Recently I wrote about how I had the opportunity to meet a new blogging friend, Ann Marie from Tidbits from the Queen of Chaos, when I was attending a conference near where she lived. This wasn’t the first time I’ve gone out on a limb and met someone in person that I met online…and it probably won’t be the last, what with blogging conferences and other events. Another person I met “in person” was Shannon Hernandez, founder of the Writing Whisperer. I met Shannon on twitter, we did some business together online…and then one day I was giving a presentation on photo organizing near where she lived. She told me she was coming to hear me speak and asked me if I wanted to meet her for dinner beforehand. I had another photo organizer from the area with me, the three of us went to dinner, and a new friendship was born. We worked together on an event Shannon put together last year as well.
Relationships built in social media are very much like relationships built in person. Think of it this way. Relationships are full of give and take…they’re not one sided. You need to engage with others in order to build a network of social media friends. Here are a few tips I have found helpful.
Join a community. Joining the SITS Girls was probably one of the smartest things I could have done for my blogging. Joining a community is the easiest way to meet like minded people. Participate. Read different blogs…you WILL find people you feel a connection to. I am feeling very blessed right now with all the people I have “met” online!
Show interest. This is key. Comment on other blogs. I was recently at a networking event and several people said to me “Oh, you’re Dish of Daily Life? I love your blog.” While that made me feel really warm and fuzzy, I was kind of bummed too, because I didn’t even know they were reading my blog. They’d never commented, so I didn’t have a chance to “meet” them before I actually met them! There is no better way to show someone that you enjoy or appreciate their posts than to comment. It’s tough when you write what you think is a great post, and the comment section is completely silent. Another thing I’ve heard is “I don’t want to comment all the time, because I don’t want that person to think I am stalking them.” I can only speak for myself, but I love it when people comment frequently. It means we connected!
Rule of thumb though…when you do comment, be genuine. There will be posts you read that you just don’t connect with, and that’s ok. We’re all individuals, and all blogs are not going to appeal to all people.
Share and engage. You know that saying “to make a friend, you have to be a friend?” It goes for social media too. Do you really like a post? Share it on Facebook or Twitter! You want your social media accounts to reflect variety…if it’s interesting to you, chances are, it’ll be interesting to your fans. Of course when someone shares, try to thank them. There’s always going to be occasions where you aren’t tagged, so you won’t necessarily know that someone shared, but whenever you know, show your appreciation. This creates engagement between the two of you…which is the start of relationship building.
I tend to do a fair amount of chatting back and forth on twitter. Engaging is also important with Facebook in that the more engaged a page is, the more fans Facebook shares it with. So those likes, comments and shares are extremely helpful. You can get the ball rolling by liking, commenting and sharing on the pages you like. More than likely, those that want to connect will be by to visit you as well. Another tip…if you want to comment directly to someone on Google +, you can mention them by adding the + sign before typing their name. If their notification setting allows, they will be able to see that you mentioned them, even if they aren’t in the circle that you shared with.
Guest blog. Have you “met” someone online who you think would connect with your readers? Ask they if they’d like to write a guest post for you. Offer to do the same for them. This opens the doors to meeting even more new people because the two of you probably have different readers!
Make it easy for your new online friends. You should have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google + buttons installed on your blog so that people can easily share. Nothing is more frustrating than finding an amazing blog post that you want to share and finding the writer has made it difficult to do so! One WordPress plugin that I really like is the Pinterest Pin It Button for Images. All your reader has to do is hover their mouse over an image and a PIN IT button will pop up!
It really IS this easy. Successful relationship building online does take time, but it’s rewarding as well. I’ve met some fabulous people!
So here’s what I’d like to know…
What is your best tip for building relationships online?