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A Key To Great Social Media Relationships

one2one-sm.gifRemember the days when the internet was like listening to news radio? You’d search the dial for news and interesting topics.

Then came talk radio. Now people could call in and add their two cents to the topic discussed by the host. I often think of social media as being like talk radio.

For instance, now people can interact with the ‘hosts’ of blogs; engaging in interesting, lively and informative conversations. Or they can meet each other in Facebook or on StumbleUpon. Yet it goes further than that. Now, rather than just commenting on topics, social sharing and networking sites allow users to have control over what content gets seen – which stories get pushed to the top. It’s really an amazing time.

Yet, whether we’re talking about blogs, Facebook or new social sharing sites like Mixx, one thing remains constant – the relationship. Social media has made the internet about relationships.

Knowing I see the internet now almost solely through the eyes of social media, Liz Strauss asked me:

What do you find is the key to great relationships with social media friends?

I can answer in one word - connect!

The key is to make contact. When anyone comes your way, send them a thank you by email. Or give them a phone call. Bloggers love to meet each other. Find out what you have in common…and share.

For instance, I don’t go into the relationship looking for anything. Sure, I may see some potential for business or business partnerships or so on. But I don’t let that be the motivating factor. Rather, I just want to connect with the person on the other end of the keyboard. Then, I let the relationship evolve organically.

What holds the key for me has been to be real, authentic and honest. I’m simply who I am and I try to make space for people to just be who they are. So I think you have to make room for the relationship to develop in its own, organic way. Some people I’ve met have remained acquaintances. Some have become friends. While others have become clients or business partners. Yet each developed in its own way, without any manipulation or prodding. And I’ve loved it.

Of course I say this knowing that the past few months haven’t afforded me the time I had previously to make those connections. I’ve been a bit busy with a major house remodel and the birth of our third child. So I have less time these days. Yet I still reach out. And if you haven’t heard from you me yet, don’t think you’re not on my list. Just give me a little time and we’ll meet.

So in a phrase, the key to great social media relationships is to connect. Reach out and make a new acquaintance, a new friend or a new business opportunity. You never know where the relationship is going to go.

Which is why I’m chomping at the bit to continue our one2one conversation by asking Liz:

How do you find the time to be so engaged with your readers in the comment box, keep up your thousands of connections, write on yours and a number of other blogs, while taking care of your clients? Where do you find the time?

I’d love to know how you keep it all going. Not just Liz, but you too. How do find the time, with family, work and personal time to keep up with your social media relationships?

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Comments

  1. “connect” is definitely the keyword…good one dawud

  2. I’m connecting
    :)

  3. Frank Malina (the SEO guy) says:

    Well it is 23:25, so that is how I can find my time to manage all my social media .

    Not to mention I am full-time employee, part time father of two :), occasional husband and have my own clients/projects.

    One of them is a great social media site for Designers and Architects you forgot to mention: Designer Pages.

  4. Plenty of people aren’t gonna like this, but I made hard choices that work for me.

    I don’t have kids, for one, and I date someone who has the same love of puttering/work that I do. I have virtually no family left, so I’m not expected to do holiday/family stuff.

    I also live a very frugal life, in many ways: rent-controlled apartment, modest car I own outright, no lavish vacations, etc. It’s a very wealthy and luxurious life *for me* because I have what I need: freedom, outstanding real-life friendships and good food!

    Even with a life pared down to the most minimal of commitments, I have problems with balance. I love to putter/work, as noted above, so I tend to do too much of both at the expense of play and rest. I’m taking a self-enforced 3-month hiatus from new client work to give myself room for that.

    I also don’t beat myself up about being ubiquitous or first. I’m not a pioneer; I consider myself to be just before the bulk of the population when it comes to trend adoption. And I give myself permission to use what works (for me) and put aside the rest.

