Maintaining Your Social Network

Filed in Social Media 101 by on December 16, 2009 0 Comments

social-network-maintenance

Written By Eric Alpin

No matter how long you have been a part of a social networking website, one of the toughest tasks is actually maintaining your network.  No, I’m not talking about adding and deleting friends, followers, or connections.  I’m referring to staying connected with the people in your social network.

Far too often, we approve a connection or friend and we don’t do anything.  They become just another number to us.  The key to social networking is not having the most friends or followers; it’s about building relationships and maintaining connections.

Maintaining your social network can be quite beneficial.  First, you never know who will need a hand down the road.  When you connect with people, they may come to you with problems questions.  If you choose to help them out, you will demonstrate your relationship is valuable.  Also, you might develop partnerships that could influence your future.  Staying connected with Billy or Sally could lead you to a good friend, business partner, or even mate.

So, how do you stay connected with your social network?

Step 1:  Assess Your Connections

The first step in maintaining your social network is to assess your current connections.  In order to maintain your network, you need to know what connections you already have.  If you have ever fallen into the “tons-of-friends” trap, you might not know who you are connected to.  Take a quick browse through your friends list, followers, or connections.  It might be helpful to write down or type out any key connections you want to maintain.

Step 2:  How You Will Stay Connected

This is probably the hardest step in the process.  Deciding how you will stay connected with a person can be tricky.  There are many things to consider, such as public or private conversation, time, and word choice.  If you don’t mind other people seeing your conversation, or if you will be making casual conversation, a comment or direct tweet probably would suffice.  However, if you’re going to go in-depth about relationships and careers, you might want to stay connected with a private message.  Also, remember that connections take time.  Whether it is just one sentence or 15, it will still take time to formulate and send.

Step 3:  Plan of Attack

After determining how you will stay connected, you will need to develop a plan of attack.  It wouldn’t be a smart idea to take five hours of your day to comment or message each one of your friends or followers.  That could get quite messy.  Develop a manageable plan for maintaining your connections.  For example, if you have 50 people you will connect with, comment or message two of them each day for 25 days.  This will be less stressful for you and less of a load on your networking profile.

Step 4:  Keep Them Up!

The final step in maintaining your network is to keep up with your connections.  Don’t let the people you connect with fall by the wayside.  Don’t worry – it is necessary to comment or direct message someone once a week to maintain the connection.  Maybe you decide once a month or once a quarter is good.  However, do not connect with someone simply because you need something.  This does not make you look good and does not help your relationship.

Keeping up with your connections is a crucial part of social networking.  In fact, it’s the reason why social networking websites were developed.  All in all, maintaining your network will allow for you to build better relationships with your friends, followers, and connections, and you never know how those relationships will play out…

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Eric Alpin is a social media enthusiast, blogger, creative genius, and avid reader. Eric enjoys maintaining his website, ericalpin.com, editing and shooting video, reading, hanging out with his friends and girlfriend, and playing sports. Eric works full-time for a telecommunications company in the Baltimore, Md. area and is currently seeking his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Get the book “21 Days To Twitter Leadership” The Step-By-Step Guide On How To Twitter, Get Twitter Followers And Position Yourself As The Leader In Your Industry In Less Than 10 Minutes Per Day.

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