Advanced Social Networking Techniques for Productivity and Popularity

A family of dogs sitting and waiting. 8 of them!

When you work in blogging, social media or search you probably know what I mean:

You got to be an Internet addict and to socialize online all the time to become even modestly popular.

What about the productivity though? Doesn’t it suffer when you spend all day on social media trying to get noticed? Yes and no. Let me explain below!

Spoiler alert: you can use social media yourself and be actively social networking without giving up your other tasks. How?

Is Social Networking Online Really Work?

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 as a social media manager.

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 in general, even when I’m not managing social media accounts for clients.

Social networking is both work and fun! In fact it’s one of the more pleasant parts of my daily routine. For a while I had to dig through link profiles of penalized sites to identify unnatural links. That was a pesky task. Social media is really fantastic in comparison despite all the fear, anger and conflict that have been prevalent on many social sites.

By now social media manager is a popular job title for tasks encompassing social

  • networking
  • engagement
  • involvement.

I like to call it content management though as I usually write and publish on client websites as well not just on social media. Indeed I work for clients as a content or social media manager so contact me if you need one.

Social Networking vs “Real Work”

Boy, fixing “unnatural” incoming links is a tedious task! I do social networking to relax afterwards. The most demanding task is content creation or rather blogging though.

You need to increase productivity to make time for quality writing.

Otherwise you’ll spend all day creating user generated content for third party sites that do not pay you. Yes, that’s what most people do on Instagram etc.

I have already noted in the past that you need to be strategic about your social media usage not just use as many sites as possible all day long.

You need to schedule the time you want to use for social media activity.

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.

How NOT to Get Overwhelmed by Social Media

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 mainly use

  1. Twitter
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Diigo

at least when work is concerned. Privately I also use Pinterest.

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
  • artist
  • designer
  • photographer

I’d include the highly visual sites as the foremost venues of your social networking strategy. You may also want to use

  1. Behance
  2. Society6
  3. Coroflot

You may also consider to spend some time on Instagram (I only use it to scroll and waste time after work) but it won’t be of any use for direct sales or even traffic generation as studies have proven.

I use LinkedIn on site but for Twitter I often use TweetDeck. Twitter lists and Tweeted Times are also useful to manage the sheer onslaught of updates to notice the valuable ones among the noise.

When it comes to productivity and time management I use Teuxdeux to plan the week in advance including the times I want to allocate to social media or SMO (as in Social Media Optimization).

I divide the tasks into simply “social media” which includes finding out what’s going on during a given day, what’s popular in the areas of my interest.

The “SMO” time is for

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 at least 1h for both “social media” and “SMO” but whenever I’m researching and writing a new post this might take longer.

Additionally I look up my Twitter account whenever I pause or get too tired to be able to write. The fastest way to reach me is by way of Twitter. I check mail only once a day in the evening.

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 is Paul Gailey Alburquerque. I don’t communicate a lot 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”. What did Paul do that made a lasting impression on me?

He’s a real connector! Why? He connected many like-minded people at once with one campaign.

Paul created a list of the 50 most active users and shared it. This was a great start.

Not only was this a helpful act by itself. It was also an excellent way to become friends with these 50 people.

To this day many people with whom I have been sharing stories and resources most actively during 2012 are from the 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 years.

Paul was even among the first to become part of my inner circle of “engagers“. That’s my list of real people who listen and respond on Twitter.

Introducing the Promising Rookies to a Wider Audience

What are rookies? By rookies I don’t mean newbies. Just think the NBA – the National Basketball Association rookies have in most cases already played in college basketball teams.

Rookies are known for their talent to a select few experts who have the time to keep up with who plays where. 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. Rookies are far more likely to connect with you actively. They are engagers in many cases.

Crowdsourcing a Blog Post

What is and isn’t crowdsourcing? 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.

Genuine Crowdsourcing is not about everybody submitting a logo idea, working for free that way and a client chooses one at the end while all others have wasted their time.

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.

Reach out spontaneously to your audience to make them contribute!

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.

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 only 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.

This way they are more than happy to share it. Last time I tried to crowdsource a post like that it worked quite well: I got several replies within minutes.

Notable group interviews are:

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.

Delaying Your Gratification

It’s not only about productivity and spending less time on social media. You have to invest more time in your social relations to get more popularity later on.

This “delayed gratification” approach works 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! Do not only strategize. It’s 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