This is a guest blog post written by Andrea Hewett, Social Media Business Director
for Holt Marketing and Management Services, Inc.
“No, no, no!” I stared at the screen frozen in disbelief and felt my heart skip a beat. I was refreshing my browser on my Twitter page when my followers and those I’d followed suddenly went from around 1,000 each to 0 and 1. I’d spent the better part of a year interacting, sharing, and posting to grow my connections and in an instant they were gone.
I did what I believe anyone else would do in this situation… I freaked out. I refreshed my screen probably close to a dozen times to see if it would fix itself. I went to Twitter’s website and sent them a contact email. The problem with contacting Twitter is that they have a disclaimer that the contact page is mostly a data collection method they use to improve their services and they rarely contact people back. I then started searching the internet to see how to fix my problem.
I was at a complete loss.
I did eventually find Twitter Support (I hadn’t been following them prior) and tweeted to them but right after that, I found an answer to my question. The support team had shared this tweet:
If you don’t follow Twitter Support (@), it would definitely be a helpful way to avoid getting worked up over problems with your account that may be temporary.
However, I’m actually glad that this happened to me because it made me realize that we haven't been practicing risk management for our connections on Social Media in our business. Any business looking to protect their investment practices risk management to identify, assess, and prioritize risks to ensure that they do not prevent the business from reaching their goals.
Since Social Media is newer to business, it is often associated with risk because many businesses are unsure of what platforms they should use to reach potential clients and how to go about it. But this is only one type of risk. Because we are dependent upon another source for the platform on which we reach a larger audience, there is also the risk of losing that source. I knew then that I should write a post to help others avoid this scary situation.
I decided to reach out to some serious influencers in Social Media to find out what they do to decrease risk by gaining connections and protecting them. You may not know some of them, but if you don’t you’ll probably want to. Many of them don’t even need an introduction, so because of all of the great information that they have to share with you, I’ll focus on their responses and include their contact info so you can get to know them yourself if you don’t already. (I'm also including a downloadable version at the end of this post.)
I asked each of these 19 social media authorities the following three questions:
1. What is your process for building new social media connections?
2. What is your system for nurturing connections?
3. What plan do you have in place to protect your social media connections if you were to suddenly lose them all (i.e.: an account is blocked or hacked?)
Here is what the superstars had to say:
1. My process for building new connections is simple...I look to see who my current friends are connected to that I want to get to know and then I add those individuals as friends. Some will reciprocate and others will not. It comes down to a numbers game.
2. I continually update my social media profiles and message my connections whenever I have something that may interest them or whenever I can help them. This way they build a closer connection with me.
3. I have none in place. Most of these social networks are secure and hopefully they have backups.
1. Social media doesn't work without delivering consistently valuable and relevant content to your target audience. In all our social media outlets, our goal is not to build connections, but to build subscribers to our content (build an audience). In some social channels, this works more effectively for first connect with an audience through that particular channel.
2. Not to sound like a broken record, but once we connect with a subscriber, we continue to deliver valuable content to that person consistently over time. So that's the first key. After that, we do little things like actively respond to connections on social channels, share relevant content from followers, and even surprise certain connections with gifts and shout outs.
3. Great question. We currently are very aware that we don't control any of the connections with have in the social media platforms we have accounts in. We always prepare that tomorrow we may wake up and we might lose all access to our connections. That is why we do everything in our power to drive email subscriptions, where we have the most control over that particular data. Social media is a nice to have, and we use it to its fullest extent...but it may also be temporary, and we plan for that.
1. Connecting with people around the globe from behind your computer screen is a pretty incredible thing we have going on in 2015. It’s so easy to make new friends and to build relationships with business partners you’d never otherwise have a chance to meet. My process is pretty simple: I am genuinely interested in what other people say and do on social media. I also have the mind of an elephant so, if I see someone has said something nonchalantly about something happening in their lives, I’ll remember it and bring it up later. People just want to know that you’re interested in them and what they’re putting out there is of value. So I pay attention to what they put out there and find commonalities so we can begin to build a relationship.
2. Here is my secret: Talk to people as human beings! I don’t necessarily have a system. I just pay attention. Not all day, every day…no one can do that. But when I can pop in, I will find tidbits I can use. For instance, a friend posted that her wedding coordinator had her finance’s name as “Jose” in the official wedding documents (his name is Mike). So it’s fun to say, “Congratulations to you and Jose!” It helps you stand out because you pay attention the little stuff.
