I know this topic has been gone over before (and recently) but I want to stress the importance of social networking through my own experiences! Ever since that last post on joining Twitter I decided that I would give yet another social networking site a chance. My Facebook had pretty much been tapped out and I couldn't think of how I could add anyone else! So my Twittering began. I started following people that had the same interests as me. I started with authors, publishers and literary agents that were known and some not well known. Then I branched out to my specific genre...crafts! I looked up Martha Stewart, Etsy, Oprah, Ellen, Rachel Ray, and any key words that described my genre..like sewing, crafts, jewelry, etc. I started to add people on the first 1 or 2 pages of each of these genres and people started following me back (there is a following limit of 2,000, if more than 2,000 are following back you can follow more).
When people followed me back I would do a little background and checked out their profile and site. I then added a thank you and a personal message(from what I had learned) back to them.
Now when I comment on something or ask a question about anything, I first post on Twitter. It then is sent to Facebook as well! You get a 2 for one deal :) How do you do this? Just go to Twitters site and click on the Help button at the top right of your screen. Then type in "Using Twitter with Facebook" (a box is located on the bottom right hand of the help page) and it will take you through an easy step by step of how you set this up! You will get better responses from Facebook (people on twitter generally don't comment back) but this effort is not in vane! Tweets increases your Google rating! If you type in craftersguru on Google right now you will see that I am at the top of the list! Cool! Now I just have to get my highly generic name to show up at the top of a Google (Blasted Mary-Kate and Ashley)!
Another helpful thing that I have found on Twitter is contacts! When I reply to people because they follow me I do a little background on them! This is the way I am finding great contacts. Here's a case in point: I had just seen Shanti's Facebook update while I was replying to Twitter follows. I happened to have just been followed by an author so I did my little background and I checked her site out (http://writing-about-writing.blogspot.com/) and it just happened to contain exactly what Shanti needed (and info I would surely need in the future)! I have found many contacts like that and I continue to find more.
This new way of searching has also increased my Facebook friends. I found an author and started asking for friends requests from her author friends (you can always tell an author because their Facebook image is the cover of their latest book). Authors are friendly and will most likely add you as a friend on Facebook (they want that following too). I have learned a lot from their posts on Facebook and have even left a few comments on some of their posts. They are always very friendly and helpful!
So not only has Facebooking and Twittering increased my social networking and contacts it has also helped my new blog http://craftersguru.blogspot.com garner over 88 hits in one day(this may seem small but for just a little over a weeks start I think it's pretty good)! So to increase your following, expand your social network, and contacts... then try some of these easy steps that I have taken. You may not think you need them now, because you are just starting out. But just think how much further you will be ahead of the game when you find that agent and she wants to know what you can bring to the table!