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?
Tuesday 9th of July 2013
Great tips. I went to a conference a few years ago with a lady whom I knew mostly via blogging - we were regular readers of each other's blogs and fellow members of a writer's group. This summer, I'm planning a trip to another city and hoping to connect with some bloggers from my "tribe" who live there. :) Thanks for sharing!
Tuesday 9th of July 2013
Isn't it fun to connect with your blog friends in real life?! I had the opportunity to meet a bunch of mine at Bloggy Boot Camp in Charlotte - it was awesome!!
Monday 13th of May 2013
Great tips! I'm a rather shy person, and I have a long way to go with developing my social media skills. Congrats on your SITS day!
Wednesday 15th of May 2013
Good luck with social media...it really can be a lot of fun! Thank you so much for stopping by for my SITS day!!
Saturday 4th of May 2013
Great tips! It did take a bit of time for me to reach out and connect with others via social media. I just kept writing, hoping that people would come and read but it really is a 2-way relationship. I agree, SITS Girls is a wonderful community that makes it very easy to connect with talented bloggers.
Tuesday 7th of May 2013
It really is! Engagement can truly help you build a network though...I love social media!!
Tuesday 30th of April 2013
This is a great post and I agree that the key to building relationships online is the conversation. When I started blogging I didn't realize that the interaction was what was going to make it so much fun. Once I started commenting more, and getting more involved it became such a joy and something I really looked forward to.
Friday 3rd of May 2013
That's a great statement - you hit it right on the nose! The interaction IS what makes it so great!
Saturday 27th of April 2013
You have hit the nail on the head with everything you have offered as suggestions. I can tell that you have thought about how to spend your time wisely, so that every blog post you read, comment you make, image you pin etc. is done with thoughtfulness. So happy to have met you on-lin. From SITS!
Friday 3rd of May 2013
I really enjoy this aspect of blogging. The online interaction is more fun than work! Very glad to have met you as well...online and in person!! :)