3. I don’t want to brag—I’m totally going to brag. The community we have on Spin Sucks is amazing. They support one another, help one another, and are awesome brand ambassadors. So if I were to suddenly lose all my social media connections, they would be all over helping me. But that’s been nine years of building, supporting, nurturing, and engaging. It doesn’t happen overnight and no one can expect it to.
1. If I start working with a new client or collaborating with someone on a project, I will typically connect with him/her on LinkedIn and Twitter. It's always good to have an extension of a relationship online.
If someone I know and trust recommends I connect with someone, I will check that person out, and if he/she seems like a good person to connect with, I'll move forward with making the connection.
If someone connects with me first and he/she seems like an interesting person/professional, I will connect back. Not on Facebook, though. I reserve Facebook connections for people I actually know - not just "know" online.
2. I don't have a particular system, but I always make a point to tell people happy birthday and congratulations if they achieved something great (work anniversary, new job, industry award, etc.).
The older I get, and the more responsibilities I have at work and with my family, I've given up trying to stay in contact with everyone - online and in person. It's just not possible. I have my core group of trusted friends, and I nurture those connections by finding ways to connect online, via phone/text and in person. It may not be every month, but it's frequently enough to sustain the relationship because these are people who I know will always be part of my life.
Another example of how I started nurturing a connection - a fellow social media/digital professional who I've been connected with online for several years reached out to me a few months ago because he started Skyping with people he knows online but has never met. We had an awesome conversation, and I made a point to check in with him a few weeks ago because I want to maintain the relationship. That led us to scheduling another Skype call. It may have taken 45 minutes of my evening, but it was totally worth it.
3. I don't have a particular plan in place, but I use LastPass to manage many of my online accounts so I have a secure login. Yes, LastPass was hacked recently, but I still trust the system!
1. My ultimate goal in using social media is to connect with others in meaningful ways- to engage. Sometimes it is difficult to find those who want to engage because there is a lot of “noise” on social media. At times it feels like you are in a room with everyone yelling as loud as they can to “look at me, look what I’m doing, hey come hang out with me!” All this external noise doesn’t take into account what is going on with me internally.
Somedays I feel like I am going a million miles an hour with a million things to do. In order for me to have any chance of success (online and personal), I have to create systems of automation where possible. I often view my systems of automation like fishing. I want post information/content via a program (e.g. Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetjukebox, etc.) that will get someone to engage with me. Once they do engage/respond I move from automation to personal engagement.
2. My system for nurturing connections is quite simple - I stay engaged with someone. I am in the process of revamping my email list to provide better and more consistent content as well as provide thought provoking content that keeps people engaged (asking questions, getting quality responses, sharing, etc.). I also like to do live presentations and connect with people face to face whenever possible. I am also a believer that people like to do business with people they know, like and trust, so I try to provide people with a sense of who I am as a person - my likes, dislikes, struggles, wins, and my personality.
3. This is a little scary and I haven’t given it too much consideration (or I’m just subconsciously avoiding it). I do a pretty good job with using different passwords for all of my accounts and changing them occasionally. I use an encrypted password manager app on my phone to keep track of all the different passwords I use.
For each social media platform I use, I learn the rules of acceptable use so I don’t get blocked. This is extremely important when using tools like ManageFlitter or Crowdfire to find quality followers and to unfollow/purge accounts of people that don’t provide value. I’ve got a few warnings in my life and it has panicked me.
Something else that I have been working on is trying to get followers from my social media accounts into my email list (currently I am revamping and optimizing it). If I can get people to opt-in to an email list then it won’t matter if and when changes occur on a social media platform.
1. I start by looking at Social Media for what it is, a way to be social with other people. This has led me to operate from a few key ways.
1) I am active on Social Media every day. Sometimes it is only for a few minutes some times more. The goal every day is to connect with people and listen to the conversations that arise.
2) I follow interesting people every day on twitter. This allows me to open up conversations that I would have never had the opportunity to have in any other form. This has allowed me to find new clients, create collaborative relationships and further my understanding of my offer to the world.
3) I try to treat everyone with respect on Social Media. If someone takes the time to reach out to me then I reach back and acknowledge them. I may decline their offers but I make sure if they took the time to specifically reach out to me then I reach back to them.
4) I follow anyone that follows me (within reason, extremely negative people I do not tolerate.). My belief is that if they see me as relevant than I see them as relevant. I look at it as arrogance to believe anyone is above or below me, plus who knows what can open up as a result of the connection.
