How to Build Up a Social Network

To get any real benefit from social media, you need to build up a strong network of friends, followers or contacts (depending on which site you are using.)  It can feel a bit pointless when you first sign up and only have four followers, one of which is your mom.  Don’t let that get you down.  If you are diligent and strategic, you may quickly find that you know more people on social media than you do in real life.  Here are some tips that will help you build up a strong following:

Friend other people.  This is the quickest way to get contacts.  Often if you follow someone they will return the favour which gives you access to a fresh new group of people.

Be consistent.  To capture interest, you need to regularly post new material.  If people often visit your site only to find that there are no new updates, they will quickly lose interest in you.  Make sure that you post on each of your social media sites at least a few times each week.

Interact.  The real value in social media is the relationships that you are able to form.  You are not supposed to use it as a pulpit to preach from.  Take the time to comment on other posts and to respond to the comments that you receive.  The spirit of reciprocity is key on social media.  If you support your contacts by retweeting and sharing their posts, they will likely do the same for you.

Be relevant.  It’s great that you went to the gym this morning, but the blunt truth is that nobody cares.  If you want people to invest their precious time into reading your posts then give them something that they actually want.  Think about who you would like to read your posts and find articles and quips that would appeal to them.

Be interesting.  Have you ever scrolled down your wall on Facebook or Twitter only to see the same article fifteen times?  Don’t post stuff that has already gone stale.  Do a bit of digging and try to find something that is new and interesting.  You will definitely attract people if you do something unexpected.

When using social media as a job search tool, you need to create a strategy.  You don’t have to write out every post ahead of time, but you should have a rough idea of what type of content you will be posting.  Social media can either be a useful tool or a dangerous time trap; by having a plan in place you can ensure that you use it to your advantage.  

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by: VladoFreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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