Social mediaOne of the first questions people ask me about social networking is how to find more friends. A big part of social networking for business is to find more prospects. If you don’t get some friends and followers, you’re not going to accomplish that.

So how do you do it? Below are 3 tips that work on all social networking platforms.

1. Find people yourself. It’s as simple as it sounds. Go out and friend or follow people. Chances are they’ll eventually follow or accept your friend request, and you’ll build your list.

The downside: it’s time consuming. It takes more time than you might expect to search and check out profiles. (And you want to make sure the people you’re friending or following are in your target market or you waste your time and energy.)

Some sites have limits on how many people you can friend in one day, which makes the process take even longer.

This is a good strategy to get the momentum going, but I wouldn’t rely on it long-term.

A much better way is to get your target market to come to you. How do you do that? Well…

2. Be visible. Whatever social networking site you’re focusing on, log on and do stuff on it. Update, comment, ask questions, tweet. If people see you around, they’ll start coming to you.

You can also use automated tools to cross-feed different social networking platforms into each other. For example, you can feed Twitter into Facebook, your blog into Facebook and Twitter, and Twitter and Facebook into your blog. That cross-pollination means you can choose where you’re posting for maximum effect.

3. Be a friend. What does it mean to be a friend? Well, friends help each other out. Make sure you spend some of your time helping out your social networking friends. Promote one of your friends’ products or services or free teleclass. Give a testimonial. Answer a question or give some free advice with no strings attached. Provide great content. Think about how you can help someone else and do it.

Do these tips sound familiar? They should. They also work in the offline world.

This is really important: social networking is just like networking in the real world. Yes, it looks different online. The tools you use are different. The etiquette is different. If you come from a place of truly trying to be a good social networking pal, everything else will fall into place. If you come to social networking looking for a shortcut to building real relationships, then you’re probably going to be disappointed with the results.

Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) is your Ka-Ching! Marketing strategist and owns Creative Concepts and Copywriting LLC, a premiere direct response copywriting and marketing company that helps entrepreneurs attract more clients, sell more products and services and boost their business. To grab your FREE “Ka-Ching! Business Kit” with a FREE CD visit