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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Do Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn Work?

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.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.

Comments

  1. I love this topic. You & I have just recently connected thru Twitter. We haven’t gotten to know each other yet, but I know you used to live where I live. I just felt that connection and know we will talk soon!

    • Yes Debbie, you are one of the people I thought of when I mentioned that I’d connected with a variety of colleagues around the country. It’s interesting how some people do just “hit it off” right away. I know you have a lot to share about your journey starting a home-based business. Look forward to staying in touch. Have a great day.

  2. this is an awesome post on the power of social media to transform your business! kudos to you and steve for engaging… far too many people SKIP that step… the most important one!

    • Kate, thanks for the kudos. Engaging is the keyword that’s continually mentioned when discussing social media. I think it’s the”buzz word” for this year. However, as you know, it’s not just about posts on Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn, it’s about connecting, whenever possible. I’m fortunate to have made some of those personal, one-on-one connections with folks like Steve. You and I are next, don’t you think?

  3. Debra,

    It is this type of connection, and engagement that takes social media to a whole different level in your business long term. Not only are you creating a connection, you expanding your reach globally,monetizing your time and energy as well. You are using the Universe for what I call “your personal VA” and have limitless possibilities. Brilliant!

  4. Just met you through twitter and facebook. I followed on to this site. Great material. It is hard work to get connections and connections that leads to sales. Good luck and I hope to hear more about connections and communications.

    • Hi Kathy.Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog & comment on this post. Making genuine connections is the first step. Personally, I recommend making those connections first by having something to give. It may sound cliche, but the more you give, the more you get. Once people get to know, like & trust you, additional rewards will follow.

  5. Good post, Debra. I’m relatively new to social media and have just started blogging recently. I’ve begun making some of these connections, too, and I completely agree that it is a very satisfying experience. I’m looking forward to your posts. Nice to meet you via Twitter!

    • John, thanks so much for taking the time to share your comments. Yes, it’s been very satisfying to “meet” new people virtually. And, what’s been even better is then talking on the phone with many of them and connecting that way. It starts to make the relationship more personal and of course, you begin to form friendships that you may have never made otherwise. Glad to connect with you. Have a great day.

  6. Hi Debra! Love the post! I love social media for it connects people and the world suddenly seems so small. 🙂 I’ve meet so many wonderful people over Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms I sure wouldn’t otherwise. Nice to meet you via Twitter! Happy Monday to you!

    • Thanks @Anita It is wonderful how social networks have connected people far & wide. It’s been great to “meet” you virtually. Next step will be for us to connect in person. I look forward to that opportunity. Best, ~Debra

  7. “Maybe it’s “karma” or the law of attraction … ”

    I like to think of it as “serendipity”!

    There’s one tool of the entrepreneurial trade lots of folks aren’t using — the telephone. Even though it’s wonderful to meet potential business partners, customers, or clients via social media, I believe it’s that all-important personal connection that really congeals the relationship.

    The possibilities for small business success are endless thanks to social media venues. And one BIG perk is social media marketing fits into everyone’s budget.

    No wonder you’re smiling! 🙂

    Fabulous post, Debra.
    Melanie

    • Hi @Melanie, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. You’re right about the phone – I’ve had many conversations via Skype that brought the relationship to another level. And, even better was the chance to meet one-on-one. I found that once I met the folks who I had either engaged with online or via phone, it took the relationship to yet a higher level. It’s so nice to meet face-to-face. Hope we have the chance to do so in the near future. Have a great day.

  8. I totally agree. I have focused my business on pet-lovers and we naturally have a bond. Social media is a perfect fit for connecting people with similar passions.

  9. Our social media presence is young, but promising. We are delighted in its ability to engage directly with folks. We tweet or post on Facebook, sometimes they tweet back almost immediately. We can answer questions, help out with reservations, and share valuable local information easily.
    Plantation Hale recently posted…Sunshine MarketsMy Profile

    • Aloha @Plantation Hale and welcome to the world of social media. The more you get involved, the more you’ll find it’s a great avenue for connecting with your customers.
      Not to mention, they’ll appreciate all you have to share with them as well. The result? Building long-lasting relationships and customers who keep coming back. Keep up the good work.
      Mahalo for sharing your thoughts here.