5) I have fun with Social Media. It is not work for me, it is a way to share my message to the world and I try to look at it that way.
2. The biggest way I try to nurture them is by having a conversation. If there is a natural synergy then that usually develops, but it has to be a two way relationship. If someone just tries to sell me something right off the bat, I am not going to be as enthusiastic. Vice versa I do not attempt to sell anything on social media, rather I try to add content, value and build relationships.
3. Social Media is a great opportunity but it is not my only method of developing relationships. It will never replace being in conversation with others, so if I were to lose control of my social media I would focus on the relationships as I always have and keep them going old school and pick up a phone.
Another way I ensure that I my social media connections are strong is I utilize not only Twitter but LinkedIn and Google+ also, and I write for several blogs, including my own, Openfor.business and generalleadership.com which allows me to connect with people over multiple platforms.
Finally, the biggest way I protect my social media connections is that I am clear on the conversations I will have and those I will not have. I do not get into politics or negative focused conversations. All of my conversations deal with how to help people and organizations become more effective leaders and companies.
Also, by being active daily, I will be connected to the heartbeat of my brand on Social Media. If something negative were to pop up, I would see it within hours and would take immediate action. As the leader of my company it is critical that I am active on Social Media, it is a job that cannot be delegated.
1. One of the key tools I use to find and connect with new and relevant people on social media is simply Twitter.
With Twitter I can target specific topics either by hashtag (and follow it) or by advanced search and then check out whether these people are relevant to me. I also check out the followers of highly relevant and influential people in my niche, as they have already done the hard work and found my followers for me.
I can then interact with them, which is easier and more accessible than by email, and start the conversation. Then I slowly build up relationships and trust and then take it to the next level. More on that in a minute.
2. I have a couple of great systems in place for keeping in touch with people who are important in my network.
First, there is my social media lists (twitter) and circles (google+) where I can see what people are talking about or sharing. I then interact accordingly, at least a few times a day.
But for my closest circle of contacts, I like to take things off social and get them onto email. Then I have a list that I use to keep track of people I would like to keep in touch with over time. These can be people from social media, client interactions, conferences, local meetups etc.
3. Honestly I don't have such a plan, but I would say that by having my closest connections on email, I am more than protected. After all, it is only one hundred people or less who are really making a difference in both my business and my personal life!
However, if I was to lose them all and want to regain them all on social media, I would again follow the same process. However, this time it might be quicker as I already know who to watch!
1. Well, the best way to build new connections is to just reach out and connect! You can do that by checking out the social profiles of those you want to connect with, like your blog visitors, those who comment and share your posts, or those who have the same niche and similarities as you. Also, places like Triberr are a great way to meet new people as it's a huge resource for creating new social media connections.
Speaking of myself, I usually check the profile and follow the authentic fans or connect with those I know. Usually people follow me first and I follow back once I know they are people worth following. I make sure to check their account in detail and then connect.
2. The best way to nurture connections is to be there for others, through thick or thin. There are many ways to give back to those you care for. The basic is to promote the other blogger's post, share their promotions, and thank them as and when they promote your posts.
Besides social media, it's always good to message or email your connections when required or even otherwise. It's something you go out of your way to do to keep up with your connections - just keep in touch, as it always helps!
3. Honestly speaking, I've never thought deeply about it and thus, do not have any such plans as of yet. However, I think we should have the 2-factor authentication on all the social media accounts. I would personally ensure that all my social media connections reach my blog, either through comments, the RSS, email notifications and various other ways. So, even if you lose such connections on social media or their accounts are blocked or hacked, you have their emails with you and can easily contact them. That's why it's so essential to build an email list, isn't it?
1. I see social media as networking and I keep the philosophy simple. It's not just about sharing out my content it's also about sharing out others content and as important, if not more important, I make sure to engage with everyone. If they share, comment or retweet I acknowledge each and every one and I always thank people for their engagement.
2. When someone connects with me for the first time I always reach out with a thank you and immediately I go to their blogs and start interacting with them there and then I share it out to my social media.
If they don't acknowledge the comment or the social share I know they are not really serious about pursuing an online engagement and I even question the seriousness of their business.
However, for those who do acknowledge it I continue to visit their blog, engage there and then engage on social media as well through comments, Likes or Tweets.
