I tell most people I talk to, especially those I am mentoring or trying to help out, to keep in touch with me. Not many do.
There is nothing as frustrating and transparent as the long lost buddy who only pops up when they need your help. I love helping people and am more apt to go out of my way for those who stay connected, even when they don't need anything.
I call them friends.
It's so easy to stay connected in 2015 you almost have to try and avoid people in order not to. Sheri Graner Ray, Industry Legend advises that you update your Facebook once a day and tweet twice, if for no other reason than letting people know you are alive and kicking.
The key here is to be reasonably interesting. Social Media can be a great tool when used properly. If all you post are pictures of food no one will care. If you take the time to update folks on your projects, ideas, passions, etc., people will naturally follow along.
Know how the different social media brands function. Facebook tends to be more personal, whereas Linkedin is all business. Twitter is a bit of both, and the beauty of it is you can communicate with most anyone and everyone you choose to. Don't be afraid to jump into conversations as long as you have something relevant to say. Needless to say always be professional, courteous and thoughtful. Words can be poisonous and deceiving, especially when read by those that don't know you well enough to detect sarcasm, etc. Beware of strong opinions as well.
It gets even trickier when trying to follow up on potential job opportunities. You want to stay in touch and remind people you are still interested, but you don't want to stalk!
A few things I try to do and remember when keeping in touch with others in these situations:
Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are trying to contact or influence. What would you be comfortable with if the shoe was on the other foot? Needless to say answering a call once a week would drive you crazy. Also consider that people get busy, go on vacations, and have many other responsibilities beside returning your call. I use a one week rule of thumb for the first follow up. This allows plenty of time for them to assess and react. Be prepared to engage them in conversation, and be ready to pitch if need be. Your goal here is to get the interview, not the job. Remember, it's a process.
If you connect with hiring managers or recruiters on social media, this is where your regular updates can work for you. Post about what you are working on. Blog about a project and what you are learning and accomplishing with it. Don't tell them you have the skills to do a job, show them by your actions and your passion. Create a presence for yourself and they will not forget about you.
I like it when people check back in with me by providing updates in their emails and correspondence. They may reference something we spoke about previously or tell me how they took my advice and how the benefited from it.
I personally don't respond well to those that continue to ask if I have any openings or positions suited to them. We have a web site for that. However, when I do have a position open, my thoughts go immediately to those that stay close by and remind me on a regular basis that they are someone to take seriously.
Thoughts? @RobCoble - firstname.lastname@example.org