How to use different social media sites to follow-up
No matter how interconnected social media sites seem to be with each other, the truth is that following up is an activity that should occur on the site you got a response from, as opposed to every single site. And if your definition of following-up also includes occasionally asking people questions or commenting on something they said, regardless of whether or not you think you’ll do business with that person, posting your follow-up to every site you are on can ultimately be more of a gaffe than a benefit. A follow-up isn’t always about business, so much as it is about showing people you care.
My approach to following up with people via social media depends on the actual site I’m using. What works for Twitter won’t work for Linkedin or Facebook because the sites have different interfaces, which dictate how the technology can be used. With that in mind the following tips are offered as a way to help you with your follow-up activity on different social media sites.
Following up via Twitter
Twitter provides a number of avenues for following up, though some avenues are more effective than others. For instance, while retweeting can certainly be thought of as following-up in terms of doing an activity that makes you visible to someone you follow, it does little to spur conversation on, in and of itself.
A reply on the other hand is much more effective. You are commenting on what someone has said, and there are better chances of getting a conversation to occur, because you aren’t just forwarding the announcement out to your network. A reply also shows that you are actively interested in what the person is saying as opposed to passively passing it on.
A Direct Message is also effective for following up with people privately. I usually use a direct Message when I want to ask the person to take the conversation to a different medium, but I also use it to thank someone without taking up bandwidth publicly.
Following up Via Linkedin
With Linkedin following up tends to occur via the email service Linkedin provides, though you can also follow-up by commenting on someone’s status. While I think commenting on status can be useful for following up, if I want the person to contact me and pursue a possible business relationship using their internal mail system seems to be more effective.
You can also use the initial act of invitation as a follow-up, but as I mentioned in my previous post on the subject, make the effort to personalize it, if you choose that particular option.
Another way to follow-up is to write a recommendation. I do this twice a year as a way of thanking people who stood out to me in a notable way over the course of the last half year. It’s a great way to remind that person of you and your working relationship.
Groups is useful for starting discussions around information you want to offer about a particular topic or subject area. I follow-up in the discussion thread if people comment, and if the subject gets very interesting, I’ll send a private message to the person to see if they want to also talk offline.v I treat the Q and A forum in the same manner.
Following Up Via Facebook
Following up in Facebook can be done in several ways. Depending on what your goal is you may favor one approach over another. Choosing to like something isn’t following up. While it might tell someone you liked their status, it doesn’t meaningfully engage them in a manner that’s actually significant.
A private message is useful if you want to direct the person toward a different medium of conversation. I’ll take a conversation to Facebook mail when I’m making arrangements for an event or following up about something a bit more private than I would wish to air publicly.
Comments are where follow-up really occurs. Commenting on someone’s status update can easily lead to conversation. If you have a fan-page, it’s important you check your fan-page as you won’t get notifications of comments. I see a lot of conversations occur in Facebook comments and I think its wise to follow-up by commenting on what someone said on there.
Following-up on Biznik
Biznik unfortunately doesn’t provide status updates, so following up is limited to using their version of e-mail, compliments, and choosing to comment on an article or forum topic. I’ll admit I don’t use the forums often, as I find it hard to keep up if there’s a lot of scrolling involved. I use compliments in the same way I use Linkedin Recommendations, to follow-up in a positive manner with people who stood out to me in the last half year. I use Biznik mail when I want to connect with someone or I’ll just pick up the phone and call as most Bizniks have their phone numbers listed on their profiles.
What about you? How do you or would you customize your approach to following-up on different social networking sites? What constitutes following-up to you?