The 10-Minute Daily Guide to Building Your Social Media Profile

No amount of effort with social media sites and tools like digg, StumbleUpon, MyBlogLog, Propeller, etc. can make up for a bad blog. A lack of focus, poor writing, over-advertising and a lousy design will sink your blog each and every time, regardless of how much effort you put into social networking and social media promotion.

The flip side is also true, in that you could have a focused niche, write well, limited advertising and a beautiful design, but still find it hard to build an audience. So you shouldn’t be ignoring the opportunities that social networking and social media provide.

In a recent post I wrote about linkbaiting and guest writing on other blogs, James Chartrand left a comment that got me thinking:

What about when you don’t have the time to surf all the social networking sites? It seems ridiculous. Just after I tell someone we have a LinkedIn page, they ask me if the business has a MySpace page. Then a Yahoo page. Then a Facebook page, a Digg page, and so on.

Not only am I expected to have a page on every social networking or media site or blog possible, I’m expected to surf and browse all these sites, comment, keep in touch and be active.

It goes on. I still have to visit relevant blogs to my subject area and target audience, reading, commenting, etc. Plus there is my own blog, of course, and I do have to work for a living as well…

Stop the madness is a phrase that comes to mind. What’s your solutions to this “be active everywhere at once” problem?

This is an extremely common problem. And it’s getting worse. James didn’t mention Twitter or any of the people search engines like Xing and Spock that have emerged recently.

Can You Keep Up With All the Options?

Honestly, you can’t. Not in a way that allows you to focus effectively on each site and service, assess the value you’re getting and maximize that value.

Two quick suggestions:

  1. Be a late adopter. It’s OK if you don’t jump on the bandwagon of every new social media and social networking site. Give it some time, read some intelligent reviews from people you trust (who are early adopters) and then make your move. Being a late adopter allows you gather more information on the value of joining the “latest greatest” service out there.

    A good example is BlogRush. I haven’t added it to my sidebar. For starters, I was skeptical, but even if I was gung-ho I’d probably wait awhile to see how well it’s working for others.

  2. Focus, focus, focus. Once you realize you can’t be everywhere all the time, try focusing on a few social networks and social media sites at a time. Build up a reputation in those (which can take considerable time and energy) and then move on from there.

    The alternative is to be everywhere at once but only dip your toe into each place. That’s not a terrible strategy but it can be distracting. If you have taken this approach, you can still decide to focus by putting more energy into just a few of the social networking and media sites, building up your profile in those, and then moving onward.

Even coming in late, after assessing the results others have experienced, and trying to focus, you’re bound to be overwhelmed with options.

The challenge at that point becomes managing and growing your profile and reputation in each social media and social networking site as easily as possible.

The 10-Minute Daily Guide to Building Your Social Media Profile

  • Twitter: Check Twitter once or twice daily. You’ll miss some stuff, but that’s the nature of Twitter anyway. Scanning tweets is easy, so go through them quickly, and respond to anything appropriate. Robert Scoble does a great job of listing the 10 rules of Twitter. Of course, he breaks them all, but the guidelines are helpful. And Chris Brogan has some ideas on becoming a valued Twitter user that are helpful.
  • MyBlogLog: Check your community page once daily. Visit each new community member’s profile page and leave them a thank you message. If your community is growing slowly, you might decide to do this weekly. Each thank you should be as personalized as possible, but you don’t have to go crazy.

    The beauty of MyBlogLog is seeing who continues to visit your site. If you see people in the widget that are there regularly, visit their profiles, consider adding them as contacts and leave thank you messages.

  • RSS Reader / Blogs: I try and scan my RSS Reader no more than 3 or 4 times a day. It will depend on how many feeds you’re watching, and how you’ve got them categorized. But you should be able to get a clear picture of what’s important to you very quickly.

    Lately, I haven’t commented as much as I’d like. Commenting on blogs is definitely worthwhile, the challenge is leaving meaningful comments and not spending hours a day doing it.

    Keep cognizant of those blogs that you really enjoy where you haven’t commented in awhile. Take an extra few minutes and re-connect with those blogs via comments. Even if it’s a “great post!” type comment it will help re-establish the relationship with the blog author.

    Bonus Tip: Avoid a growing reading list that becomes unmanageable. If you see something interesting in your RSS Reader, check it out as quickly as possible (even if you’re scanning it) and comment if appropriate. But once you start saving a ton of bookmarks to be read at a later date it’s unlikely you’ll ever find the time.

