By Jen Jones
Keeping up with social networks can be a full-time job in
itself -- and, let’s face it, sometimes life gets in the way.
When my own freelance writing life leaves me frazzled, I often tend to
go AWOL from online activity, and I’ve seen how this can
quickly cause my profile to lose momentum. Luckily, I’ve
uncovered some simple, proven ways to get back into the online groove.
If you’ve been neglecting your online presence, try these tips
for getting back on track:
Reevaluate which social networks hold value for you now. For a long time, I used Classmates.com to reconnect with old buddies from high school, but now Facebook serves that purpose for me. How has your own usage changed over time? Make a list of all your social networks, your initial intention for joining, and how/whether you currently use the site. You’ll quickly discern whether you’re needlessly doubling up efforts and could downsize a bit. Next step? Update your profiles on the sites so you can keep current.
Plump up your social networks. No better way to amp up activity than with a flurry of new “friends”! Comb through your email accounts and the business cards you’ve collected and find potential new contacts you can add on various websites. Also, upload new photos and tag your friends so others will notice your return to the site.
Engage with others and raise visibility in your social networks. If it’s been several months since your last login, strategic interaction can be a great way to reestablish and attract others to your profile. “Go where others are actively posting and join the conversation,” says Whitney Sewell of Social Media Solutions LLC. She suggests Facebook or blogging groups, Twitter chats or niche forums like LinkedIn’s Q&A. I’ve also found value in LinkedIn Groups, where I often trade information with other writers in the “Indispensable Freelancers” group. Adds Sewell: “Eventually, the relationships you develop within these outside resources will begin flourishing on your profiles as well.”
Save time by consolidating your social networking efforts. Avoid getting overwhelmed with logging in to each separate site; instead, link your various accounts together. I’m a big fan of HootSuite, which lets me simultaneously update Facebook and Twitter, as well as keep tabs on my LinkedIn feed. “Some people may follow Twitter more than Facebook, so if you post an update in only one place, they might not see it,” advises David Howard, a social media consultant based in Alameda, Calif. “Look for applications that crosslink content as well; for example, LinkedIn has an app that lets you import posts from your blog.”
Keep networking with purpose. “To avoid ramping up social media activity only to abandon it again six months down the road, carefully consider the kind of content you want to post,” suggests Sewell. Having a clear vision for your blog, tweets and Facebook updates that will represent you will keep you on the right posting path. Says Sewell: “It will definitely become easier to avoid ‘writer’s block’ moments that result in closing your browser without posting anything.”
Jen Jones is a full-time freelance writer and author based in Los Angeles. Her articles have appeared in Natural Health magazine, as well as on TheOnlineFamily.net, Variety.com, MSN.com and more. She blogs at GirlGetawayJJ.com.
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