This is part two of a three-part series about getting your friends, colleagues, family or associates to join social networks and find their value.
Part II: Helping your friend find their community
The biggest step is now over—you got your friend to sign up for Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn. Let’s move on to the next step: how does your friend find the people who share the same interests and passions?
I firmly believe that social media becomes worthwhile when a person finds a niche community that they interact with on a regular basis. Going back to our example in my previous post, your clothing designer friend will value social media only if they can use it to meet the designers, big fashion houses and trendsetters that matter to them. Fortunately, there are a number of tools and techniques within each network that can help guide your friend’s search and unlock the power of social networking.
The first group of people your friend should immediately follow is their real-life friends. These folks are a good place to start because they probably share some of the same interests as your friend, and they’ll be willing to divulge information from within a particular online community. Advise your friend to look through their friends’ followers and connections for interesting accounts to follow.
A big purpose and where the power of social media resides is being able to go outside your reach and connect with people who you wouldn’t have access to in real life. The following tools exemplify this and heighten a user’s experience in a way that can benefit them.
Follower Wonk: This tool allows you to search Twitter bios for particular keywords and compare followers or following of up to three separate users. For instance, if your friend is looking for other fashion designers to collaborate with or get advice from, a search for the terms such as “fashion,” “fashiondesign” and “couture” reveals hundreds of results. From there, your friend can compare three users to see who they mutually follow in order to grow their network even further. Go ahead and give it a try.
Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck is a desktop or browser add-on that lets you monitor and engage various users; the platform also provides insight on certain keywords and allows you to create lists for certain followers and search terms. Your friend can monitor words like “fashion AND NYC” to see who is talking about certain fashion events in New York City. The strength of the keywords and lists can help your friend see who is actively engaged in the topic of their choosing. This is a great way to be more specific in a search for users that are considered influential within a certain community.
Search: Probably the most powerful tool for Instagram is already located within the app itself. The search feature allows you to look up hash tags found in the picture’s description and comments. Searching for the tag “#fashion” brings up close to 13 million images. Once your friend sees a user who consistently posts high-quality images that are constantly receiving plenty of interaction, they should tap the follow button because that person is viewed as an influencer. Monitoring several tags at once can help your friend target their niche market.
Statigram: Statigram is an online Instagram viewer that allows users to view more pictures at once in a web browser instead of scrolling through their mobile app. It also gives you a great breakdown of the metrics within your account. The only feature that it doesn’t have is the ability to post pictures to an Instagram account.
Like Instagram, LinkedIn’s search bar can be used to access all of their users, groups, and companies. Their advanced search feature allows a user to be more thorough in their search. This can be helpful if your friend is having trouble finding a person’s name but remembers their title and company.
To find big guns, joining groups would be the best place to start. Members in groups are typically employees within a certain field that are trying to gain benefits from the content and discussions that are posted. Within each group page, on the right column, LinkedIn lists the top influencers for each week. Since these individuals are leading a lot of the group’s discussions and managing the group, interacting with them could offer more insights. All your friend has to do is make their acquaintance within the group and then request to connect with them.
Now that your friend has found influential people to follow and started interacting with people who have the same interests as they, it’s time to move onto the final step: creating value to gain a loyal following.
— Sean Clark