3. That's a great question. Honestly, I don't have an answer. Because I'm engaging so much and my blog has gotten popular I'm not sure what the downside would be?
The only alternative to that issue is email and I do have a robust list of readers, webinar attendees and clients that if asked I know they would spread the news to their audience and help me in the rebuild of the social account.
Also, because my blog is heavily read I also know that if I blog about the experience it would attract a potentially new audience as well.
As much as it would stink, I would find the silver lining and turn the negative into a positive experience.
1. I make new social media connections every day. That's because I post to social sites daily. Sometimes I will promote the postings so they reach a larger target audience. I do this on Facebook by boosting certain posts that I think have a good chance of creating such connections. On a regular basis, I run paid Facebook ads limited to target audiences. Some of these ads might be pointed at custom audiences.
As a matter of course, I socialize within Facebook groups. I ask questions designed to learn what people in a niche group find as challenges, problems and obstacles to their success. I offer help where it is appropriate, and where I can.
I also comment on other people's posting, and share them when I think they'll be of interest to my crowd. I always make sure to mention people who are doing constructive or novel things, so that everyone will learn from them, and so that credit is given where due.
2. Once I've developed some rapport with people, I invite them to webinars or Google hangouts that I create. These events are designed specifically to offer solutions to the challenges I've learned are significant to them.
I typically will send them videos, free offers, dripped content including blog posts (mine and those I find share-worthy), and anything else that I know they'll find useful.
Occasionally, I might PM them concerning something particularly interesting or something that is about to happen, such as a webinar, hangout or Periscope.
The main strategy for nurturing these connections is to get them onto my private email list. From there, I can maintain steady contact with them, and keep them engaged in a rolling series of email sequences designed to continually address their concerns and solve their problems.
3. I protect my contacts by harboring them on my private email list. Through a series of offers, webinars, trainings and so forth, I constantly update and upgrade their contact information.
While no method is fool-proof, I am much more comfortable having my contacts on my email list rather than my social media pages.
I can also deepen the relationship much more effectively through my email list. It allows me to offer series of trainings and engagements through my newsletter that I have total control over, rather than on third party social media sites that routinely subject me to changes in their terms of service, and their manner of conducting business.
1. I choose to Focus on and Reward my Email Subscribers (love them!) by visiting several new subscribers’ social media accounts each week.
We all know that list building should be the core foundation of our business, and that social media should be used to point others back to our Authority site.
So that we can build our relationship even stronger by giving valuable help. We can encourage a specific flow of action steps for them to take - on a platform where WE OWN the content and are in complete control.
In ActiveCampaign, my email marketing and automation tool of choice, I can see all of the social networks each subscriber has accounts with. How cool is that?
This is powerful because I can quickly and easily click on their Twitter icon right inside ActiveCampaign to go to their Twitter profile - to follow them, share their links, etc.
Strengthening the bond I have with my subscribers is of utmost importance, and moving laterally to their social media accounts is a great way to achieve this goal.
2. I answer all emails, voice messages, chats - personally.
I comment on my new subscribers’ blogs.
I show that I sincerely care by interacting with them on their social media profiles each and every week.
3. My plan is to make the most of visitors when they land on my own Authority site… turning visitors into subscribers.
The biggest asset in my business is my email subscriber list, not social media contacts.
I value social media, and definitely take advantage of the platforms available today.
But long ago I stopped frittering my time away chasing vanity metrics on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.
There are many income-producing activities that are far more important for me to spend my valuable time on.
1. My process for building social media connections is overly simplistic, but it works for me. I call it the "Monkey See, Monkey Do" strategy.
What I do is research the social media accounts of the influential people I admire. Who are THEY following? Whose content are THEY sharing?
It's all about finding the smartest people in the room and mimicking them. If Pamela Wilson, John Lee Dumas, or Michael Stelzner follow someone, there's probably a reason. If Jeff Goins or Chris Brogan is sharing someone's content, there's probably a reason.
This gives me a starting point. Then I follow the individuals who seem interesting, add them to one of my private Twitter lists, and begin interacting with them.
2. Nurturing a social media connection is really no different than nurturing any relationship. You need to make time for the person. You need to communicate. You need to be supportive.
With social media connections, that means sharing their content from time to time. It means clicking the "favorite" or "like" button. It means responding to their statuses and contributing to the conversation.
Categorized lists on Twitter help me accomplish these tasks. At the end of each day, I spend a few minutes browsing the individuals with whom I want to stay connected. It's an unrefined system, but it gets the job done.
