Nurture social connections

Now that I’m in my twenties, I have begun to notice that some of my social relationships require concerted effort. Others have been drastically simplified. My social ties have ebbed and flowed and my relationships are noticeably changing.

This reflection has led me to some important social media conclusions as well.  Finding new connections is clearly an important social media aim on many levels, but what about the value in the connections you already have?

The lesson here is simple – sometimes, instead of spending 2 hours a day trying to muster up new contacts and leads, you may be better served focusing on your already existing connections. This can range from Retweeting something meaningful, to emailing them a job posting on LinkedIn, to sending them an awesome YouTube video that you think they might enjoy. Nurturing your existing social connections (who likely already care what you have to say) will give you considerably more active fans, followers and friends.

Be Real

Contrived and overly aggressive “selling” language will often serve as a turn-off for your connections, particularly those who know you in a less professional capacity.

Turn Social Connections into Vocal Fans by Being Real

If you’re talking about something important to you (or a product you feel passionately about), chances are your friends and followers want to hear your personal thoughts, as opposed to corporate lingo and advertising clutch words.

Being real means not beating yourself up over the occasional typo, or having the guts to admit when you did something silly.

And most importantly, being real means being true to yourself and true to your online audience. Authenticity is refreshing, and there’s a good chance that the lack thereof will either cause you to lose the right followers or gain the wrong ones.

Be Kind

Whether you’re ReTweeting a previous colleague’s big new promotion at work, running a free performance test of a friend’s website, or doing virtually anything that gives one of your connections some free visibility – helping others online can take many forms.

Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from selfless acts of kindness, helping people provides other benefits as well. You’ll be nurturing your existing contacts, potentially out-sourcing a bit of your own marketing, and laying the groundwork for future favors to come! Think log term with your relationships and they are sure to pay dividends in the end.

Promote Others

As discussed in a previous post, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Management, promoting others allows you to leverage the talents and expertise found amongst your contacts.

Turn Social Connections into Vocal fans by Promoting others
Share the wealth with the rest of your audience, allowing them to benefit from your connections. It’s likely that as you start to gain a reputation as a people-savvy connector, your followers will think of you when they want to do their own promotions and introductions.

A word of caution: when promoting the services of other people it’s important to be absolutely sure of what they can offer, if you misrepresent them, you misrepresent yourself.

Make Your Connections Feel Special

To nurture your connections, consider writing them a Linkedin recommendation, ReTweet their posts regularly, and submit reviews of their products across the web.

Make your connections feel specialIn short, act as a support network, helping them achieve things they might not have been able to on their own. Try and go above and beyond the call of duty – when someone hopes for a blog comment, give them an 800 word article to use. When they ask you to check-in to their foursquare location, do it everyday for a week, leaving comments and reviews.

Ensuring your friends and followers feel special and supported will undoubtedly build you a loyal and long-lasting social media audience.

Leave a comment below and let us know your best ‘random act of kindness’.