  • Technorati & Linkbacks: Once a day, check Technorati (and other means) for tracking links back to your blog. Visit each of the sites that link to you. If they’re running MyBlogLog, they’ll see that you took the time, and that builds goodwill. A simple “thank you” comment is OK too.
  • StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon is by far and away the best social media site out there. For this reason I’ve separated it out from the group below. Staying active on StumbleUpon is as easy as voting on stories you like. But in order to really build out your profile you need to spend more time. Lots of people have written about how to get the most out of StumbleUpon.

    But the 10-minute daily approach is even simpler. Track who stumbles stories on your blog, befriend them, and then send them a message through StumbleUpon. The last step, sending a message, is one that I’ve just started, in the hopes that I can make a more personal connection with stumblers interested in my subject matter.

  • Social Media & Bookmarking Sites: I have to lump the group of them together, because there are too many to list. These include: digg, Sphinn, Shoutwire, Propeller, reddit and many, many others. Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to focus on more than 2 or 3 at any given time. The 10-minute daily guide to building your profiles on these sites is simple:
    1. Vote daily on a handful of posts.
    2. Submit weekly; at least 1 post, or preferably 5-10.

    You might want to start with less-trafficked, niche sites to start. Sphinn is a great example.

Note: I didn’t include Facebook in the list because it’s impossible to do anything on Facebook in less than 10 minutes. It’s one of the ultimate time-sucks. Having said that, there’s a lot of value in Facebook, which I’ll probably discuss in the future.

The key to succeeding with this 10-minute guide is organization. You need to be organized, practical and focused on moving efficiently. Schedule the times you use the social media, network and bookmarking sites just like you should schedule when you check your email.

The Goals of Building Your Social Media Profile

The goals are simple:

  1. Develop meaningful relationships
  2. Build targeted traffic

If you choose to spend more time building your social media profile, you’ll likely get better results. But that doesn’t mean you need to or should spend hours per day. And always keep top-of-mind what you’re trying to accomplish, because it’s easy to get carried away and build up your profile for the sake of doing so.

What tips do you have for maintaining and raising your social media profile as efficiently and effectively as possible?

September 26, 2007 Posted in Social Media by

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    Hi Sia – thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hopefully you’ll subscribe to Instigator Blog permanently and keep letting me know if I’m hitting the mark (or not!)

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  • http://theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    Thank you for the great resources and information. Do you have any suggestions for those who are not as technically inclined as others?

  • http://theimpudentobserver.com Fred Stopsky

    Thank you for the great resources and information. Do you have any suggestions for those who are not as technically inclined as others?

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    Fred – Using social networks and social media is easy from a technical standpoint, but it does take some time to get used to. My suggestions would be to try one or two out, do some research (use Google or Google Blogsearch to search for best practices), and see what happens.

    More specific advice would be dependent on your niche, goals, etc. I hope that helps!

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    Fred – Using social networks and social media is easy from a technical standpoint, but it does take some time to get used to. My suggestions would be to try one or two out, do some research (use Google or Google Blogsearch to search for best practices), and see what happens.

    More specific advice would be dependent on your niche, goals, etc. I hope that helps!

  • http://www.selfadjustingtechnique.com Kalidasa

    I am starting a blog soon, and I thought just writing it would be a lot of work! There really is a lot more to it as I have been learning. Thanks for making what looked like a chore much easier. And, you gave a couple of links that will be very helpful for me.

  • http://www.selfadjustingtechnique.com Kalidasa

    I am starting a blog soon, and I thought just writing it would be a lot of work! There really is a lot more to it as I have been learning. Thanks for making what looked like a chore much easier. And, you gave a couple of links that will be very helpful for me.

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  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    @Kalidasa: There’s no shortage of advice out there for bloggers getting started. Read what you can, put together a plan for yourself, and you should do just fine.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    @Kalidasa: There’s no shortage of advice out there for bloggers getting started. Read what you can, put together a plan for yourself, and you should do just fine.

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  • Commenter

    The whole social media movement has made me slip a bit. For some reason I really cant get into the whole thing. However the article has cleared up a couple of things for me. Still have a ways to go before I get it.

  • Commenter

    The whole social media movement has made me slip a bit. For some reason I really cant get into the whole thing. However the article has cleared up a couple of things for me. Still have a ways to go before I get it.

