Advanced Social Networking Techniques for Increased Productivity and Popularity

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In case you work in blogging, social media or search marketing you probably know what I mean: you got to be an Internet addict and you socialize online all the time to maintain some popularity. Social networking is more than liking baby photos on Facebook and hitting “retweet” a dozen times a day on Twitter though. After a few years you get a bit more advanced in order not to spend all the time “not working” as using social media is often called jokingly.

Many people probably envy me: I spend time on social media and get paid for it.

I don’t have to hide or trick my employer. It’s not just the fact that I’m a freelancer. I wouldn’t waste my own time either. It’s just that social networking is part of my work. It’s work but it’s also fun, in fact it’s one of the more pleasant parts of my daily routine. Lately I have to dig through link profiles of penalized sites to identify unnatural links. Boy, that’s a tedious task, I do social networking to relax afterwards. My most demanding task is content creation or rather blogging though.

I need to increase productivity and make time for quality writing.

Otherwise I’d spend all day creating user generated content for third party sites that do not pay me.

I have already noted in the past that you need to be strategic about your social media usage not just use all sites all day long, you need to plan the time you want to use for it and you need tools that make the social networking experience less overwhelming than trying to watch all the streams with dozens of messages per minute all the time. I do not want to dwell too long on the basics but I have to repeat them for those who are just starting out.

  • Focus on only a few social sites! I do concentrate mainly on Twitter, Google+, Inbound.orgDelicious at least when work is concerned. Privately I also use Pinterest and Tumblr. In case you are in the travel sector for example I’d advise you to do the exact opposite: use Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook above all. As an architect, artiest or photographer I do the same, include the highly visual sites as the foremost venues of your social networking strategy. You may want to use Behance, Society6 or Coroflot as well.
  • I use Google+ and Inbound.org on site but for Twitter I used Seesmic Web until recently (it still worked sometimes despite repeated hiccups after it was acquired by Hootsuite but now stopped). I switched to TweetDeck now, Nimble and Postling are good Social CRM tools as well, Twitter lists, Topsy, Tweeted Times to manage the onslaught of messages though.
  • When it comes to productivity and time management I use Teuxdeux to plan my week in advance including the times I want to allocate to social networking or SMO (as in Social Media Optimization). I divide the tasks into simply “social media” which includes simply finding out what’s going on on a given day, what’s popular for in the areas of my interest.
  • The “SMO” time is for social networking and content curation. I make extra time for research, which again is often browsing social networks looking for inspiration or concrete resources I’m after. Usually I spend 1h for both “social media” and “SMO” but whenever I’m researching and writing a new post this might take longer. Also I look up my Twitter account whenever I pause or get too tired to be able to write.

 

The point of this article is showing you the advanced part of social networking. I can’t explain that as easily as I did with the basics some of you most probably already know. I decided to take examples from the wild and to use them to demonstrate the actual techniques used.

 

Connecting many like-minded people at once

One of my favorite guys I connected with online in 2012 is Paul Gailey Alburquerque. I don’t communicate much with him, only from time to time, like I do with many other people. I tend to forget many people though despite repeated contact. It’s just that they’re too many I “meet online”. So what did Paul do that made a lasting impression on me?

Paul created a list of the 50 most active Inbound.org users, made a Google+ circle out of those and shared it.

Not only was this a helpful act by itself. It was also an excellent way to become friends with these 5o people.

To these day many people with whom I have been sharing stories and resources most actively during 2012 are from the Inbound.org circle.

Paul doesn’t even have a real website and he does not write a blog. Nonetheless he was able to stay on my radar throughout the year to the point where he was inside the first dozen of people I followed with on a by now defunct tool called Engagio that allowed you to track conversations with your favorite connections on social media.

 

Introducing the promising rookies to a wider audience

By rookies I don’t mean newbies. Just think NBA, the National Basketball Association rookies have in most cases already played in college basketball teams and are known for their talent to a select few experts who have the time to keep up with who plays where. So rookies are just new to a particular place, scene or simply the lime-light.

Gaz Copeland has made a post where he introduced several high-profile SEO rookies to a wider audience. He turned out be to be prophetic. Most of these guys are at the fore-front of an hyperactive younger generation of SEO community right now.

Gaz didn’t write another post about the experts we all know and outsiders should know as well but he chose to hail the few new guys that excelled.

Now that’s cool isn’t it, but why? Well, Gaz confessed recently that he doesn’t want to become an influencer. He does not have the resources to become one. He’d rather act like a connector and connect the people who matter now despite most people no knowing them yet.

These budding influencers will remember Gaz and keep on network with him. So indeed he performs better on Inbound and other social media as well. Unlike the experts everybody knows already these people notice such a mention.

 

Crowdsourcing a blog post

The term crowdsourcing is often misused these days to describe grey-area business models. Crowdsourcing initially meant that many people contribute to something who ends up being more than the sum of its parts. Crowdsourcing is not that everybody submits a logo idea, works for free that way and a client chooses one at the end while all others have wasted their time. So when I speak about crowdsourcing a blog post I mean combining as many contributions as possible and ideally including all of them.

The most common way of a crowdsourced blog post is the group interview

where a blogger approaches experts on a topic via mail and ask all of them to reply to the same question or set of questions. This kind of crowdsourcing is very work intensive though. The blogger who approaches the others has lots of mails to reply, clarifications for example, reminders have to be sent out. There are other ways to crowdsource with less of an effort. I prefer just asking a question on Twitter and getting answers from my followers. It sometimes works even better on Google+. In my case Twitter is still the better tool though.

You have to ask a question specific enough to require expertise but broad enough to appeal to a large enough number of people.

Ideally you ask on one question that allows the people to contribute their own ideas. Once you publish a post written with a little help of your friends you contact them on publishing it so they are more than happy to share it. Last time I tried it (the article hasn’t been published yet) it worked quite well, I got several replies within minutes.

Notable group interviews are:

  1. Anchor text future according to 19 experts by Giuseppe Pastore
  2. 13 Experts on the Single Best Piece of Advice for Improving Conversion on The Daily Egg
  3. The Most Creative Link Building Post Ever by Jon Cooper
  4. The future of SEO in 2013 by Gaz Copeland
  5. 15 experts on SEO tips for 2013 by Geir Ellefsen

Just look at how popular these group posts were on social media!

Even here you can streamline the process of crowdsourcing by selecting existing expert quotes without asking them to provide new ones. See:

20 Inbound Marketing & Sales Quotes To Live By over at Jordan Fried

 

It’s not only about productivity and spending less time on social media.

Sometimes you have to invest more time in your social relations to get more popularity later on,

both directly as a an effect of your article or by making people aware of you and listen to you once you need them too. Of course you have just to plunge in and not only strategize about meeting and connecting with the right people.

People can tell whether you’re genuine or just in it for the money and fame. Increase your productivity and popularity by caring about your inner circle, listening to a few dozens of people closely and noticing a few hundred. Trying more than that is really not working.

 

* Creative Common image by carterse

Last updated: November 2nd, 2013.