The Serious Goings-On Behind The Social Networking Scene

March 6th, 2012 | Shakirah Dawud | 31 Comments

social networking means business

I just got an email from a very smart professional whom I happen to like a lot.

We met on someone’s blog, followed each other “home,” and now see each other on social platforms pretty much daily.

We share each other’s links, support and tease each other on Twitter, and share brief direct message dialogues every now and again (no, not about you. Not the… time before last, anyway).

So what was the email about? It wasn’t a link to a “Join me at New Social Group.” It wasn’t a mass email. It wasn’t a casual hello.

It was an update about a business project we’re working on together.

You see, a couple of months ago we expanded our casual relationship into a much more serious one. And it’s one of the most pleasant business relationships I’ve ever had the pleasure of benefiting from.

We share both a personal and professional affinity that usually takes months for businesspeople to cultivate, even though we have yet to confide our heart’s deepest desire to each other.

What were the things that helped us wade from the “friendly acquaintance” into the “friendly business” end of the pool? Speaking only for myself, I can say I didn’t jump into it blindly.

Consistency – but not like you’d think.

And by that I don’t mean the same activity over and over. I saw consistency in quality of character and communication across multiple social channels. Because of it, I felt reassurred that the Smart Professional would fall within the same patterns in real life.

Don’t mistake consistency with routine. Consistency never gets stale.

When you blog, tweet, or post to Facebook, do it in a natural rhythm, not an imposed one. People aren’t recording or anticipating the exact moment in time they see you every week (there, there; I know it’s hard to accept), but they are paying attention to what they see when you do get in front of them.

Proof of professionalism.

The smart professional’s website was packed full of evidence of what the company was capable of, and the blog offered more proof of industry knowledge and practical experience.

I came back for more, not because I was looking for those services or even as a favor from one Twitter buddy to another, but simply because I expected to leave feeling smarter whenever I visited.

So when the business opportunity opened up, I actually felt proud to join such a happenin’ company.

Personable – not sticky.

As I mentioned, I don’t know every living detail about the other person, but I didn’t have to in order to feel completely comfortable beginning a business relationship. The vibe I got via our communications on social media was just right.

Being social on social media provides you the freedom to choose what level of “social” you want to give to each of the thousands of people you run into on any platform.

When you’re presenting yourself as a professional, put everything you want to post to the “sticky” test. Will people feel conflicted about who you are or what your motives may be after hearing a very personal story – and will that push your agenda forward?

If not, it’s not their business – at least, not until you’re ready to be friends.

Photo credit: Nicola Corboy, courtesy Flickr, CC 2.0.

Shakirah DawudShakirah Dawud is the writer and editor behind Deliberate Ink. Based in Maryland with roots in New York, she’s been crafting effective marketing copy as a writer and polishing many forms of prose as an editor since 2002. Clients in many fun sizes, industries, and locations reach her through the Web.

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Shakirah Dawud

Shakirah Dawud

Writer & Editor at Deliberate Ink
Shakirah Dawud is the writer and editor behind Deliberate Ink. Based in Maryland with roots in New York, she’s been crafting effective marketing copy as a writer and polishing many forms of prose as an editor since 2002. Clients in many fun sizes, industries, and locations reach her through the Web.
Shakirah Dawud
Shakirah Dawud
Shakirah Dawud

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"A Little Birdie Told Me" could fly into your inbox just once a month. It's Shonali-as-seen-nowhere-else. What're you waiting for?

27 comments
shonali
shonali

@mmangen Thanks so much for sharing @ShakirahDawud post.

shonali
shonali

@aboutourwork @arkarthick @jamiecrager Thanks so much for sharing @shakirahdawud post!

