How are you growing your social media garden? Equate your social media to a garden and work from the ground up to build something beautiful. Gardening can be approached by many different tactics as can social media, please take these as suggestions and use your own plan to create your unique experience. Just as there are many types of gardens, formal English, structured Japanese and butterfly gardens to name a few, each garden is unique and has it’s charm. Your garden may not look like my garden and that is fine!
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
1. Plan your garden
Decide which social media platform that you want to use and learn how to use it. When I first started on Twitter, I used the regular Twitter platform and then switched to mostly Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck has a lot of features that help me use my time more efficiently. I set up columns to show mentions, lists I follow as well as hashtag streams. Customizing the Tweetdeck for whatever I am doing at the time is easy and efficient. HootSuite also has many great functions, my favorite being that it shows sent tweets.
Power tip: Use a different platform for different accounts (ex. Tweetdeck for personal use and HootSuite for your business account). This way you know to respond appropriately as you are responding to tweets. Your personal responses to tweets might be slightly different from the response necessary from your corporate account. This is especially helpful when you are newer.
Also, realize that it isn’t possible to have a strong presence on every social media platform. Choose the ones you like best, be aware of new things and don’t overload yourself.
2. Spread your seeds
Once you get started, spend a little time on each platform you choose. Maybe you already use Facebook and want to start on Google+, great! Just keep in mind that each platform has it’s own language and strengths. Again, don’t feel the pressure to be everywhere. Make choices that you are comfortable with and enjoy it!
A great place to meet new people is chats on Twitter! I have made wonderful friends and learned a lot through these connections. Some chats that I support and attend are #PinChat, #BlogChat and #DadChat. I have also met amazing people in #CMChat, #GetRealChat and #LeadershipChat. I co-host #MyBookClub once a month on the 1st Monday of the month at 8 pm est. Meeting new people ROCKS!
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”― Marcel Proust
3. Water your garden
Of course you need to be “social” to help your garden grow. Many people feel more comfortable just watching and not engaging in conversations with people, I encourage you to engage with people, say hello, thank you and keep in touch with those that you like to talk with and can learn from.
Tiara tip to Brian Vickery for reminding me that being in a COMMUNITY is a great place to water your garden. I started in a group called #USGuys and learned the ropes with lots of fantastic people. Most of my original friends from Twitter are from this community. Now I spend most of my time in the 12 Most community with a foundation of supportive, fun writers who are my current online Tribe. We transcend Twitter and meet on Facebook, Google+, email, phone calls and tweetups. Sometimes your friends even water your garden for you.
Power tip: If you meet an interesting person, follow them immediately. You may not remember their whole name or be able find them later.
4. Weed your garden
Use tools such as Manage Flitter to help weed out based on what you are comfortable with doing. I try to follow everyone who is following me and do unfollow people after a certain time if they don’t follow me. Manage Flitter has a great whitelist feature that you can select people that you would never want to unfollow.
I must admit, I am really bad at filtering out people on Facebook and don’t typically unfriend people. There have only bee two instances that I have unfriended folks, prior to the ability to monitor the content that people were sharing. Constant whining and complaining on Facebook or anywhere is a total drag.
5. Ignore the trolls
I discussed Trolls in the ‘Hood in more depth in this previous post but the short version is don’t feed the trolls! Ignore or block rude people. Why waste your time on them? Seeking attention, through negative behavior, is the typical troll fare. Everyone isn’t going to like everyone else, that is life. Focus on the positive people and the great interaction that you have with them.
6. Do you want to be organic?
Choosing how to build your followers is also a personal choice. I chose organic growth, slowly building my network of friends and colleagues based on similar likes and common values. Just like real life, we gravitate towards friends who are like us. Others choose a rapid growth plan, with #teamfollowback or purchasing followers, while this is a personal choice, I would argue that my followers are more inclined to be interested in my message, read what I write and be interested in what I share because they have engaged with me and hopefully chose to follow me and continue to do so because I provide some value to them whether it be content, friendship or entertainment.
“Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.”― Lao Tzu
7. Enjoy the flowers
Eventually, your garden will begin to flourish with the care and thought that you have given to it. Take time to smell the flowers and enjoy the network you are building.
How do YOU grow your garden? Share with me what works for you, how you build your network and how you have grown.
Featured image courtesy of ahp_ibanez via Creative Commons.