“A one-size-fits-all friendship doesn’t work. Long term friends have a different level of connectedness than a new Facebook friend. Yet both have value.”–Jeff Hurt
It’s easy to become frustrated or overwhelmed with building relationships online. I’ve found it helpful to think of four kinds relationships to help focus your time on social media.
- Close friends and family
- Coworkers and locals
- People you know but live far away
- People you just met and want to get to know better
Each online tool presents different opportunities for each group. Twitter works effectively for #4 while Facebook struggles. Yet Facebook works much better for #1 than Twitter. Focusing in on what type of people you are trying to influence will help you select the right tools as well as the kind of content that will be most effective.
Generously Share Other People’s/Organizations Content:
“The highest compliment an organization can receive is “You’re a great sharer.” That’s better than you’re a hoarder of information.”—Hurt
Sharing other people’s content takes time, which in the social media environment is scarce. Most people and organizations choose to either quickly publish or exclusively consume information. Investing the time to find and share other people’s content can be a helpful way to establish trust.
Let the Tools Empower the Relationship, Not Determine It
“Don’t get enamored with the social technology tools at the expense of the relationship. The tools are devices that can support communications and connections.”—Hurt
Especially with so many options for social media today (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, Blogs, et) it’s even more important to make sure the level of engagement online matches the offline reality. Organizations must be careful about adding/following people on social networks without some level of previous connection or interaction.
Consistency is Much More Important Than Frequency
This has been said a million times (for good reason). The most important an individual or team tasked with maintaing a social media presence can do is honestly determine how much time per week can be invested. Not an estimation or idealized amount of time but a realistic and appropriate number.