EricaAllison
EricaAllison

Shakirah, I'm sorry I'm late to this one! As you know, I really like it and get it and have had the same experiences with folks online. I like your overview of how you felt comfortable to move from one level to another - a perfect case study of what it takes to win over fans and ambassadors!  Too bad folks don't often 'get it' or work from a script to achieve the same thing!

shonali
shonali

@danielnewmanuv Thanks so much for sharing @ShakirahDawud post.

shonali
shonali

@brennermichael Thanks so much for sharing @ShakirahDawud post.

shonali
shonali

@kathikruse Thanks so much for sharing @ShakirahDawud post!

shonali
shonali

@iggypintado Thanks so much for sharing @ShakirahDawud post!

shonali
shonali

@skypulsemedia And they are so serious, even though they don't seem so. Thanks for sharing @ShakirahDawud #WUL post!

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Hi @ShakirahDawud this goes to the heart of a post I just published. Individuals can build powerful relationships via social media. Brands can not on the same scale. They take time and effort. Pepsi can not afford to hire someone to work twitter to become buddies with 200 people vs the need for that person to react, tweet and reach thousands shallowly. But people can build great relationships that benefit and enhance our personal and professional life as you bring up so poignantly here!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

Like @bdorman264 said, it's just like "real" life, isn't it?

This in particular resonated with me: "When you blog, tweet, or post to Facebook, do it in a natural rhythm, not an imposed one. People aren’t recording or anticipating the exact moment in time they see you every week (there, there; I know it’s hard to accept), but they are paying attention to what they see when you do get in front of them."

This is something that I've always done, even when I've scheduled tweets, which I still do occasionally, and even now, when I use Buffer and/or Triberr. The one thing I used to do, which I don't do that much any more, was "sign off" when I was going offline... that was my way of not just saying "goodbye" for the day (just as I would IRL), but also to let people know I was offline and it might take a while for me to respond. I'm not sure why I haven't been doing it recently, though simply NOT being online as much - due to work and other stuff - might be a part of it. What do you think of doing that on a regular basis?

ShakirahDawud
ShakirahDawud

@ocopy Hello, there, thanks for the RT, Kathleen! How are you?

ShakirahDawud
ShakirahDawud

@c_pappas Thanks for the RT. How are you today?

shonali
shonali

@mattlacasse @leaderswest Thanks so much for sharing @ShakirahDawud guest #WUL post!

bdorman264
bdorman264

Well, thanks for speaking so kindly of me...........what? This wasn't about me? Confound it.........

 

I hear what you are saying, after awhile I think you get a pretty good vibe of what's real and what's not. I have been surprised a couple of times and even by people everybody just love because they think the online persona of this person is so great they are blinded by reality. However, it's just like real life; not everyone is going to be perfect and as long as you know what the playing field looks like you can certainly choose your level of involvement accordingly, right? 

 

I have made some real friends online too, and it has been a good thing for me.

 

Thanks for sharing; good to see you at Shonali's. 

ShakirahDawud
ShakirahDawud

 @HowieSPM

"Pepsi can not afford to hire someone to work twitter to become buddies with 200 people vs the need for that person to react, tweet and reach thousands shallowly." Exactly. That's why small businesses or solo establishments are so agile--and able to garner large followings in their own right--on social media compared to the big brands, which are trying but really aren't "built" to build these kinds of relationships online, I believe.

OCopy
OCopy

@ShakirahDawud You're welcome. I'm great, thanks! You? Nice to see you in Twitterville. :)

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

@ShakirahDawud Loved the point you made! So true! Today is going good - catching up on my reading & sharing! How are you?

MattLaCasse
MattLaCasse

@shonali Happy to do so! cc @leaderswest @shakirahdawud

ShakirahDawud
ShakirahDawud

@c_pappas Same here, but instead of catching up, I'm just sort of jumping onboard the moving freight train, land where I may...

KDillabough
KDillabough

 @ShakirahDawud Trust your gut. See the signs. Good counsel Shakirah, because when occasionally it "feels" right, "looks" right and "sounds" right but it's not, it's worth the journey. We learn how to learn from it. Cheers! Kaarina

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