I get lots of friend requests on the multiple Social Media Sites that I am connected with. Many people might think that is a great thing and would be quick to just add anyone to their network, but my advice is to have a goal for your Social Media involvement and also get to know those who you are giving access to your personal network before connecting.
What are your Social Networking Goals?
I use Social Networks in a variety of ways. For example, I use Facebook to connect with friends, family, and personal contacts. These are people that I have some previous connection with and I don’t always include colleagues to make sure and separate my personal life from my business life. When I get requests from people that I do not know personally, or know professionally, I send them a message before declining them to explain that I don’t use Facebook for business, then I “ignore” the request. Now, this doesn’t mean that I do not promote using FB, but my messages are just different. I use web links to my websites, as well as Groups and Pages. I have even toyed with the Facebook Ads, but I wasn’t so happy about my response. This isn’t to degrade the Facebook ad system; in fact, it is very cost effective. It just wasn’t right for my campaign.
Twitter is a site that I use to connect with those in the markets I follow. It has been helpful in getting near real time industry information as well as keeping people up to date on my work in the Internet Marketing arena.
StumbleUpon is kind of my “go to” site. I check it as much as I do any other news site, and maybe more. I find it a great source of news and hot topics and see it as a great way to get the word out to the masses.
LinkedIn is a great place to connect with people professionally. They have great features such as the Q&A where you can show what you know and you play your cards right, it could lead to generating business.
Getting to know people before connecting.
There are three factors common to most Social Networking sites which allow you to assess a persons profile:
1. The ability to see who someone is connected to (their friends).
2. The ability to see their website(s)
3. The ability to see what websites they support.
Using those factors, you should be able to gather enough information to make a decision. It’s not rocket science, but if done incorrectly, could leave you wondering why “Social Networking doesn’t work for you”.
As an specific example, I will use StumbleUpon where I get lots of friend requests. Before adding anyone as a friend, here is what I am able to gather from their profile:
1. Their Bio. I want to know if they have taken time to provide any details of who they are. If not, I will assume they are either lazy or just there to self promote and I won’t be interested in connecting.
2. Their stats. I want to know how long they have been in the StumbleUpon community. I won’t disqualify someone new, and in fact, may send them a welcome message. I also want to know that they Thumb and Review sites and see what others have said about them.
3. Their website. It will tell me a bit more about what they are interested in and what they do.
4. Their friends. Just today, I saw an interesting profile with most of this persons friends that did not have pictures (just the silhouette). They were all also from another country – one that I have no connections to, so it didn’t seem to be a good match.
5. Their interests. I usually connect with others with similar interests. For example, if someone is interested in anime, video games, or porn, we probably won’t have much in common, so that is a pretty quick decision.
In closing, I will say the key to Social Networking is no different that offline networking and that is making connections with qualify people.
I hope this has been helpful. If you want to keep up with my work, please subscribe to this blog (it’s free) using the RSS feed or email subscription box to the right.