Published on enero 16th, 2010 | by GAby Menta0
Is the art of following-up lost in the age of social media…?
In a recent discussion about another post I wrote, a commenter argued that the art of following up was degrading as a result of the information overload that social media has created.
While it is true that social media has pushed our ability to manage and monitor information to capacity, I disagree that its harder to follow-up. I think the problem is that people are still learning how to adapt to social media and the connections it enables.
Social networking will never replace traditional networking. Instead it complements traditional networking, allowing us to stay more visible to our network, and be more aware of what’s going on with our network. Yes, more aware, because we may learn things about people we network with on a regular basis that we didn’t know…little details, but ones that can help us help them.
The concept and practice of following up really comes down to caring enough about your network to follow-up and just as importantly having multiple strategies in place to help you follow up.
If people are finding it harder to follow-up in a social media environment, its because they probably don’t have a comprehensive strategy for how they will use social media to help them follow-up, and they may not be very organized in general when it comes to following up.
The first strategy I recommend is to simplify your existing system of following up. For example, you probably only really need one business card from each of your networking partners. Instead of getting lots and lots of cards from the same person keep one and when you want to refer someone to that person get the phone number and email off the card and share it with that person.
With social media sites, develop strategies that help you use those sites and also help you follow up with people. Some of that will involve writing personal notes to people you connect with and some of it will also involve recognizing how to use different sites to be proactive in your connections and following up. For example a retweet can function as a follow up. A reply can as well, and making an effort to comment on what other people are saying can also serve as follow-up.
Managing and monitoring your social media through applications such as tweetdeck will also help you with your follow-up efforts, because you’ll be able to track when people have replied to you, making it easier for you to continue the conversation.
Follow-up doesn’t have to be impossible in a social media world. Yes its true that we have more information available to us than ever before, but its also true that we also have more means to track that information and act on it. Most importantly, networking is successful when you have an organized methodology for doing it and following-up is part of that methodology. If you are having trouble following-up, it’s time to look at what you are doing so you can revise your process accordingly.