3. Is "weeping uncontrollably and pounding my fist into the ground" a plan? :-)
There ARE social media backup utilities out there, and one of these days I'll wake up and realize the time has come for me to take such precautions. In the meantime, I guess I'll continue jumping out of planes and praying the parachute opens.
1. Outreach – I take social media outreach very seriously. On twitter I am constantly looking for targeted connections and sending them a follow request. Am active on sites like Pinterest, Linkedin and Google+ and I actively reach out to my targeted audience on all of these sites. In the past, I used to build a strong fanpage on facebook too – but then the organic reach of facebook went down and now it isn’t as effective. Self outreach is important but so is accepting requests from others – as other active marketers constantly look to build connections and we shouldn’t miss out on those. Every day I look out for people who followed me and if they are worthy, I follow them back.
I love sharing other people’s content as much as I love sharing my own – that way I get noticed and other people send me connection requests, and I quickly follow back. Sharing someone’s content is the best way to start building a new connection. I use sites like Kingged, BizSugar, AmplifyBlog, Blogengage and many other such social sites to find good content for sharing. Once I find something share-worthy, I read the original article – leave a comment there, then copy down the twitter handle of the writer and use it in the tweet. If multiple authors are linked or mentioned in the post – I mention them all in the tweet.
2. One of the best ways to nurture connections is to keep them active. If they are on the newsletter then auto-responder series will keep them alive and active. If they are on a social media profile, say twitter – 4 to 6 update a day, spaced by 4 to 5 hours will keep them busy and remind them that you still exist. Once in a while, tweet their content, retweet their updates and favourite their stuff – I like to share on other networks too. And while doing so, I always make sure to tag them. Social media has a lot of noise and clatter - this is where social media listening tools are very helpful. It is important to take mentions seriously, which is exactly like replying to comments in our blog posts or thanking people for linking to us.
The concept here is to give back. As long as the connections are benefited from you, they will stick around and even support you back by sharing your stuff.
3. I like to spread out, am available on more than one network and build connections pretty much equally in all the places. Like they say – “don’t keep all the eggs in one bucket”. I have added my connections on most of the networks, so in case I lose one – I can import them from another network. I know this is easier said than done – I have about 8k+ followers on twitter, If I lose them and start fresh, there is no way am going to get them back any time soon. However, I am also active on Pinterest or Facebook or Google+ ... so if (got forbid) I have to lose one network; I will still have the others to keep me afloat.
The safety is in the email list and my main objective is to get them on the list. There is nothing safer, more reliable and useful than our own email list.
The bottom line is to spread out and be active on as many networks as time permits. It minimizes the damage and the content amplification keeps going on.
1. A lot of the new connections I establish are not initially built on social media. Sure, I may discover an account that I would like to connect with through social media... but I generally identify individuals that could make great allies through blog content I discover, guest posts, or interviews. Warm connections help a lot, too... when someone I already follow refers me or introduces me to someone new.
In other circumstances, I may proactively search for bloggers, marketers, or freelancers in a certain niche.
I think the key to establishing meaningful social relationships is to take an active interest in what that individual is doing. For instance, if he or she has a blog, I would be likely to share some of his or her content. I would also leave a comment.
And if I was really interested, I'd send an email introducing myself, asking how I might be able to help that person. For instance, could we collaborate or something in the future?
Most importantly, I don't fake interest. Establishing new social media connections is about identifying people you want to align yourself with. I locate those individuals and then take an interest in their work. A lot of the time, that person in turn takes an interest in mine, and a new relationship is forged.
2. I keep it really simple... I use a spreadsheet. I keep track of social accounts and bloggers that I would like to continue to develop a relationship with. Each week, I go through that list and make a point to share and comment on some of his or her newest content.
I will also periodically send an email to see what that person is up to.
If I feel that we have chemistry, I might even invite that person to participate in an upcoming expert roundup I am putting together, or to appear on my video interview series Better Blogging.
I remember very little of the two psychology classes I took in university... but the one thing that always stuck with me is that familiarity plays a big role in attraction. In other words, we tend to like what we are exposed to most often, especially with people. Building successful social media relationships is about consistency. If you want to gain favor with a particular individual, stay on his or her radar consistently - even if it's only once per week.
