Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking
Yet keep in mind that the goal is not necessarily to amass a large number of friends, but to build meaningful relationships. Approving people as friends shouldn’t be viewed as a mechanical task of simply clicking a button to add them to your list. It’s important to get to know the people in your community. What are their interests? Why did they befriend you or join your organization’s group? How can you engage them in a conversation about your organization?
One way you can address this is by assigning the task of befriending others to one person at your organization.
“We have a staff person who is spending a portion of his time managing our MySpace page — identifying, reviewing and accepting friends seems to take a good chunk of time,” says Eve Smith, assistant director of interactive marketing at Easter Seals. “You can’t really streamline that work and be an effective relationship builder.”
Micah Sifry, executive editor of Personal Democracy Forum, an online “hub for the conversation already underway between political practitioners and technologists,” observes of the über-successful political blog Daily Kos, “[It] started as one person’s blog, and that person, Markos Moulitsas, spent untold hours building his community. He once told me that in the early days, when he had maybe several hundred regular readers, he knew the names of every single one and would notice when someone hadn’t been on the site for a while, and when they returned, he’d greet them personally. It takes that level of leadership engagement to build a successful [social network] around activism.”
7. Befriend people strategically.
Sometimes, friends come to you; but other times, you’ll have to do your own outreach to add new friends to your contact list. This is a critical part of the workflow; to reap the benefits of using social-networking tools, you need to build your network.