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Organize Your Social Marketing

Let these tools make your networking time more productive.
Organize Your Social Media

We wrote the last edition of our book How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Other Social Networks just over two years ago. So when our editor asked us to update it, we figured it wouldn’t be that big a deal. Were we wrong. First off, MySpace, while not dead, is definitely growing old quickly. But every other social network has grown like a baseball player on steroids.

In less than three years, Facebook has gone from 150 million users to 800 million, LinkedIn from 35 million to 120 million, and Twitter from between 2 million and 3 million to 100 million active users. Then there’s the new kid on the block, Google+, which after only about five months has 30 million to 50 million users. With all these people posting, tweeting and sharing, how can you use your time productively? How do you organize all those various streams without drowning in information?

Fortunately, as these networks have grown, so have the tools they’ve added for targeted and organized communication. LinkedIn has tags and InMaps, Twitter now has Lists, Facebook has added lists, too, including smart lists, and Google+ from the start included Circles—its most discussed and valuable feature.

LinkedIn

On LinkedIn you can assign tags (keywords) to your connections, so you can view your network (and work with it), according to how you’ve categorized everyone. For example, we have tags for friends, partners, classmates and e-commerce sellers. When we’re looking for sources for an article, we click the connections tab from our home page, then under the word Tags we click on the link for e-commerce sellers. That way we can zero in on the LinkedIn profiles of use to us at the time.

LinkedIn has added another feature that lets you view your network in a whole new way. InMaps provides a visual overview of who comprises your network. Your connections are grouped into color-coded clusters representing different segments such as school, a previous employer or the industry you’re a part of. The size of a connection’s name also matters. The bigger the name, the more connected that person is within that group.

There’s more to it, but using words to describe something that’s so visual doesn’t work that well, sometimes. So assuming you’re on LinkedIn and have at least 50 connections and a profile that’s 75 percent complete, or more, take a look at your InMap by visiting http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com. You’ll soon see what we mean.

Unless you organize that stream of tweets, you’ll get the good stuff thrown in with the innocuous to the truly bad and annoying

Twitter

We don’t know how many people you “follow” on Twitter, but we follow about 400, a list that includes publishers, eBay sellers, friends, potential employers and just about anyone who piqued our interest. While we know we could be following other people with great insights to share, we’re basically happy with our Twitterverse.

The problem occurs when we login to view our stream. Unless you organize that stream of tweets, you’ll get the good stuff thrown in with the innocuous to the truly bad and annoying. For example, before we used lists, we just read our stream as it came to us. So we’d get messages like, “Great blog article on eBay’s new fees, see www.xxxx.,” or “AuctionBytes’ latest issue is here, www.xxxx”, or “Calling All Nerds, eBay Wants your Old iPhones www.xxxx,” or “It’s hot as hell here, how about for you?” Now that last one came from our beloved cousin in Florida, and while we’re always interested in how she’s doing, sometimes, we’re actually trying to work!

Fortunately, thanks to Twitter’s list feature, there’s no need to let errant tweets throw you off. Simply make separate lists for your various interests, say eBay selling, eBay pubs, sourcing and so on. To create a list, just click the last of the five hyperlinks appearing on your home page below the “What’s happening” box. Name the list, write a description for it, then decide whether you’d like for it to be a private list for your eyes only, or one that’s publically available (meaning others can find and follow the list you’ve created). After that, save your list, and from then on it will appear under the pull-down menu next to the Lists hyperlink.

The last step, of course, is to assign people to your list. You have two sources to choose from the Twitterverse at large, or the people you are already following. Adding someone to a list is simple, the easy-to-follow instructions are on the site.

Once your tweeple are organized into lists, you can choose to read the category of tweets you’d like to read at the time, rather than be at the mercy of your unharnessed Twitter stream. One last thing: To find other lists to follow, just go to the profile for someone you really respect as a knowledgeable source, click on one of their lists and click the “follow this list” button. That list is now yours to follow as well.

Facebook

It is interesting how quickly Facebook added a lists feature once Google+ arrived with its much heralded Circles capability (more on that soon). No matter what the inspiration, Facebook lists are here, and you may well want to take advantage of them.

First off, Facebook starts the process for you by creating smart lists. Facebook develops these for you based on your profile information. Let’s say you identify your employer as being Amazon. Now, every one of your friends who has also identified herself as an Amazon employee is added to that list. Facebook creates the following smart lists for you automatically: work, school, family and city. Read more about smart lists here.

Of course, you can create lists of your own, and name them and populate them as you wish. Once you have some lists created, your Facebook time can be much more organized. You can see what your family is up to once you arrive home from work. While you’re at work, you can view updates from business colleagues and, perhaps, actually appear to be working.

One other thing: Facebook lists are useful not only because they allow you to view just the updates you’d like to view, they also allow you to organize your own communications. For example, if you have a list of customers who have opted in to receive updates from you, through lists you can send links, updates and discount offers just to them. Those communications will not show up on your public wall.

As soon as you’ve imported your e-mail contact list, you’re encouraged to place each of your contacts in a Circle

Google+

We’ve saved the best for last. Are you on Google+ yet? If you’re not, what are you waiting for? We feel strongly it won’t be too long before you’ll see its value.

The best thing about Google+ is the concept of Circles. Right from the start, as soon as you’ve imported your e-mail contact list, you’re encouraged to place each of your contacts in a Circle. Google starts you out with circles for friends, family, acquaintances and following. But of course, you may create your own.

Two things are especially cool about circles. First, it’s actually fun to populate them. You drag the icon for your contact down to the circle you’d like for her to be in, and the icon moves around the inner part of the circle joining the other icons that are already there. (Here we go again, trying to use words to explain something you just have to see for yourself). After the icon has been added a satisfying green balloon with a +1 pops up, showing you’ve successfully added that person.

The second cool thing is that Google+ members can share the circles they have created, just as Twitter users can add others’ lists to their own. How you do things on Google+ is changing all the time it seems (again, it’s only about five months old), but for now you can find shared circles by entering “shared a circle with you” as your search term. That will bring up public circles. We were not able to find any for eBay yet, but we did find one for Entrepreneurs.

We hope you can use the information here to help make your time on social networks both more productive and more fun. While taking these steps to get organized can seem like a lot of work, once you’ve done so, every time you’re on that site, you reap the benefits of your work. You’ve given yourself more control over how you spend your time, and that’s always a good thing, isn’t it?

About the author

Brad & Debra Schepp
Brad and Debra Schepp are the authors of 20 books, including eBay PowerSeller Secrets and The Official Alibaba.com Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace. Their most recent book is How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Brad is also a literary agent for Waterside Productions. For further information, visit the couple's website, bradanddeb.com. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • hugo

    I do not have a website, but what I want to do is to get something unto the net with other web user contributing, i.e I need their imput. Again for example I will or want to publish a statement and need the answers and input and contributions of others. How do I go about it and what is the best way of doing it?

    •  I’m not sure that I understand your question, but you may want to try posting in LinkedIn’s Answers area. Just be sure you’re clear and concise
      about your needs. 🙂

  • Nice to read your blog

  • Exactly what I was searching for, thankyou for putting up.

  • An interesting read! Keep up the awesome posts!

    •  Thanks so much. Comments like yours really keep us motivated. 🙂

      Brad



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