How to Maintain Connections Online When it’s Just Not in Your DNA

entrepreneurshipSuccess Strategies

People like Dan Schawbel and Shane Mac impress me daily with their sheer connection determination and ability to follow up with people on a daily basis.

I, like many of you, don’t have this ability.  Sure I can try to do it, but I will quickly burn out; the sheer energy required to stay constantly connected to people would wear me out, leaving me useless to conduct more important, revenue generating projects.

My good friend asked me the other day, “Jun, I don’t have time to write 2 blog posts per week, comment on 1o blogs, and Tweet 10 times per day.  I have to spend time making money to feed and house my family.”

Understandable.  After all, we see a direct correlation between client work and money, but an indirect connection between blog posts and getting clientele.  The act of building a reputation, maintaining connections, and establishing expertise is very difficult indeed.

So what are we supposed to do?  After all, we can’t all be Dan Schawbel’s… or can we?

Here is I stay connected with people, while maintaining a focus on revenue-generating work:

1. Make it easy but difficult for people to get in touch with you

I love chatting with people on Gchat and Skype; however, I dislike getting disrupted when I’m busy doing work.  When I’m hardcore on a project, like writing this blog post for example, I will turn off Gmail and Skype.  However, when I’m doing less intensive projects or browsing online, then I’ll stay online but Red – busy or occupied.

Why I do this:

  1. If someone messages me while I’m red, I know that it’s something important (automatically weeds out unimportant messages that can wait for later)
  2. If I don’t want to speak with you, I can reply with an “I’m busy,” and you’ll understand because technically, I’m busy
  3. I can keep conversations short and to the point

“Jun, you’re an awful for doing this.”  Maybe so, but this strategy ensures my productivity, keeps me happy, and allows me to focus on the most important tasks while maintaining availability to the important people in my life.

2. Use Comment Relish to generate an email back

There has been some back and forth online about whether Comment Relish is good for a blog or not.  Personally, I love the plugin because it has worked extremely well to build great relationships online.

If you’re a first-time commenter on my blog, then you will receive an automated message from me with the following:

  1. A thank you for commenting on my site
  2. Links to other things that I’m doing online
  3. A message welcoming you to email me or @ me on Twitter to start a conversation

Like most of you, I get very busy and I’m not able to reply to my blog comments within 24 hours.  I therefore use this auto-email to message people immediately in case I forget to message them back.

3. Create email templates for events and other happenings

My good friend Yu-kai taught me this one.

I have some email templates that I use for many different things in life.  For example, I have an email template that I use to message people that I met during an event.

I used to come home after events, lay down my huge stack of business cards, and ignore them until I felt it was too late to message these people – yeah, complete waste of an event.

I therefore have a template that I can copy and paste (change certain keywords of course) that I send IMMEDIATELY after an event.  It has worked great with me and I’ve built many relationships because of it.

Note: I can already hear some objections now, “But that’s so un-authentic Jun.  You can’t just treat people without care by sending a template email.”

I completely disagree with you, and here’s why: I understand my DNA (as Gary Vaynerchuk would say).

I understand that I’m not going to spend hours writing a custom email for each person.  It’s impossible for me to do so, and dare I say, not an effective use of my time.  I will of course send a custom email if I built a strong relationship with you at the event, but if I look at the business card and I don’t remember your face, then I’m going to send you my template email with care.

4. Tungle to be effective

“Hey Jun, can you meet Wednesday night at 8pm EST?”

“No I can’t.  Can you meet Thursday morning at 11am PST?”

“No, I’m busy then too.  How about…”

Yes, this happened all the time for me, and I’m sure it happens to you too.

I now use Tungle to schedule all of my meetings (I sync it with my Google Calendar).  I no longer have to go back and forth 10 times via email just to set one Skype meeting.

5. Use downtime to do all the rest

At the risk of sounding like a weirdo, I will let you know how I do it.  This is my secret to staying connected with the internet world: I do all of my social Tweeting and commenting on the “John“.

Lets be honest with each other.  I don’t have the time to Tweet all day and read all of my friends’ blogs.  There is just not enough time for me when I have to produce good content online and run two companies.  Therefore, I keep my day effective by using my iPhone during my down times.

There are other moments of downtime as well:

  1. Shopping with the girlfriend
  2. Watching the Laker’s game
  3. Waiting in line

I’m serious guys.  Try it for yourself  🙂

Don’t change who you are. If you’re not someone who likes to spend hours online commenting, Tweeting, and connecting with people who you haven’t spoken to in a while, then create systems that will make your life more effective.  Reach out to me and I promise, one way or another I will get back to you 🙂

Guest Author:

Jun Loayza is the President of Social Media Marketing and the Co-Founder of Viralogy – Ecommerce Intelligence.  He writes about his personal experience with love and entrepreneurship at his blog.  Feel free to reach out to Jun to chat about philosophy, entrepreneurship, love, and physical fitness.