I’ve lost count as to how many opportunities have come my way just by saying, “Hi!” to a complete stranger online.
Last week I signed on for a writing gig with a huge online travel publication (literally goals!) all because someone I connected with in a webinar about three years ago mentioned my name when the publication asked for a list of Caribbean based travel writers. I was on Twitter when I got the notification that my online buddy Sam had thrown my name in the mix.
Now I don’t “speak” to Sam everyday. He’s a male lifestyle blogger who I first ran into in a free online coaching session another blogger was hosting. We’d been waiting for the class to start when everyone in the group just started sharing their Instagram handles. I added all of them, including Sam. Over the past few years he and I have chatted off and on while live tweeting about the antics of one particular host on The View or trying to figure out when Wendy Williams will return to the purple chair (it was announced our fave tea spiller will be back on Monday March 4!).
Sam often posts links to his blog and I do the same. We both post photos from a day out or an event and share the love in liking, commenting or even haring each other’s work. This is building your tribe. Because Sam and I had become so familiar with each other, when he saw the call for a Caribbean based travel writer, he remembered me; this is the power of being social on social media!
Because I love ESSENCE Magazine so much, every time I come across an Instagram profile with “ESSENCE editor” or “ESSENCE writer” in the bio, I immediately follow them. It worked for me one time too. An editor I followed actually followed me back and messaged me saying that she has family living in The Bahamas and that we should connect whenever she’s on island again. Even better, when I posted that I was writing my second e-book, she hit me up saying she was looking for travel writers for ESSENCE.com! A WIN!
We sometimes forget that the “SOCIAL” in social media means something and engaging with people with like minds and similar interests could literally put you on, or vice versa. I’ve heard so many stories from people who say they find it hard to “meet people” online, find their crew and engage with others. Sometimes you have to take the first step. You have to make the first move and step out of your comfort zone and go follow some people!
You have to like their photos and videos, leave genuine comments on their posts, share their work with your audience and just engage! I know we find it so comfortable and easy to only befriend and engage with our family and friends and co-workers online, but so much is waiting for you on the other side of that, “hey, girl, hey!”
Here are 4 surefire ways to make fast, genuine, likeminded, authentic friends on social media
1.Webinars – These are online sessions that bloggers and coaches host for free or for some coins. When I first started blogging I signed up for every webinar I could find and met so many amazing bloggers who were just like me; just starting out, looking for a tribe, eager to learn and wanting to connect. To this day I’m still in touch with so many of them and when the times comes we show support for each other in the best ways. Take me and Sam for example.
2. Twitter Chats – I absolutely love Twitter! I know a lot of people don’t dig the tweet train, but for me it’s so crucial to your online business. Twitter is where people go to talk and converse, share news, talk about social issues and if you’re a blogger, easily share your work. One of the best parts of Twitter for me are the live chats. These are hosted chats that use a specific hashtag to keep all the content in line. For instance, I’m hosting a Twitter chat in partnership with Carib Blog Chat on April 7 and the topic is consistency. I’ll hop on there and start a convo using #CaribBlogChat. Everyone wanting to take part in the convo will respond to my questions and comments using the same hashtag. I usually go through the hashtag after a Twitter chat to find people I like and follow them! Join us on April 7 and find your crew! FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!
3. Facebook Groups – I’m in a few FB groups that are still up and running, barely, but they’re up there. I do think FB groups are trailing off more and more, but joining these are still great ways to connect with people in your niche and find new online friends. In these groups, you can also share your work, comment on other people’s work, share ideas and trials and tribulations and have a support group.
4. Follow people – Yes. Sign on to Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook and just cold turkey follow people. Like their posts, leave comments on their work and let them know you exist. These internet streets are so crowded with people and it’s easy to get lost in the sauce. You have to make sure that your presence is known and I’ve found that this is one of the most genuine ways to grow your following and engage. This is my absolute favorite way to make online friends.
5. Hashtags – If you’re smart, you’re not only using hashtags to be found, but to also find people. I love scrolling through the hashtags I use often to see who else is using them as well. Nine times out of 10, I find a dope profile with awesome photos and great personality. They’re usually interested in the same things I am, so I follow…and they usually follow back! This is a great tip for Instagram and Twitter. FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM!
I was so happy to hear from people who watched my Instagram live session on this same topic, who said they put these tips to use and are already seeing results! Take a look!