Social-Media Best Practices: 12 Tips for Making the Best of Any Social Site, Part 2
[Editor's note: This is part 2 of a two-part series on social-media best practices. View part 1 here.]
Create meaningful relationships
Now that you’re building a nice-sized following and engaging with the right crowd, you should focus on building relationships that are useful to others. Sticking with the disaster-relief example, if you were engaged in helping those affected by a natural disaster in New Zealand, then you could help others by providing them up-to-the-minute news, pointing them to resources that would allow them to help or participate in the relief efforts, and creating conversations with others that help draw attention to the cause. By being a resource to your community and helping others, you quickly build a great reputation online.
Identify and interact with influencers
A key part of any social-media strategy involves identifying influencers — those who have nice-sized online networks can effectively spread your message and are able to activate others. These individuals can help you reach more people because of the trusted relationships they’ve already built. As you build relationships with people online, look for the influencers and be thoughtful about how you engage and build relationships with them. It’s very possible they can help amplify your message like you’ve never been able to do.
Connect the dots
The social Web is very much a game of relationships and a place where those who are genuinely using the tools for good want to connect with other like-minded individuals. As you build your network of fans, help them to get to know each other by connecting them. Make introductions on Facebook. Share something that one of your fans has done with another on Twitter. Help build a tight-knit network by being a connector who’s always looking for ways to build beneficial relationships between others.
Pump out useful information and content
Think of participating on the social Web like you think about your website. Would people come back if you failed to update your website with useful information on a regular basis? Doubtful. The same holds true on the social Web, so make sure to consistently share great content that’s relevant and useful to your fan base. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be content that you wrote or created. It can be news stories, resources from other websites, information from a partner organization, etc. The key is that you become valuable by sharing useful content.