    Comment conversations work for me, for example, so I’ve made them a priority. So does Twitter. To a lesser degree, I use del.icio.us, StumbleUpon and Clipmarks. OH–and Flickr.

    And there’s an ebb & flow to all of it: I’ll surf more, then surf less. I’ll let Twitter or my RSS feeds go for a day or two, then pick them up.

    I guess my major strategy is to tune out the chorus of excitement, and march to my own drummer.

    So far, so good…

  5. I have that question too, Dawud, how to find the time? And it’s not as if my life is SO busy at this point, but it’s the energy to sit at the computer and reach out to people I don’t know (yet) and how much that takes from me…once I make a connection, it isn’t such a drain, but initially, finding the people I want to make a connection with, seems difficult. I don’t know why that is, but I find myself glazing over when looking at all the options on StumbleUpon, and avoiding Facebook.

    I guess I get overwhelmed easily in this way…once a connection is made, it’s not so overwhelming, just time consuming.

  6. Techblissonline,
    Thanks. Connecting is what makes social media social.

    Chris,
    And getting the link love.

    communicatrix,
    You definitely march to your own beat. It’s one of the things I love about you.

    With the ever expanding options we have to connect across the internet, I think it’s important to know what works for you, your goals, your temperament and your time.

    Frank,
    As a business owner, husband, and father of three young ones, I can understand. Often I connect with people once everyone’s in bed here. So I understand about writing at midnight.

    Dylan,
    Great questions…

    I think you start where you can. Do what you can handle and manage. Find one social service that makes sense to you and really explore it. I’m a member of a number of services. Yet, it’s only the ones I put effort into that really return anything to my blog or my business.

    It’s important to reach out. Just do so in a way that’s sustainable for you. And let the process be a process. It might take a couple of months at a slow pace to understand how to use Facebook, for instance. But once you ‘get it’ then you can begin connecting there easily and readily.

  7. Joanna Young says:

    Dawud, I like the idea of connection as the key and the focus. If you go into it looking for or expecting more you’ll get disappointed – or sound phony to those you’re trying to connect with. I love this sentence

    “I’m simply who I am and I try to make space for people to just be who they are.”

    Very similar to my answer on blog tips “twitter-style” for Darren Rowse’s recent competition – which makes me wonder, are you using Twitter to make connections?

    As for time, well if it’s important to you you can make time (and less for other things). The good thing about it is that we all know and understand if there’s something else going on like a new business or a new baby :-)

    But as for how Liz does it… I’m like you, can’t wait to see the answer!

    Joanna

  8. Too true, connecting is all important, and may i say you do a very good jobof it

  9. Dawud,
    I too have 3 kids, own my own web design/development business, and feel I have too many inputs demanding attention of my time. This makes ‘connecting’ at least on more than a superficial level a challenge. When you are sitting on the computer engaging in a ‘connection’ with someone there is always the pull of your life in non-cyberspace, ie. your family and kids. No one will argue that they are more important.

    The key is to focus on what is important at any given moment and to give your attention to it. Your focus is what you are presently concerned with and your attention is constantly being bombarded with different items pulling at it. Making choices and then being satisfied with them is important. If things are not going how you would like them, its time to take stock and figure out what is not working.

  10. Joanna,
    I’ve not used Twitter in a while. I got lost with it last year and spent too much time. I’ll revisit it soon, I know. Thanks for the suggestion.

    And you’re right, we shouldn’t go into any of these social circles expecting anything. Be open and friendly and make room for people to be friendly back. Give first…

    Living Room,
    Thanks. And I can do more. Just need more time.

    Bert,
    Exactly. Everything has to be in balance. And since I advise small businesses, and specifically service providers, it’s important to not loose track of your business goals. Blogging and other forms of social media, if done during business hours, should, at the very least, subtilely promote your business.

  11. Hey Bert..
    I concurr!!!!

  12. I’ve just recently learned to appreciate the value of social bookmarking sites. I’ve generated a significant amount of traffic to my various websites and blogs thanks to them. SocialMarker.com is a great tool for submitting to bookmarking sites. I recommend you blog masters check it out!

