it is best to create a unique page or group for your product that is separate from your personal Facebook profile. Here are a few reasons why:

1) You may want to post personal updates for family and close friends, photos of your children that you don't want available to the rest of the FB world--people you've never met and personally do not know.

2) Other people who do not personally know you may not want to friend you on FB, but they might be willing to join your page or group. It allows you a way to connect with them and reach them that you otherwise wouldn't have. 

3) Your personal profile has a limit of 5,000 friends, but there is no limit to the number of people that can join a page or group. 

4) You can only send one message to up to 20 friends on your profile, but you can send an update to all the people at once who have joined your page or group. 

5) You can create events on a page and invite people who have joined your page, as well as friends on your personal profile. Also, you can filter the invites based on friend lists you've created, or other groups people have joined who have also joined your page or group.

6) You can send personal messages, updates, and communicate with people--let them know you care about what is happening in their lives and accept some of the friend/page/group suggestions they send you. Share their posts and links if you think they are interesting or relevant to those who have joined your page. You are being interactive.

How to Target People Who Join Your Page with the Same Interests
1) If you choose to accept people as a friend on your personal profile who you do not know, check out their Info page and determine if they are interested in similar things, and check out their wall posts, if it is available, to see if they post offensive things, play FB games all day, or post gifts all over people's profiles. Accept people who appear to have good morals, who won't stalk others, harass you with games, who engage with others, who appear active, and who might be interested in the content of your posts, products or services. You can always suggest that a friend on your personal profile join your page or group. If anyone becomes a nuisance, you can always unfriend them.

2) If you take out a paid ad on your page or group, make sure you filter it with people who have interests in what you provide, but with whom you do not already have a connection.

Twitter
Unlike Facebook, Twitter is more about following people who post about things and news you're interested in. Each post is limited to 140 characters, no photos are allowed in posts, only links. People post a combination of statements, news, verses, quotes, personal status updates, or a list of other tweeters to check out. You can't send a private message, but you can send a direct message. You cannot prevent certain people from following unless you protect all your tweets, and require everyone to request to follow you.

While Facebook does have third-party applications, their use allows a higher chance of virus attacks and are mostly related to games. However, Twitter third-party applications are more geared toward how to better use Twitter and make the most of it rather than a bunch of useless games and time wasters like on Facebook. Here are a few of those valuable applications:



1) TweepML - Is a site that allows you to create and manage lists of Twitter users who are interested in and who post on particular subjects. This is a great way for you to "target" people to follow who may follow you in return. (http:tweepml.org

2) Tweeterfeed - Is a site that allows you to set up RSS feeds from blog sites that post on topics of interest or related to your content/products/services. You can set up these feeds to post on your Twitter account page. These will auto-post for you without you having to manually post them. You can continue to work, write, or do whatever it is you do. You still need to retweet other posts, send direct messages, and show that you are on Twitter so people don't feel neglected or that you aren't truly active or interactive. (http://twitterfeed.com)

3) Friend or Follow - This site shows who is following you and who is not following you and who you aren't following, but is following you. You can choose to unfollow people who aren't bothering to follow you back, but you must do so one user at a time. The reason you might choose to do this is because they aren't seeing anything you post anyway. Unless their posts are extremely valuable to you, it is a one-way relationship--if you can call it a relationship at all. You aren't likely networking, educating, friending, or selling to someone you follow, but won't follow you back. (http://friendorfollow.com)

4) Who Unfollowed Me? - This site allows you to see who unfollowed you and identifies a list of people are not following you back. (http://who.unfollowed.me)

5) TrueTwit - This site requires people to type in a key word to eliminate Twitter spammers. It will not accept new followers until they go through this process. Lots of tweeters use third-party applications to auto-follow people and auto-unfollow them. (http://truetwit.com)

6) Twitpic - This site allows people to post photos on Twitter, but I haven't actually used it. I'm only including it because it is the #1 Twitter application. (http://twitpic.com)

7) Bit.ly - A site that takes long links and shortens them and automatically posts them on Twitter for you. (http://bit.ly)

This is only a list of a few Twitter third-party applications as there are many more, but these are the ones I've found to be most helpful. Create lists of people who post on certain topics and people who follow you can also follow your lists. In fact, the more lists people include you on, your tweets are also being seen by those following their lists, even if they are not following you.

Please let me know if this post is helpful, and feel free to include any additional information in the comment section that you feel might be helpful to others.

10 comments:

Jessica R. Patch said...

Great information,Jennifer. Thanks.

Parenting Expert Brenda Nixon said...

Informative, motivational blog. Thanks for sharing Jennifer (and Terry).
I used twitter and LinkedIn for my business and keep it professional. My fave twitter tool is SocialOomph where I schedule tweets should I be way from my office or extra busy with a ms deadline.
I'm also on Facebook but, keep that more social for fam & friends altough I do mention my Tuesday radio show. On fb I post pics and other fun stuff so my friends see different dimensions of my life.
Thanks again - I'm going to check out some of your suggested links.

Lynette said...

Hey Jennifer, great to see you this past weekend. Thanks for this awesome summary! I'm going to print it out so I can go back over it and study it some more. Great post!

Lynette

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Jessica, Glad you found it helpful.

Brenda, That's why I love the fan page option on FB to promote my book, but use my profile to offer a more personal glimpse into my life.

Lynette, It was great seeing you as well. We need more writing workshops in the Carolinas.

Laura Drumb said...

Excellent information! Thanks for sharing. I've printed it out so I can look it over later in more detail as needed. Appreciate the opportunity to learn new and expanded info on a new field for authors.

Valerie Comer said...

Thanks, Jennifer. I just created a fan page yesterday. It just feels so awkward to put myself forward that way, but I've jumped in!

Thanks for all your tips.

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Laura, I hope it will be beneficial to you.

Valerie, Great for you! Christians are taught to walk humbly before the Lord and the idea of having a "fan" page doesn't sit well with most of us. We have to think of it in different terms of a Reader page.

Lisa Carter said...

I'm new to all of this and your post is so helpful and informative. Nice to meet you finally in Anderson. We do need to get more workshops going on for us Carolina girls.

Lisa Carter
Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder
www.lisacarterauthor.com

Angela Breidenbach said...

Not new to it, but hadn't learned all Jenn knows! I'll be referring back to this post as I go through the list :-)
Angie

Susie Cantrell said...

Thanks Jennifer (& Terry) for Sharing!
I agree with all others... This information is Valuable, especially since I'm just toddling at this point in my ministry. I appreciate all those who take time to share wisdome gained with others.
Blessings & Have a JOY-Full Day!
Love Ya! Susie :)