No matter what social network you prefer, to be successful you’ll need a good network. With that being said, how do you go about getting these friends?
What do you have in common?
Each social network is somehow divided into categories. A great place to start is with the categories you are interested in. For example, if you’re on Twitter, begin following people who tweet about things you are interested in. It is much easier to forge friendship when you have something in common.
What is the secret to friendship?
Social media is a lot like having friends in real life. Think about it. You have something in common. The friendships you have are work and rarely one sided. You have to be there for your friends when you they need you, and by doing so, they are there for you when you need them. Friendship takes time and work. Friendship involves listening and helping.
You know the old saying, “you have to give to get.” It holds true in social media as well. This means showing interest in stories your friends share by re-sharing or commenting.
This takes time and work. This takes consistency. As in real life, you don’t want a friend who is a flake; rarely there and only there when it benefits them. Don’t just help out when you have something you want to share that day. Be there consistently. Try to actually get to know those who you network with and help them. By doing this you will form friendships that will benefit both of you. The more you are there for them, voting, commenting, re-tweeting and conversing; the more your friends will be there for you.
A couple “real world” examples
I’ll share a couple times where I learned the secret. When I first started out on digg , all I did was submit my articles. They went nowhere! No diggs, no comments. I realized I needed people to see my articles. I started befriending people. I was adding friends and still submitting my articles. Only received a digg here or there.
Still no success.
I then began devoting time each day to digg my friend’s stories. I also started mixing in other interesting stories in with my own. My success began to grow rapidly. It seemed so obvious now. I made it a point to get to know those in my network. I was a dependable friend who was interested in the success of my friends. It paid off. The more I got to know those in my network and the more I helped them, the more they helped me and the more successful I was.
Twitter went pretty much the same way. I started off as a broadcaster. Sending out only my messages and only doing it when I wanted something out of it. Again, I found myself broadcasting to a wall that never communicated back.
I then began to form friendships with those that I had something in common. I began reading their tweets, re-tweeting their messages and sharing links that I thought they would enjoy. I also began jumping in conversations. I started to get to know those who I was networking with. I was interested in my friends and I found that they started to be interested in me. Now, when I mix in something of my own or have a question, I get feedback.
So What Exactly are you Saying?
The main point here is that they call it “social” media for a reason. To get any real value from social media, you need to be social. Makes sense right? Treat your online friends exactly how you treat the friends you have in real life. Devote time, be interested, help and get to know them.
This mindset is the secret to social media value and success.