Plain and simple. This goes against all rules of marketing, sales, public relations, Blog Conference Speakers, etc. You can Network too much. Cyber Network that is.
Network forums, communities, clubs Oh My!
Just because there is an online community doesn’t mean it will help you and your goals. I made the mistake when I first started blogging by joining every Blogging Community out there. Add to my daily writing, maintaining my sites, and Twitter and Facebook shout-outs, I needed to show movement on all the sites I joined to gain exposure. Guess what I noticed? The same people are on every site! As time went on I got bogged down by the topics on the forums and my focus on my online presence through my sites was neglected. It hurt to play catch up. My readership and followers did not increase exponentially in accordance to my involvement in these groups. Yep, a big waste of time.
What should you do?
Know your niche and target market.
Look at the available forums, skim through them as a guest to see what type of activity is happening. Message longtime members and ask if their membership helped their business. Go through membership lists and quickly tally the percentage of active members. Having 20,000 members with only a few hundred active ones does not make for a good networking op. Join one or two of your niche’s networking groups online and commit to be active on them weekly.
Have a Twitter Presence!
Twitter is a quick and effective tool to hone in on your target audience and drive activity to your site. Of course, keep it real. Tweet interesting articles you find in your niche, ask questions to your target audience, and always, always, always tweet links to your newest posts.
Do not bait and switch your followers! Your links should not be the ones that require the reader to enter their information to receive the article or “special gift”. You will get un-followed or worse, blocked. If your 140 characters peaked my interest, I want to click on a link that will bring me directly to what you tweeted about. Satiate my interest, don’t turn it bitter.
Virtual networking is great for our virtual world, but human contact is still needed! Look for a group or club in your area that first and foremost interests you. If it interests you, it interests its other members, and what you have to offer has a stronger chance of interesting them as well.
MeetUp.com is a great site to find like minded groups in your area. Get away from your computer and sit face to face with your target market. Develop relationships built not around the computer but around you. There is something still to be said about a firm handshake and looking people in the eye. You’ll be surprised at how invigorated and motivated you are to get back to your computer and work once you’ve connected with people away from your office.
I Practice what I Preach
Yes I am practicing what I preach. I have cancelled memberships in redundant networking sites for my niche. I maintain active Twitter and Facebook accounts. Meeting face to face is my newest endeavor and am enjoying it immensely!
Let someone else do your online networking
For my clients I approach networking the same way.
If you are still on the fence about all this virtual networking, online brand platform, etc. I can help you. I develop your web presence in social media and maintain it until you reach a point where you can take over. My services are great for those just starting out and have more pressing issues to handle daily (like filling orders, writing chapters for your next novel, fine tuning your business plan, adding more content to your blog, etc.). If you are overwhelmed with balancing networking and working, contact me, I can help!