In order to make social networking work for you, you need to be patient and persistent.
Just as in the physical world of networking, it is going to take more than a couple of weeks to build relationships and get your network going.
However, the more you reach out to others and contribute, the more quickly you will see results. If you have an email list, you can get a real boost from that at first, but in the long term, the idea that the more you put in (give), the more you will get back truly works in the social networking world.
Focus your efforts on contributing what you know; show your expertise, and others will notice and look for more from you (eventually paying you in the process). If you find discussions to which you can contribute, and do so regularly, it will pay off in long term success. But don’t overdo it especially when you are using Digg.com or StumbleUpon.com. These two social networking sites have strict measures when using their services.
If you do not enjoy the process of connecting with others, perhaps these media are not for you. However, if you like a good conversation, think about your social networking as a series of conversations with people you do not really know, but who will appreciate what you have to say.
Focus your efforts on contributing what you know; show your expertise, and others will notice and look for more from you… If you find discussions to which you can contribute, and do so regularly, it will pay off in long term success.
One of the most interesting things about social sites is that you can send messages to others privately — the way you do with email — but you can also make them public. As often as you can (when it makes sense), try to make your messages public. In that way, many others can benefit from the information you share rather than just one person, and those others will get to know you better as well.
The message could be about a new product you are creating or a workshop you are giving (or attending), a speech you are giving, or anything that might benefit others. They will want to know more and will contact you. Be careful what you say as you comment and message publicly, though because you cannot withdraw what you have said — so pay attention to what you say and make it positive!
The networking site that is currently most productive for this type of communication is Twitter; the more you send messages, the more followers and interest there will be from others.
One important thing to be aware of is that these sites may change their looks and options fairly quickly. You have to be flexible and allow for this because the social networking world is a fast moving one. In-fact from my own recommendation I would encourage that you sign-up with their news letter so that you can be updated regularly so as to avoid negative surprises.
You may find over time that you will want to give up one of the networks because it no longer meets your needs. Just be aware in advance that this can happen, and you may feel that all the work you put in is gone.
However, that is not entirely the case. Your comments and other links will still be there, directing others to your site and your other profiles. You can move on to other things and know that you will still be gaining page rank for your site and more.