Building your social networking influence can take a bit of work, but you have to plan your strategy before you stand a chance to make it work. There are loads of sites you can use to build your influence. For example, you could check out this post on how to build your social networking influence on Twitter, or follow the plan I will lay out here today on just about any networking site.
Ever since I made weekly top user at Blog Engage last week, I have been really excited. It gave me a lot of exposure, and I have gotten a lot of really great contacts. But, it wasn't something that happened by accident.
I have had over 20 requests to guest post on various blogs ranging from health related blogs ( not a niche I am even really well involved in, although I talk about some of my own personal experiences on my personal blog) to marketing and personal development blogs. That has been awesome, and I plan to do something for almost all of them (there were a few that the blogs didn't look up to par for me).
However, without one essential piece of the puzzle, none of it would have happened.
Plan to Build Your Social Networking Influence
If you have been around for a while, you probably have been told hundreds of times that you need a plan, and in order to create social networking influence, this is no exception. Although some of us seem to beat this dead horse into the ground, the fact is that without a plan, you won't really succeed at anything that you try in this business. It is most often the one thing missing from the blogs that I see who struggle to succeed.
A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to boost my visibility on Blog Engage, and get to know more people. In order to do that I put together a plan to help me get there, and really I didn't spend a ton of time doing it. I put this plan into action at the end of the first week of September, and at the end of the month, surprisingly I had already reached one of my main goals behind the plan.
Today, I thought I would share my plan with you, so you can get an idea of what type of plan you need to really succeed in building your social networking influence, and becoming a top user yourself. I thought I would let you steal my plan and test it out for yourself. It could also be easily transferred to any social networking site, and even adapted to use with forums, and other community based sites.
(I adapted this plan from my forum marketing plan that I have used for 3 years to build my brand through forum networking)
My Blog Engage Action Plan
Submissions – My plan included making a new blog post on one of my blogs every day, and submitting it. My main blog is on the RSS feed service, so that one is easy to handle, but my other niche blogs I have to submit manually (although I am looking to upgrade soon so that they are all on the feeds.)
So, in order for this to work, I had to make sure I posted every day on at least one of my blogs. Using a variety of articles and curation software made this pretty easy to manage.
Voting – I decided to vote at least 20 posts every day. I would browse through all of the submissions in my related niches and vote on at least 20 (if I found more, I would vote on as many good ones as I found). Some of the posts would also be ones I found on other networking sites, and through my Google Reader, so hitting the Blog Engage Vote Button Was a piece of cake.
One key thing to note here, I only vote on posts I have actually read. Don't just go through spamming votes to up your vote count. That throws the whole system out of wack.
I would also tweet g+, like, stumble, and/or comment on all of them, sharing the love with those blog owners, and engaging them a little more directly.
Commenting – one feature I really didn't use much until I decided to move into the top user ranks was the commenting feature. I set it in my plan to comment on at least 3 posts a week. This engaged more people, and especially some of those who were higher up the food chain than me on the Top User's list. If you want to leave a comment on Blog Engage, look underneath the submission, and hit the “Discuss” tag.
Chat Messaging– This was probably the scary part with me, because although I make a living from using social networking sites, I am still a little shy. Once you get me talking, sometimes its hard to shut me up, but I am always a little hard to start up new conversations.
However, in my plan, I decided I would message at least 2 new people every week. I would randomly strike up a random conversation with at least 3 people I met. Usually I found that talking about their latest blog post was a good icebreaker, and from there we would just chat about blogging, marketing, and other stuff related to our mutual topics of interest. Not only did this help me with my goal of becoming a weekly top user, but it has helped my overcome some of that natural shyness as well. On top of that, I have gotten to know several really great bloggers this way.
1 Guest post per week – I also decided to ramp up my guest posting on Blog Engage, so I did one guest post each week on their blog. This engaged more people, and kept me coming back to answer comments, while I did the other things within the plan of action.
When guest posting on these networking sites, I found out something interesting. Most people who guest post are focussed more on what they normally talk about on their own blogs. I had done the same thing in the past, and it really didn't generate much feedback.
Instead, write to the community. It will help your social influence with that network, and brand yourself as someone there to help the community. For example, in my latest guest post, I talked about how to raise your social authority by engaging more on Blog Engage. Since it was on their blog, EVERYONE using the site could benefit from it.
Your Social Networking Influence Doesn't take Loads of Time to Build
All this took place with an average of less than 45 minutes per day of work on Blog Engage. Some days I spent more, but other days it was less. Although reading the blog posts took a bit longer, many of those were blogs I was already reading as I looked through my Google Reader, Twitter feeds, and other sites I regularly pay attention to, looking for content ideas of my own and great stuff to curate on my blogs.
From the time I put the plan into action, it took less than 2 weeks to reach my goal of hitting the top user list. I thought perhaps a month or 2 at least when I started the plan, but it was actually much easier than that. Once you set a goal, often I find that it works out faster than expected, if you have a solid plan and follow it consistently. Following this plan has expanded my social networking influence not only on their site, but across the other sites that I use as well.
I would then break this plan down into a daily list of things to do, so that before you ever log in, you will know exactly what you plan to do that day. This will help you engage more, but keep focused on the fact that you are working.
This plan could easily be adapted to any social sharing or networking site that you use. In fact, it wasn't hard to create the plan since it was simply a variation on my forum marketing plan that I have been using for 3 years.
Set yourself a goal, and stick to it. Once you hit your daily quota, leave the site, and work on other things for the day. You don't want to get so caught up in it that you don't do anything else, which is really easy to do if you are enjoying yourself (which you should be).
Not only has this gotten me to becoming a top user on one of my favorite sites, but it has helped me build my own reputation, and I have gotten guest post requests from several people in the niche, as well as requests to guest post on my own blog. It can do the same for you, and your struggling blog.
How has setting a plan helped you achieve more with your site? If you don't have one, what is stopping you? Leave your comments below, and share your thoughts and experiences, as well as any questions that could be floating through your mind.