3. This has never been a concern to me.
For instance, I tend to get my best engagement on Google+ and I have about 1,500 followers on that platform. There has been a lot of speculation lately that Google may drop their social network altogether... and although that would be disappointing, I'd live.
Like any social platform, your following is just a number. 200,000 followers means nothing if 199,980 of those people don't know you or care about what you do. There's a percentage of your followers that have a genuine interest in you, and there's a much larger percentage that you never hear from. The truth is, the ones that really want to follow you will find you on other platforms.
For example... if Gary Vaynerchuk lost his Twitter account tomorrow, would his influence decrease any? Doubtful.
So if one network went down, I would still follow and engage with the same people I do each week. It just might through a different medium. And likewise, the followers I have that are truly interested in me and my content would continue to follow me elsewhere, as well.
This point does underscore the importance of nurturing a relationship with mailing list, however. Email will never die! ;-)
1. I have two very distinct methods. If I'm trying to connect with an influencer, I'll start following their blog and tweeting/sharing their stuff. Then after a month or two of doing so consistently, I'll attempt to make a connection with them. It works to a degree as I get them as connections on various social media platforms. If I'm trying to connect with someone that's not an influencer, I'll usually either write a topic people are interested in and hashtag it. That usually gets me quite a bit of connections. Or, I'll flat out connect with them myself by sending a message letting them know I want to connect.
2. The best way I know to nurture connections is to just be present. Lately, I've been just sending messages to people I'm connected with just to see how they're doing. I think many people are missing the whole point of social media ... and that's being social. You're human ... just like they're human. Connect with them like a human being. Find out what's going on in their life. I did this recently with someone I actually got on Skype with and it was just great to connect with her and actually see her personality in action.
3. Quite honestly, I don't have anything in place for that. It's something I should look into because I guess Periscope wouldn't make a difference. But as much as we praise email as the best thing a business can have, people that are connected to you through social media are your soldiers. They help get the word out and share content for you. This is something I need to look into definitely.
1. New connections are made up of new followers, likes and friends that have “recently” connected with you on social media. Often times you can’t immediately establish whether they are a highly targeted connection, nor can they be considered an older connection, however they do represent one of the most important connection types within a healthy social community.
When your social media marketing consciously executes an effective strategy to grow your community, it has a powerful impact on your active relationships. Though new connections typically only make up 20% of your active relationship segment it is one of the factors you actually have control over. When you’re actively and continually focused on growing your overall community with new connections your audience grows, the number of engagement opportunities increase and it directly impacts your active conversations and relationships. I am continually friending, following and connecting with new targeted connections on a daily basis.
2. The ebb and flows of your connection types within the connection cycle are often least impacted by older connections, however by no means does that make them any less important. Think of your older connections as fluid relationship connections that periodically move in and out of the active relationship bucket over time. I often think of them as those friends that you get together with a few times a year, and it seems like you start right where you left off last.
I use lists to monitor key connections for opportunities to engage and continually watch my general newsfeeds for the same. Most importantly, I am extremely consistent with graphic, video and blog content creation, as well as content curation to ensure that I always have something relevant and valuable for my connections in my streams. Finally, I look for content being created by my connections that I can also share.
3. For me and my experience, this is not something I have any concern over. So I am a bit confused as to why this is a question. If you are not doing improper things, your accounts will not be blocked or suspended. Hacking is typically only something that is accomplished when a social account owner does foolish things.
Robert actually makes a great point here. Most social media experts will tell you that you need to be aware and mindful of the terms and conditions of each of the social media platforms that you are on so that you don't do anything that can put yourself at risk of being blocked or suspended. You also need to be vigilant with websites that you visit and secure all of your passwords where they cannot be accessed online in order to keep from being hacked.
However, what if there was a situation where you followed the rules and still ended up getting suspended or blocked from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other of your favorite social media platforms?
That can't actually happen can it?
It can, and it did.
This leads us to our final authority: Curt Maly, Social Media Ad Genius.
Curt has literally wrote a guide on how to keep from being blocked on Facebook. He spent over $6,000,000 (that's right, millions) on Facebook ads last year and through no fault of his own, was suspended from Facebook for a year.
Because he has first-hand experience with this situation that so many of us (myself included) never thought could happen, I asked him if he would share what happened with us so that we could better protect ourselves.
Curt was kind enough to agree to enlighten us, so I will share his answers to the three questions below but you can also see them, and the rest of the story in my blab interview with Curt.
