Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Following Tips For Social Networking Sites

It can be exciting to get started on a social networking site. However, this excitement can be short lived if nobody is following you. You can start by following your friends (If you have any on that site) and inviting them to follow you. This may be enough for those who just want to share thoughts with friends and family.

Most people, though, will want a broader social experience. This is especially true if you want to promote something like your business, website, art, or music. In this case, you will want a lot of followers to hear what you have to say.

Of course, you could rapidly follow hundreds or thousands of people in the hope that some of them will follow you back, but that probably isn't the best strategy. You would likely find that only a small percentage would follow you back and that many of these will be automated accounts that are unlikely to read what you have to say. This is also a favorite tactic of spammers and may damage your reputation.

It is better to take a slower and more deliberate approach to following. Before following anybody, you would be wise to pay attention to your profile by including a picture and a brief description of your interests. It can also be helpful to make a few interesting posts so people will have a good idea of whether they want to follow you.

You can then carefully start following people who are likely to want to follow you back. Most social networking sites have a search function that you can use to find people that are related to your interests. Some sites even allow users to place labels on their profiles to make it easier to find people who share your interests. Another approach is to find an active user that is related to you niche and follow his or her followers. It's likely that they would also be interested in what you have to say.

Another method for finding suitable candidates for following is to pay attention to their following count to follower count ratio. If they have a lot of followers, but only follow a few people, then they probably have good information, but are unlikely to follow you back. If they follow many more people than follow them, then they might be a spammy, low quality account that you would want too avoid, even if they are likely to follow back.

I usually look for high quality accounts that follow a few more people than follow them. These people are often interested in making more connections, but are still concerned about quality. Following these people can be a great way to begin building your social network. Eventually, you should begin to have more people following you first.

It's also a good idea to pay attention to your own following to follower ration. Following a few more people than follow you can be like an invitation for others to follow you based on the assumption that you will likely follow them back. You may have to occasionally unfollow some people in order to maintain an appropriate ratio. You may as well unfollow the ones who aren't following you and who don't provide much value. Just be careful to not follow and unfollow people too quickly. This is suspicious behavior and can even get you banned on some sites like Twitter.

I recommend taking a little time to decide what you want to get out of social networking and develop a plan that is compatible with your goals and how you want to be perceived by the public.