A member of Ryze wrote me today asking me what I would recommend to him in terms of how to get the most out of Ryze. I got so carried away on the subject, that it was obvious that I needed to post my observations and recommendations here.
This isn't earthshaking stuff, but I would have gotten a quicker start at Ryze myself if I would have known these things to begin with:
1. Spend some time there every week. Things build with time and regularity.
2. Carefully pick 1-3 networks to participate in actively. You may want to reserve time looking for a good one, but once you've found one, I would read a few months worth of posts (depending on the volume) to understand what they are talking about and who the major participants are and then start posting good, helpful, thoughtful comments and ideas. Let yourself be known on the network(s). It's easy to spread yourself thin and never get known anywhere but I've found that people read your posts with more interest once they *know* you.
3. Be as open as you feel comfortable with so that people will be able to establish a one-sided relationship with you simply from checking you out on your page. Be personal. Be appropriate. Get ideas for your page by looking at other pages. People refer other people to my page because they think it is a useful page.
4. Keep up with your guestbook entries on your own page. Once you get going, it's easy to fall behind. Make short upbeat GB entries in return to everyone (you can provide advice to those whose entries seem offensive and encouragement to newbies, etc.) and invest additional time in especially thoughtful guestbook entries based on what you find at the other person's page for the people you would really like to connect with.
5. Browse Ryze for interesting people. You can search on interests, see who the friends of a person you like a lot are and find interesting people from their posts in networks. When you find someone interesting, make a guestbook entry in their page or send them a private message, whichever seems most appropriate. I found that Ryze is more interesting the more public people are in their communications, so I've leaned towards making guestbook entries unless it was clearly better to use a private channel.
6. I also entered testimonials and tips myself as I learned about Ryze and that drew attention to me and brought hits my way. [Ryze has a large rotating set of tips and testimonials that Ryzers can submit]
7. Also, I have a weblog and wrote a fairly elaborate set of posts about Ryze and social networking [Social Networking Made Easy, Part 3] which caught the eye of Ryze founder, Adrian Scott, and he requested to use a big excerpt from my post on his welcome to Ryze for beginners page. That gives me lots of hits.
8. Be open and interested regarding promoting your own business, but first focus on connecting, being interested, being helpful and expressing yourself.