formal garden in Portland, Oregon

Pondering: How Does Your Social Media Garden Grow?

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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. Plant 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.

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.

Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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  1. Engagement works most of all. Seeking new things, people, content, blogs, etc. expands your social media world and connects you with people from all over the world. A friend of a friend of a friend and so on.

  2. Listening to people, helping my community and joining new social sites like Sumazi.

      1.  @Peg Fitzpatrick I’m 100% agreed with you, listening is a great way as you stated above that everyone being heard and social media is having a simple rule, listen, engage and content.

  3. Hi Peggy ~ the organic growth certainly works for me. It takes more time, but I’m convinced it improves the quality of my Twitter Lists. I created a list on Twitter with social media Experts and shared their Tweets with a Paperli newspaper. Whenever people see their mention in my social media expert Paperli, they thank me and start following me. So, clearly sharing other people’s content and connecting with like minded peeps works excellent for me on Twitter 🙂

    1.  @JuanFlx Thanks for sharing your tips, Juan. I have seen Paperli’s working for a lot of people and do something similar with ScoopIt. Storify also gives you the option of asking if you want to send a notification to someone. 
      Any engagement tips that you use on Facebook page that work especially well? BTW what is your favorite platform? (Twitter or Facebook?)

      1.  @Peg Fitzpatrick  I use a specific method to share my blog posts on Facebook. I paste the link to the post and next upload a particular Image to accompany this post (so no uploaded post thumbnails).  As you know, Facebook rewards photos with the highest Edgerank. So every time I use this tactic, Facebook defines my post as Photo although actually it’s a link to my blog post. ~ The Facebook Insights show me that these posts produce the highest reach and engaged users!
        Plus, whenever I share a photo on Facebook, I’ll always try to keep the message short, to the point, and end with a clear Call to Action to receive a like, comment or share.
        My favorite platform? Actually, it depends. For connecting with friends, family and like minded people I prefer Facebook, but for content curation and sharing I use Twitter (among others). How about you? Do you have a favorite platform?

  4.  @dbvickery Being a part of a community is a huge part! Shoot ~ I might have to edit this post to add in communities. Excellent point, sir! 
    I started out in a hashtag community, #usguys, where I made many, many friends. Now I am more in the #12Most community and yes, WOW, we have a supportive group. So many friendships have been built through our group.
    “Organic definitely requires patience if you are striving to tie to a bottom-line ROI goal” << agree! 
    I think your garden is doing great, Brian. Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. Very clever post, partner — and one that people getting involved in social media can learn from.

  6. Hi Peg,
    I loved this post Peg, very consistent with everything you do, this is definitely the way to build solid relationships, your analogies were wonderful, will definitely share this, thanks, see you online! cc @PegFitzgerald

  7. These tips are fantastic for those who are just getting started or a quick refresher for long-time practitioners. Thank you for putting together 🙂 I agree with using separate clients for personal vs. business – it also helps to keep your brain straight when you’re curating.

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