  10. Hey Debra,

    Ha… you totally nailed it; what a great post. Isn’t this how we met too 😉

    Yes, it’s hard to put a $ sign on how much exactly you make each year with social media. I usually give examples in my workshops of how social media and connecting with others on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. has worked for me.

    Quick example: Because of a tweet I sent out about a conference I was starting to organize, a person from Twitter tweeted back to me and asked if they could present at the conference. Because of having Twitter present at the conference, registrations went through the roof and we also attracted LinkedIn and other high profile Silicon Valley tech companies to be part of the company. We ended up with nearly 50% more registration than we expected. 🙂

    I’m really excited to meet you face-to-face in Wednesday’s Boulder SEO & Social Media workshop and would love for you to share some thoughts on this topic with the attendees 🙂

    Cheers,
    Chris
    Chris Raulf recently posted…Boulder SEO Marketing to Present Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Workshop to Members of the Colorado Translator AssociationMy Profile

    • @Chris, The results you had with your Tweet about a conference were awesome. Congrats on that achievement.

      I don’t really put a dollar sign on social media. What I do value & enjoy, as you can guess by the title of the blog, are the relationships I’ve developed. And, it’s really fabulous when I actually get to meet the people I’ve connected with online, in person. It’s happened several times. I look forward to that opportunity later this week when you & I get to meet face-to-face. Thanks for sharing your example here. See you soon. ~Debra

  11. I agree. For me, social media isn’t really about the money. It’s really all about the connections. I enjoy meeting new people whether in person or online. I love to have people that I can bounce ideas around with and I have a far greater pool to do that with through social media. There are many times when the conversations make me laugh and smile, too. So keep on smiling!
    Julie Myers recently posted…6 Email Marketing Tips for Your Small BizMy Profile

    • Julie, I have met some wonderful people via social media in the U.S. and overseas.
      Some of them I’ve yet to meet in person. others I have had the delightful opportunity to meet face-to-face.
      Or, if we haven’t met in person, some of them I have spoken to on the phone. It’s been a delightful way to connect with other professionals who I may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. Thanks for sharing and yes, keep on smiling! ~Debra

  12. Great topic – I am glad I found you on Twitter!

    Mary
    Mary Kathan recently posted…Kindling Is A Life SaverMy Profile

    • Thanks @Mary. I’m glad you found me too & that you enjoyed this post. Social media has been a great way to connect with folks near and far. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting. I look forward to staying in touch. ~Debra

  13. Debra, this is a good one. And your post made ME smile because many of the most wonderful friends I’ve ever made were met through social media. Over the past few years because of personal circumstances and juggling so many plates, I could not do offline networking as I used to. Social media has been a real blessing and has allowed me to stay in touch with friends around the world.
    Tanya Smith recently posted…Business Process Mapping: A Tool for Practical Problem SolvingMy Profile

    • Tanya, social networking has made it possible for many of us to connect far & wide. After all, I don’t think you and I would have “met” if it weren’t for social media marketing. So happy you’re smiling too! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ~Debra

  14. Great post!

    I agree that without social media, I don’t know where I would be professionally. I’m not a very social person in real life but connecting with people online has been a great way to build relationships and maintain contacts.

    • Michael, I’ve met many people “virtually” and it’s awesome. What’s even more fun is when I get to meet those people in person. Even if you’re not a social person, when you first connect online, the face-to-face connection brings the relationship to a new level. Hope you have a chance to meet some of your online connections in person some day soon.
      Thanks.
      ~Debra

Trackbacks

  1. […] Jason, a copywriter, found new clients through a cycle of relationships, on the Social Media. Debra narrates how she tapped into an opportunity (from simply a mention of connection #1) on a […]

  2. […] Debra Jason, a copywriter, found new clients through a cycle of relationships, via Social Networking. Debra narrates how she tapped into an opportunity (from simply a mention of connection #1) on a […]

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