“How do you keep up on all of this social networking stuff?”

“How do you keep up on all of this social networking stuff?”

This is a question I’ve been asked more than a few times and for those looking to enter the social networking world it’s an important one. After all, we’re all busy enough that adding on additional layers might take away from other priorities…that’s not the goal.

For me personally, becoming a student of social networking means providing value to clients and the community while growing professionally and personally.

So for anyone who has asked that question, here are 20 tips.

1.    It’s okay to start with baby steps but the key is getting started.

2.    Look at ways to become involved in the conversation.

3.    Worrying about making a mistake can paralyze you so don’t over think it.

4.    Start with something you know and share that expertise, even if you don’t have any followers.

5.    Once you start keep it up.

6.    Followers will come as you become consistent.

7.    Proficiency will happen the more you do it more.

8.    Learn by watching others.

9.    Take what you learn and build on it by finding resources designed to perfect your style.

10. Open your mind to the possibilities of each social platform.

11. Audiences are built over time as you open yourself up and offer something of value.

12. Realize it won’t happen overnight.

13. Don’t try to learn everything about all the social channels all at once.

14. Become a student of the social media area you believe provides the most value to your followers.

15. Then take on the next social media area and learn more and so on.

16. When you discover a new platform spend about a ½ signing up and learning about the application.

17. Seek out ways to simplify you post time. For example Tweets can be set up to post directly to Facebook and LinkedIn.

18. Simplifying your monitoring and response time with free services such as TweetDeck and HootSuite.

19. Take online conversations offline. Attend a TweetUp or ask to meet someone in person if you share common interests.

20. Most importantly have fun.

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