How to take your online relationships to the next-level

Posted by | March 27, 2010 | Social Media | 28 Comments
Sunday morning in Piazza del Popolo, Nov 2009 - 43

Build Relationships - Not Followers

For a lot of people social media is another way to build their network and ultimately meet new people. While its not very difficult to build a following or get a lot of “friends” – its sometimes challenging to take your online relationships to the next level. If you think that you can pop online and have tons of friends in a few hours you’re mistaken. Relationships take time and the most important element that needs to be developed is trust. On the way to achieving that trust there are a few things that you may want to keep in mind.  Here are some tips and ideas for how you can take your online relationships to the next level,

Comment on Blogs

Bloggers love it when people comment on their work and get involved. I was talking to a friend who was extremely excited about a 30 second comment some one left on their blog. The little effort it takes to comment on someones blog can result in a deeper conversation and stronger relationship. Finally, comments have longevity; while a simple 140 character tweet will come and go; a comment lasts forever.

Keep the Flame Burning

This is kind of similar to your more traditional relationships. If you want them to last you have to try your hardest to stay in the loop of whats going on in their life. Not checking up on them in a creepy stalker kind of way but more in a “How’s it going” kind of way. This way the person you are talking with will assume that you are showing genuine interest in their life. This simple act can mean the world to someone and should not be used just to make a sale.

Keeping the flame burning with all of your online relationships can be tough as most of these are considered to be loose ties. Thus, it’s important to focus on the people who you truly believe are the most important to you and focus on them. Trying to build strong relationships with everyone is unrealistic and impossible. Keep the flame going with those who matter the most and don’t abuse that friendship.

Stop Linking, Start Talking

This is a huge issue on social media networks. Often people spend so much time looking for cool links and sending off cool RTs that they forget about the social aspect. Rather than constantly pumping out links to Wired or Smashing Magazine; try having conversations. Interact with people like you would at a party rather than the house of commons. While sharing links with your friends and followers is great – its more powerful to build real relationships through conversation. Try to spend an entire day only talking and no linking; you’ll be surprised how good it feels.

Have REAL conversations

I strongly believe that with all the great relationships I’ve developed using social media, there is still something special about face to face conversation. I’m not only talking about those conversations that you have at a random tweet-up. Those are included, but I’m also talking about having conversations through Skype, instant messaging or even e-mail.

  • In Person – Having conversations in person is without question the strongest way to build rapport. The benefits of having face to face conversations in person far exceed any virtual interaction. Its somewhat obvious why having conversations in person are so powerful but let me quickly list a few; body contact, real-time, facial expressions, voice/tone, etc…
  • On Skype – Skype is probably the second most effective way of carrying a real conversation with someone. You are able to communicate with people on skype everywhere from a coffee shop to your bedroom. The main difference between having a skype conversation and a real life one is the body contact. You’re able to see their face and you’re able to hear their voice; its simple an amazing tool for making your relationships more meaningful.
  • Phone – One of the more traditional methods of conversation still holds tremendous value. A phone call gives you an opportunity to communicate in real time and hear how they react to different topics. You can learn a lot about someone from the way they carry themselves in a conversation. While you can easily backspace and erase on social networks; its impossible to do so on the phone.

Did I miss anything? What tactics do you use to build stronger relationships?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Ed Yourdon

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Want free advice on marketing, the hustle & life? Subscribe Here