  13. I’m looking forward to reading Liz’s response to your question at the end there! I wonder the same thing, too! She must not sleep ;) I love how you and Liz and a few other hosts make me feel when I comment–like I am important and you want to hear what I have to say. It’s great! It’s why I keep returning eager for more. It’s the connection!

  14. RickNHS,
    It is a great tool. Thanks for the suggestion. How has it helped you increase exposure in social bookmarking sites beyond just submission?

    LaurenMarie,
    I know. She does sleep…I’ve woken her up.

  15. Your welcome! I’m not too sure how SocialMarker has helped my presence on the bookmarking sites themselves, as I’m still trying to figure all that out. But I can generally count on an extra 20 – 30 visitors (quality visitors, not bouncers), throughout the day, after submitting a good article.

  16. RickNHS,
    That’s great. I’ll experiment a bit with it myself and maybe have a few clients give it a whirl. Thanks, again.

  17. How do you find the balance between ‘connecting’ and creating?

  18. TEIA,
    By setting limits on how much time I spend with social media in the first place. Without limits, I could never get my client work done.

    You can always contact me if you’d like to work on a social media workflow that fits your needs and schedule.

  19. Wow, glad I found this post.

    I felt so overwhelmed at the prospect of meeting so many people through social netowrking, but the comments about just taking it slow and making connections put me at ease.

    (deep breath)

    Aw, that’s better.

    Now I guess I can handle my full-time job, overtime, custody of my kids 3 nights a week, writing, social networking and looking for commercial real estate to invest in.

    That feels much better. :)

  20. Dean,
    Everything has its place, that’s for sure. How old are your kids?

  21. Hi Dawud,

    Yes, everything in it’s time and place. I just got to remember to take it one day at a time and one post at a time.

    My son is 8 and my daughter is 11. Really good kids.

    Have a great day.

  22. Dean,
    As we all do.

    My kids are younger – oldest of three having just turned 4.

    Fatherhood is pretty amazing, huh?

  23. Dawud,
    I like how you respond to people that comment on your blog. I also appreciate that I’ve gotten quite a few emails from you and you took the time to drag one of my comments from the dreaded spam que. Somehow, you’ve become a friend. Thanks!

  24. Buy Essay Online says:

    A Key To Great Social Media Relationships:
    I really respects your vast point of view and will completely agree with your this quotation
    “I often think of social media as being like talk radio.”

  25. Penny,
    Certainly. I’m blogging and engaged in social media to meet people and build relationships. And then I help nurture how the relationships wan to organically grow. Could lead to friendship, could lead to business, could lead to sharing knowledge, could lead to… – doesn’t matter to me. What matters is the relationship.

    Buy,
    I could be like talk radio – just that you, as the reader and the blog owner, get to also be the radio station owner and program manager.

  26. Communication is key is the majority of cases. Obviously thats why the internet is here.

  27. Great post il be looking into this

  28. Social media is becoming increasingly improtant to t he success of business. Online marketing is revolutionising the way businesses market their products and services. Today social media goes hand in hand with SEO and is an important focus of any successful marketing strategy.

  29. I like the idea of being connected… Anyway I also experienced getting lost and ‘using up’ a lot of time with social networking. It think the trick is to find the right balance of being connected and finding room for other activities…

  30. Its cool to read something like this. I was working on intensifying my social media to increase my overall traffic. Gonna share mine as well but I think most of you know this. I keep mine a bay (Being Natural) I also watch for bad reviews and if there is I will solve that problem.

  31. sajan kota says:

    Social media is effective in generating the traffic. It can generate a significant amount of traffic to websites and blogs.Connecting with people can be easy through this social media.Great post thanks for sharing.

  32. Four years later and much of this is as important today as it was back then.

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