How to Build Your Social Media Network


You want to engage on social media, but you are not sure how to connect with people who share your interest? This can be a major challenge for someone without natural influence gained from being in the public such as a celebrity, politician, or even a professor.

In the past when you needed to get out information or create awareness on issues, you had to go through larger businesses, organizations, associations or public relations firm for assistance in hopes they will share with their network. Today, technology and social media makes it possible for you to bypass the gatekeepers and connect directly with the people.

However, it’s much easier to connect with higher profile individuals when you have an established network of your own. One of the best ways to start building your social media networks is by joining an active online group of individuals who share your interests. Engaging in social media challenges is another way to help increase your online followings.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Anneke Kraker who is a co-founder of the Global Social Media Challenge along with Hans Versteegh. They are currently hosting a social media challenge in an effort to connect social workers around the globe using the hashtag #GSOMEC

SWH: Tell us about the Global Social Media Challenge and how it came about.

The First Global Social Media Challenge is a fun challenge for social workers to learn more about the impact of social media on the profession. Social Workers who participate receive for 11 days a small challenge in their inbox plus lots of social media tips. Our goal is to grow our networks and increase our impact. In June 2015 I organized the first Challenge in Dutch. It was a huge success with 600 Dutch Social Workers participating. I do this together with Hans Versteegh a social media expert for Social Workers. I almost forgot: the challenge is for free!

SWH: How will this challenge benefit social workers and help them to become more social media savvy?

This challenge helps because we’re in this together. Many Social Workers are looking for ways to benefit from social media. In this challenge we share tips, insights and good practices. Doing this together makes it fun and easy.

SWH: What do you believe are some of the biggest barriers preventing social workers from engaging on social media?

It’s time consuming. It challenges you to find new boundaries. Privacy is also an issue. And some Social Workers struggle with the narcissistic element: you use social media to make connections and in order to do that you have to show yourself. The challenge of day 2 is about selfies!

SWH: What tips can you provide to help them overcome those barriers and to enhance their professional brand?

Hans and I love making fun but we are also very serious about Social Media. We literally challenge Social Workers to overcome those barriers. With tips we make it easy. For example: to overcome the time issue we provide a simple solution on scheduling your updates.

SWH: How is the challenge going so far, and how can people get started even if they missed the first day?

The challenge is going perfect! We have almost 400 participants and people can still join us. They can catch up the challenges they missed because we provide an overview of all past challenges. People can subscribe here:

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