Creating Your Networks

10801150_mlEstablishing a network and online following does not happen over night. Whilst a majority of us would love to wake up one morning with 100 new Twitter followers, 65 comments on your blog post, 150 shares on Facebook or 300 likes on a new Instagram post, this rarely happens; it can take months and sometimes even years to learn how to construct your online community and contacts. Admittedly, I am no expert when it comes to online networking, however this post is written to inform you about a few basic practices that will aid in creating and expanding your network.

Tweet and post during peak times:

To ensure that your content reaches as many people as possible, it is incredibly important to post your link, status or tweet during peak online times. Each social networking platform has specific times and days where user activity is increased and if you post during these times, it is inevitable that you will be engaging with a wider network, maximizing your online presence and boosting your online readership.

Social media researcher Dan Zarella believes that you are most likely to obtain Twitter followers and RT’s between 2pm-8pm on a weekend; whereas Facebook posts receive their highest levels of interaction between 9am-12pm during a Thursday and Friday. Whilst these statistics have been determined by scientists and media researchers, they may not apply directly to your individual social media timelines therefore it may be useful to track the times and days your posts receive the most RT’s, likes, favourites, followers, pins, etc., for future reference.

Incorporate hash tags into your posts or tweets:  

Unless you are a technophobe or have been living under a rock for the last three to four years, you are probably aware how vital a hashtag (#) is to expanding your online network and sifting through content. Using a hashtag is not guaranteed to automatically gain you hundreds of followers, but it enables your content to be broadcast further than your own timeline therefore reaching a larger audience and offering potential followers an opportunity to identify, respond and react to your post. To use hashtags effectively and increase your online presence, avoid using more than three hashtags and try to keep them concise, short and sweet; distorting your point or making it hard for others to find your content will decrease your online reputation and network.

Interaction is key:

Much like the real world, the online world is no different when it comes to networking and creating relationships; you must be willing to actively participate and engage in conversation with a variety of people to make yourself known. If you really enjoyed reading an individuals blog post or found yourself agreeing with a strangers tweet, be proactive and let them know! Chances are they will be thrilled that somebody has shown interest in their work and will hopefully return the favour by likewise interacting with your content.  Additionally, if an individual leaves a comment on your blog post or follows you on a variety of social networking platforms, reply and politely thank them for reaching out to you – one these people could be an extremely useful contact for you to have!

Follow, link and retweet individuals who you share similar interests with:

It is counterproductive to follow individuals on social media platforms that you have nothing in common with; you will be left feeling uninspired and bored. You must purposely seek out individuals who you have mutual interests with via hash tags or search engines yet if you can’t find people who share your interests, find a way to relate to others by asking about pets, favourite restaurants, favourite book, etc. When following individuals who you share interests with, you are bound to show genuine interest in this persons’ life and their content therefore creating genuine and authentic connections. Let them know you’re engaged and invested in their content by sharing their links and RT’ing relevant posts but keep this too a minimum, you don’t want your enthusiasm to be perceived as a cyberstalking. 

Make a good first impression: 

First impressions always last and nobody wants to be remembered by academics or readers as the person who continuously swears in their tweets or posts derogatory comments. You must always be aware that a persons first impression of you and your online content will stick, regardless if you do change it in the future. To resolve this situation from arising, you should always aim to: remain polite, demonstrate good manners, proofread your work, compliment others, think twice before publishing content and always have a respectable profile picture (drunk pictures from your holiday in Ibiza will not go down very well, sorry!).

Ensure your content is versatile: 

Sharing your thoughts on a multitude of topics and posting varied content will undeniably attract you a strong online reputation and provide an opportunity to form new connections with others, but remember the central purpose of your blog and how you want it to represent you and your skills; don’t try to be a jack of all trades and dilute the quality of your content. If your current profile is not obtaining the traffic or interactions you would like, you need to understand what content your online networks enjoy and tailor your posts/tweets/links to their preferences. When posting content, it is also beneficial to refrain from posting strictly text only posts; reading through a Facebook and Twitter timeline that is saturated predominately with words is tedious, thus including a mixture of images, links, videos and infographics lightens up your profile and your overall online presence.

Please find below an assortment of links that detail which Humanities and Arts scholars, bloggers and academics can be followed via Twitter, enjoy! 

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