Some people just know how to engage their social networks. It seems that no matter what they post, their readers and followers respond and interact with them as a result. The conversation might be anything ranging from introducing a new product, to asking how everyone is doing, to how their cat ate the wrong kind of food and threw up everywhere. To the outside observer it looks a little ridiculous. Why are these digital schmoozers so popular?
What are these top one percent of online citizens doing that the other 99 percent seem to be missing? How are they able to build ongoing relationships and such a large following for their brand with seemingly so little effort?
More importantly, how can you leverage those same principles to become an influential leader in your niche? Here are some characteristics that deliver:
Be Selectively Present
The folks with the most traction don't attend every party, they attend the right ones and go all out. For some, it is Twitter and Facebook; for others, it's LinkedIn. Sure, it might be great to be everywhere, but why not put full effort into a few sites you enjoy and see what happens?
Show Your Face
Faces have an advantage over logos. Why? Because it is hard to schmooze and form a real relationship with a logo if we don't know who is behind it. Is it the intern? A marketing or PR firm? Who is it? The best schmoozers are humans, not faceless companies. Are you showing you?
Share Valuable Content
Dan Schawbel from Personal Branding Blog is great at this. He shares all kinds of great content related to personal branding and careers. Some of it is his content from his websites. Some of it is from other people. When you share entertaining, educational and/or inspiring content, such as a book, a blog post or a product, you begin to become the go-to resource for whatever that something is. What is your something?
Promote Others More Than Yourself
Chris Brogan actually has a ratio for this: twelve to one. He promotes others twelve times for every one thing he promotes for himself. A little extreme? Perhaps. Yet while an exact science might not be necessary here, the idea is critical. When you promote others more than yourself, you will not come off as a know-it-all or product pusher.
Being helpful on social media sites is a little like being Mother Teresa in public. You are helping others—and everyone can see it. This isn't about contrived manipulation, it's about genuinely helping others without expecting anything in return. It might be retweeting someone's question about the best place to host a web video or answering the question if you know the answer. Helpfulness builds relationships.
Show Up Consistently
A great quote from one of my good friends, Scott "The Nametag Guy" Ginsberg: "Consistency is better than rare moments of greatness." Does this mean you need to be glued to your computer or phone and be "in real time" all the time? Absolutely not (and your family probably wouldn't love it if you did). What it does mean is, don't disappear for days or weeks on end without first giving people a heads-up.
There is a misconception on social networking sites that you are either a conversationalist or a marketer. The best schmoozers also promote at some point. It might be an event, a book, a product or a service. The key is, it isn't a hard sell wrapped in a tight marketing message. Instead, it is conversational and fun. Don't promise a get-rich scheme or make others feel any less valuable if they don't buy.
Become a Master of Small Talk
You might ask people how the weather is, help them with a business problem, joke around, talk about a movie you saw, or whatever else comes up in the moment. The secret to becoming a master digital schmoozer is actually caring. Take off the marketer hat, business-owner hat and sales hat and get to know people on a one-on-one basis. Small talk is the most underrated action you can take on social media sites.
Introduce and Vamoose
In the social media schmoozing world, being a connector is massively valuable. For example, entrepreneur and blogger Neil Patel is the master of the intro. It might be in public on Twitter ("Hey (insert name) and (insert name). Do you two know each other? If not, you should!") or it might be in a private message or email. Being a catalyst of helping others form relationships is invaluable.
Reach Out to New People
We all want to believe that we are really important and that everyone should want to connect with us. In reality, the best schmoozers put themselves out there and take steps to actively expand their networks, be it through a LinkedIn invitation or a Facebook invite with a quick little introduction. Personal touches go further than you might think. Reaching out to someone by complimenting them is a great start.
Grow Bigger Ears
Top schmoozers are also news breakers. Are you keeping tabs on the blogs and news sources in your industry? More importantly, are you finding the most valuable and timely information and sharing it with your network? Give it a shot. It might be as simple as setting up Google Reader and subscribing to the major news blogs in your industry.
I find this the most interesting tidbit of all. When you study the networks of some of the top digital schmoozers, you find that not only are they connected to nearly everyone in their industry (influencers, bloggers, up-and-comers, fans, etc.) but they also connect with people outside their specific industry, which to the casual eye might seem a completely unrelated thing. Yet sometimes it is these random connections that end up being the most valuable—to both parties.
DAVID SITEMAN GARLAND hosts RISE,
a web show for entrepreneurs featuring unique
interviews and advice, and The Rise to the Top,
a TV show on ABC. He is the author of Smarter,
Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-free Strategies
for Marketing and Promoting Your Business.