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  • http://www.newhomessection.com/resources/new-homes-articles/greatest-real-estate-agent-in-the-world-personality-traits.php RJacobsen

    Great post! I’ve been looking for someone to break down the whole social media thing to me, so that I can better understand many of the rules (unwritten or not) and which social media sites are the most beneficial. I will likely return to this page to read more from some of the others who you’ve linked to. Thanks!

  • http://www.newhomessection.com/resources/new-homes-articles/greatest-real-estate-agent-in-the-world-personality-traits.php RJacobsen

    Great post! I’ve been looking for someone to break down the whole social media thing to me, so that I can better understand many of the rules (unwritten or not) and which social media sites are the most beneficial. I will likely return to this page to read more from some of the others who you’ve linked to. Thanks!

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    @RJacobsen: Come back as often as you like! And make sure you jump off this article to all the links provided; there are tons of great resources out there.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    @RJacobsen: Come back as often as you like! And make sure you jump off this article to all the links provided; there are tons of great resources out there.

  • http://www.creditorweb.com Linda

    These are great tips. I also like the “start page” idea, I was going to ask you do you keep a bookmark toolbar or what to open these tabs every day. Start page sounds like a solution.

    Do you know of a way to leverage Google Reader’s social aspects? I’ve noticed that you can add friends and discover related feeds. Any tips for this?

  • http://www.creditorweb.com Linda

    These are great tips. I also like the “start page” idea, I was going to ask you do you keep a bookmark toolbar or what to open these tabs every day. Start page sounds like a solution.

    Do you know of a way to leverage Google Reader’s social aspects? I’ve noticed that you can add friends and discover related feeds. Any tips for this?

  • http://www.OrlandoFloridaRealEstateHomes.com orlandoproperty

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve been getting so overwhelmed lately that I’ve been falling behind on actually posting, while trying to delve into the countless sites that you’ve mentioned. Time to focus. Regarding the comment you made regarding wiping the RSS Reader slate clean and starting fresh…I love it!

  • http://www.orlandofloridarealestatehomes.com Chris Myers

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’ve been getting so overwhelmed lately that I’ve been falling behind on actually posting, while trying to delve into the countless sites that you’ve mentioned. Time to focus. Regarding the comment you made regarding wiping the RSS Reader slate clean and starting fresh…I love it!

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  • http://contentrichbook.com Jon Wuebben – Content Rich

    Stumbled upon this article and really got a lot of use out of it. “Stop the madness” really does describe how overwhelming staying up with social media can sometimes feel. I have been trying to focus on one site at a time, in order to grow it. I think that's good advice. Definitely going to look into the start page and try your other suggestions. Thanks a lot!

  • http://contentrichbook.com Jon Wuebben – Content Rich

    Stumbled upon this article and really got a lot of use out of it. “Stop the madness” really does describe how overwhelming staying up with social media can sometimes feel. I have been trying to focus on one site at a time, in order to grow it. I think that's good advice. Definitely going to look into the start page and try your other suggestions. Thanks a lot!

  • http://contentrichbook.com Jon Wuebben – Content Rich

    Stumbled upon this article and really got a lot of use out of it. “Stop the madness” really does describe how overwhelming staying up with social media can sometimes feel. I have been trying to focus on one site at a time, in order to grow it. I think that's good advice. Definitely going to look into the start page and try your other suggestions. Thanks a lot!

  • http://contentrichbook.com Jon Wuebben – Content Rich

    Stumbled upon this article and really got a lot of use out of it. “Stop the madness” really does describe how overwhelming staying up with social media can sometimes feel. I have been trying to focus on one site at a time, in order to grow it. I think that's good advice. Definitely going to look into the start page and try your other suggestions. Thanks a lot!

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  • http://www.hr.com Debbie McGrath

    Ben you are a great writer and this is a great article …. Can we post link to it for HR.com users.

  • http://www.hr.com Debbie McGrath

    Ben you are a great writer and this is a great article …. Can we post link to it for HR.com users.

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  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    Debbie – Absolutely, by all means feel free to republish the article. I’ll email you directly.

  • http://www.instigatorblog.com Ben Yoskovitz

    Debbie – Absolutely, by all means feel free to republish the article. I’ll email you directly.

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Ben Yoskovitz
I'm VP Product at GoInstant (acq. by Salesforce).

I'm also a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal. Previously I founded Standout Jobs (and sold it).

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