Here are several tips that you should put to work immediately to bolster your list, bump up your follower base and boost your connections:
- Start posting to Pulse - If you don’t know what Pulse is, go to your homepage on LinkedIn and under the “Interest” tab is a dropdown for PULSE. Click on any of the posts and you will see a post in a number of categories including Social Media, Advertising, Small Business and many others. Write your own posts, keep the content short (500-1500 words is ideal) and write about stuff that you are interested in. Love your job, maybe you are an expert in human resources or accounting, or maybe you just like the idea of dressing for success. No matter what your calling, people want to read about it.
- Add to discussion groups - Again, the “Interest” tab is your friend. Drop down to GROUPS and in the search box type in something you are interested in and join that group. Joining a LinkedIn group is like joining an association. As a matter of fact, there is probably a discussion group for any association you are a part of. Start contributing to the conversations and discussions. After a while, start your own discussions. The key in the discussion groups is to keep your tone aligned with consulting, being an expert and providing solid information. Selling or spamming others in the group is against LinkedIn terms of service and should be avoided.
- Wall posts and your profile - You should post business related items daily on your wall, share content and congratulate people you see are on the move in the industry. Don’t just stalk your former coworkers to see where they started working. Also, it’s key to have a good profile picture, a short work history and all of your contact info right there on your profile. Don’t make people work too hard to find out how to reach you.
- How creative can you be in 140 characters? - Very! Once you get good at maximizing your small real estate, life on Twitter will become wonderful. The goal of Twitter is to lead people (followers) to your content in a creative way. If you don't have a website to lead them to, send them back to the post you just created on LinkedIn. I let pictures do my talking. Nearly 100% of my tweets contain a picture and if you don’t believe me, head over to @djdoug to check out my 18,000 tweets that have gotten me 8,300 followers over the last 8 months alone. Twitter studies show there is a 94% better chance of your tweet being shared (retweeted) if a picture is used.
- Use hashtags to find others with similar interests - Similar to the discussion groups on LinkedIn, hashtags on Twitter will connect you with others that are talking about the things you are interested in. Follow those people, share their content and connect directly with people they are also following. Don’t go “follow” crazy. Twitter has a 2,000 account follow limit. Once you hit that number of accounts you are following, you will need to have 2,000 followers following you before you can move to greener pastures. That’s not a bad thing. Just like in life, balance is important, build a solid list of people you are interested in, spread their love and they will follow you back. It takes patience and time.
- Tweet, retweet and favorite - Consistency is king. Make sure you keep a steady diet of adding to the information feed. The more active you are, the more others will see you. Establish yourself and align yourself with others, tweet at least several times a day and welcome Twitter into your daily routine. Your virtual friends will become your biggest business supporters if you play the social media game properly.
- Establish a business page - If you don’t have a website for your business, use Facebook as your “business page.” The benefit to using Facebook as your business promotional tool is that your “store” is open right next to your home if you also keep a personal Facebook page. It is 2015, get busy, get social. It’s super easy to invite your friends to come on over and many of them will. I would encourage you to also have a website, but if you don’t, Facebook is a great way to promote your business.
- Keep your page professional - If you are the kind of guy that would take your coworkers out for happy hour, vacation with them on a houseboat and do body shots off of the cocktail waitress, then go for it. But I wouldn’t suggest taking pictures of it and posting them to your business page. Potential clients, future employers and pretty much the world might see these posts one day, you may want to pause before posting.
- Just like Twitter, pictures and links play a vital role on Facebook as well. You want your content to be read and shared with others. Your goal is to get page likes while engaging as many people as you are able. If they have an interest in your product or service, you want to also make sure they have a super easy way to reach you as well.
In an upcoming blog I discuss how to turn your growing list into money. But let’s not put the cart before the horse, or the feed before the birdie. In the meantime, get busy building your lists on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and all of your preferred social channels. It’s also a great idea to let your connections know how to reach you on each of your social channels. Although the tone of each is very different, you will see a core group of supporters emerge. They will be your social army, providing encouragement every tweet, post, like, favorite, pin, pic and share at a time.
Doug’s book, Nice Guys Finish First, is quickly climbing the Amazon charts. As of the date of this post it was rated on the Amazon Best Seller ranking at #38 for Business Strategy and Competition. You can purchase his book at Amazon.com . Doug also has a weekly podcast called The Nice Guys Podcast on iTunes.