Eight Secrets of Effective Online Networking
That said, you want to avoid random or open-ended outreach, which can distract you and waste time. A strategic way to build your network is to use a friend-of-a-friend approach.
“Build a small base from a network of supporters from people you know — maybe that’s staff, board members, past supporters — and ask them to invite people they think should be involved,” marketing consultant Snyder says. “In a sense, it’s getting supporters to do the legwork and be active supporters. It’s also the very definition of ‘social networking.’ This may happen, to some extent, on its own, but it will happen a lot faster if you contact your network and ask them to do this.”
Also, take some time to explore different groups on the network site; search by keywords, and explore your friends’ friend lists. You might be surprised to find several existing groups interested in your cause or organization.
“I look for groups that may already be set up by users interested in our mission. It saves me time,” says Darren Mullenix, director of operations - donor ministries for Samaritan’s Purse.
Technology can also help in this arena. Use the Who Is This Person? Firefox add-on to search for people you find online on other social networks, sites and search engines.
Finally, be sure to give your current supporters opportunities to join your network by letting them know about your organization’s presence. Post a social-networking badge on your Web site or prominently display your profile URL in your e-mail newsletters.
8. Use a few good time savers.
A variety of tools and tricks can help you streamline your social-networking projects and manage your content. Among them:
RSS and mobile features: Using an RSS reader to read content can be a real time saver over logging on to an individual site, particularly if you’re maintaining a presence on multiple networks. Some even allow you to do this on the go.