Expatdoctormom is over a year old! It seems like just yesterday, I was hammering out lists and outlines of how I envisioned the site. When I launched the site, it was out of a need I saw in the community combined with a desire to recreate the kind of community I had in the office virtually!
But I digress. For the site, my goal for the first year was to brand myself as an expert in healthcare. Did I accomplish this? Branding is an ongoing process and I am at least on the road to doing so.
It seems like everyone online is focused on stats. Yes, when the numbers go up, it makes me excited but it is the other things that go along with the numbers that make me excited: the possibility of sponsors for the site and my children’s book, being asked to speak (all free for now), the emailed compliments and having my several articles published on kevinmd, and being accepted onto Alltop!
Running a blog is hard work. There are two things I wish I would have known to do more readily from the start: community build and network. I naively had a “build it and they will come mentality”. And then, my life and other projects got in the way. It was not until 6 months into the site that I actually had the time to community build and network.
All of these lessons learned can be applied to any business or blog.
I wasn’t even certain where to begin. I saw the virtue in it after being led to some sites with great communities by John Falchetto. If you want to see some great online communities in action take a look at Marcus Sheridan, Gini Dietrich or Danny Brown’s blogs. Read and then comment on one of their posts to see for yourself. Make sure you choose to receive follow up comments. Be aware, their posts draw hundreds of comments and may crash your inbox if you subscribe.
If you find a blogger you like, look to see who they like or read. Many a time, they will have a blog roll published on their website.
There is a ongoing debate online of which is better: multiple followers that may not be loyal or lesser numbers that are true to you? I would say it depends what you want to accomplish. If you are branding yourself and building organically, then you want the few good followers. If you are looking at purely list building then you may want many. I prefer the few good followers.
Network, network and network some more.
Choose your social media and then learn it. For some people it is simply too much to be everywhere. So then don’t be everywhere. I have really liked twitter and Facebook and recently started cultivating my Linked in connections. Once you have master 1-2 social media platforms then you can add others; Google + for example.
Marcus Sheridan wrote a brilliant post on the 5 essential levels of networking online. Read it, save the link and then re-read it 6 months down the road.
For a nice list of the 20 most influential people in social media, read this recent post by Kristi Hines. Follow some of these people listed and learn.
If you don’t know where to start with twitter, start with Mark Schaeffer’s Tao of Twitter: A simple concise read that will put you on your way. When people follow you, take the time to see who they are. If they are like-minded or in an area you are interested in then follow back. Send them a direct message about what made you follow them. If they like fried green tomatoes and are from Pataskala just like you then say so. People with follow and unfollow at the drop of a hat more so if you don’t pay them attention.
Flirt a little bit as summarize by Krysia Hepatica in her recent guest post on Mark Schaefer’s blog, Grow. I love how entertaining and ingenious Krysia’s post is, if only I could write more like this.
Lastly, appearance counts so jazz up your twitter page and or make a statement like Brankica. She outlines exactly what she will do if you follow her. Make your bio interesting. Take a look at these clever bio’s collected by Mark Schaefer.
Add tweet old post plug in to your blog. Tweet old post brought one of my articles: “Life in Doha” to the forefront and made me realize that I need to write a part two to this article. It has received as many hits every month since I posted it as my most popularly commented articles. The irony is that I wrote this article in 2005 for friends and family long before I had a blog.
Use something like Hootsuite to help you manage your social media. Hootsuite allows me to view all of my social media on one page and post to all of them simultaneously as well as schedule posts!
Create a Facebook fan page for your website/blog. If you don’t know how, then read this post by Brankica. She will even teach you how to customize it here. She knows her stuff and I am continually impressed by her knowledge.
You can put up a static page that pretty much makes anyone like your page to get on. Love that!
And recently the new timeline feature was introduced. If you want tips on how to make this work for you, take a look at Kikolani’s post here.
Two sites to watch if you really want to cultivate your Facebook followers are Social Media Examiner or Brian Moran. The former has great tips for all social media not only Facebook. Brian is among the top when it comes to Facebook marketing. He has over 85,000 followers on his websites fan page.
The best tip I learned about networking on Linked in came from Stephanie Ward of Firefly Coaching. In her post, she explains how to post not only to your connections but also to everyone in your groups “increasing your visibility by 1,000″. This one tip has really caused my Linked in visibilty to rock. My website hits jumped by 20% in one week and sold me on the value of Linked In.
In this one short week, I have also connected with more like-minded individuals than on any other SM site. Where else can I meet someone with my same name “Rika’ who is also studying functional medicine (she from a nutritional standpoint and me from a medical standpoint). 2 degrees of separation.
One tip for using her group sharing method, you cannot do this from Hoot Suite. You need to manually enter the post onto Linked in and then follow the steps. The share button simply is not visible when you post from Hoot Suite and then go to your Linked In profile
Play in the right Neighborhoods
If your niche is “auto body” then seek out the “auto body crowd”. I hadn’t really connected to as much of the medical community as I should have until I started using Linked in. In my opinion, it is harder to blog if your niche isn’t Social Media, business, marketing or the like. You have to stay on top of your niche as well as learn all of the above niches.
Exploring Google +
My next endeavor will be to explore Google +. Kristi Hines wrote an article on where to begin and then the Social Media Examiner published additional tips. I have patiently been observing to see if this particular form of Social Media would disappear or take off. One of the benefits I can see is that you can create a very small circle of just your close family and friends. This takes care of the age-old question of how much do you share online? You can share everything but be selective about who you share it with.
What have been your favorite tips for community building and networking?This article was first published on For Bloggers By Bloggers