One of the things I’m focusing on this year is creating and strengthening relationships online that will help me grow, both personally and for my business. Let’s face it, we meet a lot of people in social media. We hit “like,” leave comments or hearts, and move on. But once in a while someone stands out, something is said that rings a bell for you, and you make it a point to check back in with them the next day. And the next. You start exchanging compliments, ideas, and encouragements. You find each other on other social media channels and carry on conversations wherever you meet online. Eventually the conversation moves offline, on the phone or lingering over coffee and treats. Trust has been established, now the ideas flow. Joint ventures, guest appearances, product launches, book collaborations, oh my! Creativity, inspiration and the joy of mind-melding with a like-minded soul make you unstoppable!
WAIT – I got ahead of myself there. Let’s rewind and go back to that moment where something stood out for you both. Because that moment in time is where the real value is. What stood out? Why? And how can I bottle whatever happened at that moment to do it again, over and over?
Reflecting on my own successes like this in social media, I realized that there was a simple formula I was following for creating and nurturing relationships that brought about some pretty serious biz-building results. Things like:
- A connection I made in a Facebook group resulted in being invited to take part in a high-level program AND be featured as a guest expert to a network of thousands.
- A relationship started in Instagram, progressed to that person hiring me for a premiere-level project, to her then highlighting my skills in an article on her blog with a readership that is read by more than 1 million people per month.
- Someone I was referred to via an Instagram account has turned into a fast friend who has introduced me to a group of exceptional like-minded people around the world and exposed me to a whole new audience interested in my expertise.
- Participation in an online challenge where I shared the ups and downs of creating a new program let people see inside what I do – and created fans who pre-signed up to pay for my program, BEFORE I’ve even launched it.
I know that you already have the ability to create relationships through the words you share in social media that can lead to results like these – you just need a little bravery, and clarity, to follow my 3-step formula to get the results you’re looking for. Here’s how:
BE PRESENT: Don’t try to be everywhere all the time when it comes to social media. Take a good look at the places you frequent (Facebook or LinkedIn groups, Instagram, Twitter, etc) and focus on the places that have the right audience that fits your business growth goals and you truly enjoy hanging out in. Check in at least once per day. Don’t post-and-run. Take the time to read through what people you are interested in are saying, leave thoughtful comments, and make an effort to show you’re paying attention. For example, if someone you follow mentions how they are struggling working on their novel, follow up a few days later and ask them how it’s going. It’s little things like this, that make you stand out.
BE REAL: By all means, in the writing that you do in social media, let your personality shine through and be brave enough to put your original thoughts out there. Just clicking on the Like button, or showering someone with little hearts during in a Facebook Live session doesn’t cut it.
When it comes to how you write: Use the lingo, don’t worry about perfect grammar, write in the same way you would talk to a friend as you’re chillin’ over an iced coffee. And don’t be afraid to share tidbits of your personal life within your conversations. I saw someone talk about her puppy, “Frodo,” online and commented in delight over our shared passion for Lord of the Rings. Turns out we share a great deal more, but those few exchanges comparing our fave Gandalf quotes and Aragorn vs. Legolas crushes became the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
When it comes to what you write: Ask questions, provide answers, share your “secrets,” refer colleagues that can help, talk about how something that person did affected you, be honest about hurdles you’re facing, and be generous in helping others overcome theirs.
BE CONSISTENT: Once you start writing and interacting in this way on social media and letting your personality shine through, you’ll find yourself enjoying your interactions more and seeing better results. Personality gives your content that pizzazz that connects with readers and sticks in their memory. Choose the connections you want to make and be consistent in your conversations. And try to recognize when others are reaching out toward you in the comments on your blogs or social media. You never know where you might meet your next joint venture partner – or a new bestie who will join forces with you at a future live event where you will conquer the room together – kind of like how Aragorn triumphed over the battlefield in … well, you get it.