I don't want to spoil the video for anyone so if you can't get it to load, you can find it online here anytime: https://blab.im/iu8i9a or, if you're feeling really generous, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.
What I can tell you is that this video teaches us a valuable lesson on the importance of backing up our data. We already do so for our files, photos, programs, etc.; why should our social media be any different?
Because of the fact that we have little control over our social media accounts, one of the best pieces of advice we received from these experts (pretty much across the board) is to:
Get your connections onto your email list
You can accomplish this by following the examples of the authorities in this post (or even your favorite influencers) as the recurring theme in doing so is:
- Listen to what people are saying
- Entertain them with engaging content that is relevant to what you do
- Share their content that speaks to you and your industry
- Reach out to industry experts and form collaborations
- Be consistent
Remember, the best way to achieve consistency is to document your processes for posting and connecting on each social platform so that you can repeat them. It helps to ensure that you aren't missing steps from time to time.
This is separate from keeping a calendar (also a very good idea!) A calendar can help you keep track of what you post and plan ahead so that you don't drop off the face of the earth and have your connections wondering what happened to you.
*Note: A calendar should never stop you from sharing other people's content or adding a post in your favorite platform on the fly when you think of, or experience something great... those posts often get the most shares and attention!
It is also important to keep yourself protected. You can do this by following these tips:
Back up once a month
If your social media contacts are important to you and you want to track them all, you should back them up. I know I can't remember all of my social connections' profile names, even the close ones. Can you?
One option is to copy your contact list from each social site and paste them into Word. It's not pretty, but it will keep the hyperlink to their profile so you can contact them if anything goes wrong. Plus, if you do it right (and are using a newer version of Word), it copies their photo so you can attach a face to the name!
Another alternative is to find a backup program or app to keep your connections all in one place. Kevin Duncan recommended Digi.me and I checked it out. It does save your connections (including their profile description and website), as well as journals the interactions you've had with them. I've only used it a short time but I can see that there are things to look out for:
- It did not import my Facebook friends as Facebook has restricted the information you are allowed to back up. However, you will have your wall posts to see who interacts with you most often.
- It also didn't import my LinkedIn or Google Plus connections or any posts, I didn't find reasons for those.
- It works great for Twitter and Instagram.
- It will also back up your data from Flickr, Pinterest, Viadeo, and your RSS Feed. However, I didn't look into these so you might want to try out the free option before you invest in it, in case it doesn't work for your specific needs.
If you know of any other good backup apps, please share in the comment section!
Stay up-to-date on your social platforms' terms and conditions
Read the fine print! I know it's boring but you don't want to be caught off guard doing something you perceive as completely innocent and losing the right to connect with your social media contacts.
Keep a list of your top connections
Not all social media connections are created equal. Some people will like something you posted and decided to connect on social media but rarely get on, post, or share, etc. to their account. Creating a spreadsheet of the connections you can count on will help immensely; not only in your daily routines but also if you have to rebuild... those will be the first you reconnect with, of course!
Another good method for keeping track of your top connections is using a software platform that offers social monitoring.
I use Hubspot. It is a great tool, not only to plan my posts, but also to connect in real time through all of my social sites in once place. I could go on and on, but some of the authorities have also shared their favorites, and ultimately you need to decide what platform is right for you.
Whatever you decide to use, don't wait.
You don't want to have to worry about investing a ton of time building your connections from scratch, laying off valued employees, or folding your business because you simply didn't worry about it. Some people can bounce back from anything, and maybe you can, but wouldn't you rather be prepared and not have to?
The information shared in this post can help you, but I'd like to offer some added value:
I'm giving out a white paper that contains all of the great advice in this post as well as some bonus material that you can only get in the whitepaper. This will include:
- The Letter I Sent to All of These Amazing People Asking Them to Participate in this Post
Some I had a previous relationship with and others I have just admired from afar.
In addition to the 19 social media authorities who participated in this post; Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott, Neal Schaffer, and Cynthia Johnson were kind enough to personally respond to my letter. I also received responses from the offices of Jon Morrow and Michael Stelzner. The majority of those who responded were planning to help out but couldn't fit it in to their schedule at this time.
- A Social Media Calendar Template
- The Secret to Documentation that Reduces Risk
You can get it here:
Lastly, one final piece of advice. If you want to build connections, especially your email list, you won't know if you can unless you ask.
So, will you subscribe... Pretty please with a cherry on top?
I promise to only send out occasional emails that are worthy of your time!