Smiling About Social Media: How social networking builds relationships

Smile about social mediaI had a wonderful call today with a colleague who I met via social networking. Before I hung up with him I wanted him to know that I was smiling. When he asked “why?” my reply was “it’s amazing how the universe works sometimes.”

Of course I was happy to speak with Steve, but the reason I grinned from ear to ear was because I have never met him face-to-face. We “met” because of social media, had a conversation or two on the phone, and now are beginning a new business relationship.

While thinking about this as we concluded our call, the smile was also about the other professionals I have met via Facebook®, LinkedIn®, or Twitter. They’re folks I don’t think I would have met otherwise. And, each initial introduction wasn’t about selling ourselves or getting business from one another.

I thought about the cycle that brought us together and found it worth sharing in this post as a means to inspire & encourage you. It went like this:

1. Connection #1: I attended a Webinar and the presenter displayed a testimonial on the screen. The person quoted in that testimonial was from Colorado, where I used to live. So I sent him a tweet. He tweeted back and soon we spoke on the phone a few times. While the initial connection was Colorado – not business – we now have a working relationship where I’ve assisted him with writing content for his coaching Web site, sales flyers and more.

2. Connection #2: During one of those phone calls, the Colorado coach suggested I check out another professional online. He didn’t know him personally, just recommended him for his expertise. So I followed through. I began to follow that person on Twitter (he’s in Ohio) and attended one of his Webinars.

We eventually connected over the phone trying to resolve an issue with a download of a file. However, the next thing I knew we were talking about my writing business and he asked for my feedback on his sales page. Then, we continued to talk and since then, not only have I written content for another one of his sales pages, I also recorded a module as a guest speaker that he’ll offer in one of his future webinars.

3. Connection #3: While writing content for Connection #2’s sales page, I attended another Webinar he presented. During that session he described the success one of his attendee’s achieved – that was Steve. I e-mailed him with a simple congratulatory message. He then tweeted me and another conversation began, which eventually led to a phone call and another. What started as a friendly conversation is now growing into a partnership. We’re talking about the many ways I can help Steve with content writing for projects he currently has in the works.

It was during today’s call that Steve said “Debra, you’re a gift. You’re so valuable.” and I smiled and thought “the universe does work in strange ways sometimes.” It’s what inspired this post because I don’t always understand how it happens. Maybe it’s “karma” or the law of attraction and you might say “yeah, right,” but then things fall into place. So, perhaps neither concept can be ignored.

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The questions many people ask me about social networking are: “Have you made money doing it?,” or “How has it boosted your bottom line?” My response is usually not about making money, but making connections.

I cannot say “I made $10,000” or “I landed an incredible $50,000 account,” but what I can say, is I’m building new relationships. I’ve connected with fellow professionals around the country who I may have never met otherwise. And, it’s kind of been a snow ball effect – one led to another, which led to another – and I live on Kauai where we don’t even have snow!

So that makes me smile. And, it also makes me grateful!

In addition, the above stories are only 3 examples in my experience. In the last several months, I have connected with a variety of other colleagues who I have developed new relationships with. The purpose of our phone calls wasn’t about making a sale. It was just about establishing a deeper connection. I know I’ve used that word “connection” a lot here, but it seems to be the best word to describe the rewarding experience.

What’s your social networking experience been like? Are you just posting Tweets, LinkingIn or following fans on Facebook or are you smiling because you’re building relationships along the way? I’d love to hear your thoughts.