How far do your relationships extend across the Web? This question is totally relevant to digital marketing nowadays. No longer are the days of just plain and simple on-page SEO. I have read countless articles about link building vs. relationship building, seen Whiteboard Fridays and attended panels at conferences about the subject.
The obvious conclusion being: relationships are kind of important.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Yes, Relationships Are Important!
Well, perhaps I take that concept a little too literally because I have made some fantastic friends online, and in many cases, have taken those relationships offline, too. To put this in perspective, these relationships are those where I want nothing more than to help them reach their goals and succeed. And, I feel pretty confident that I can rely on these relationships to help me succeed as well.
Isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Isn’t that one of the basic life idioms “one good turn deserves another,” or even a guiding life principal of “do unto others…”?
The Push Back
I had the following interaction with a friend who I have known digitally for quite some time. But when I say we have known each other, I mean, we talk somewhat regularly, G-chat with each other and have tried to arrange in-person meetings on a couple of occasions with no success. (I know he is reading this. One day we will succeed!… And by the way, he knows I am writing this, but we both chose to keep his name out of it.)
Anyway, I sent him a message on G-chat sharing a dopey little article I wrote and asking for RT (it’s here, by the way). I felt like I put my time into it, and it was light humor enough that I thought anyone would share it without batting an eyelash.
Later that day, I received the following email:
Wouldn’t it have been easier to just retweet the article? I was sorta’ taken aback. I didn’t think it was such a big deal since we were “friends,” so I responded back to him:
Shortly after, we jumped on G-chat and had a more in-depth discussion about sharing friends’ content online. We agreed to disagree, but my stance on the issue is that the relationships we build online and off should translate to helping each other succeed, within reason. Not blindly, of course. I would understand what I am sharing first, and although I may not 100% agree with what they said, I would make that known. Our community is open in that way and friendly disagreement is welcomed. But I want to see my friends succeed, so chances are really good that I would do my part to help them reach their goals.
Real Relationships Translate To Online Success
Recently, I came across a great example that supported my view and thought perhaps it was time to write this down.
A friend of mine, Robyn Burgher, is a clinical consultant at NorthShore Pediatric Therapy in Chicago. She also runs their website and social media efforts. Needless to say, she is busy.
I notice on Facebook that she started a new blog called Little Red Mommy Hood. Didn’t really give it a second thought until I saw her posting how she had 300 views in the first hour, and 500 after the second. As a digital marketer, my ears perked, up and I asked her to send me the following chart.
I would say this is pretty impressive. And you know how it happened?
The back story is that Robyn, in her position at work, has developed a lot of relationships with people. She is in a lot of mommy groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other forums across the Web and has become a trusted authority online and in person. I asked her how she came up with the idea and she said:
I wanted to figure out a way to get my kids more interested and excited about eating Dinner. So one night, while I was making Hotdogs and Hashbrowns, I told them how we are having all “H” foods. Both my older kids got super excited about it and wanted to know what we were going to have for “I” the next night. It hit me that I could do a letter of the alphabet every night, and so I decided to post it on FB. I started getting posts, tons of private messages and emails for recipes for the A-Z Dinners for Kids so I decided to put it on a blog. I am obviously friends with tons of moms who are always looking for new dinner ideas, so I knew I had a great audience to share it with.
True, what she came up with was a clever idea, but there are lots of clever ideas out there that go unnoticed. I attributed the success greatly to her network.
This is what the power of your network can do.
Strengthen Your Network & Be “Real” Social
Here are some ways I have found that help deepen your connections with people; and I promise you, they all work:
- Go to conferences – the relationships you will make at these are invaluable.
- Skype or Google+ Hangouts – try to get face time with people
- Engage in conversations with people on their blogs and forums
- Attend Meetups – and share information that you are extremely passionate about
- Twitter Chats – this is a great chance to meet people you otherwise might not have met as people tend to be more open to talking there (Here is the outcome of one)
- Answer questions on LinkedIn – show your expertise
- Instagram – yes, I share pictures of my kids there and other things, too; I have also made some great connections there
- Slideshare – I am a late comer to this network but already see a tremendous value in using it and am growing my network
What’s The Point?
Going back to our original discussion about friends sharing. I would never claim it to be a given that every piece of work my network puts together will get shared, but I have worked to develop a trusted network of people whom I believe in and if they personally send me something, it is likely because it’s important to them, and it, at the very least, will get my time.
And then again, there is always the possibility that I am too nice.
What do you think? Do we have this responsibility to help our network?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.