When You Smile Does Everyone Smile Back?



do people smile back We would like to hope that this is true, but we know it is not. Smiling back is in real life what we can see it but in the digital world it is a bit convoluted as we cannot really see them so we await the feedback. The feedback is in a retweet, a Like, a +1, a  Stumble, a LinkedIn share, a link on their blog to elaborate upon article that we have posted or a comment. We can think that is a smile back but yet is it really? Ok we have to look at the comments a bit and see if it is singing our praise or the pick up of the article to see if it is positive but yet is every, outside of those, a smile back?

Building Relationships Online

Building relationships online is just a click away. How many of our connections do we reach out to daily, weekly or even monthly? Some we see each week at a chat or multiple times during the week in other chats so we can say we are reaching out to them regularly. Outside of their Twitter handle, how many of them do we know something about? Do we know what they do for a living? Some we do but many we do not. How many of them have we spoken to outside of the chat?  Building an online community for some is really nothing more than adding some followers. Build it and they will come as people will always reach out to us and of course when we  tweet or post a status update, people will come in drones to respond.

This we know is not true as we have to be welcoming to them and talk to them in a way that makes them want to respond back. When we think about it, building an online community is really not more than adding some followers but sustaining them is a different story. How often have you checked to see if those that you are following are following you back? It can be a bit discouraging as when you find out that some that you really thought would be following you back are just not. But, then again, how often have you reached out to them and talked to them, commented on their blog, and supported their efforts?  In other words, given an opportunity for them to get to know you? This does not guarantee a relationship but it is a start.

Sustaining Online Relationships

When we think about sustaining online relationships, we have to step back a bit to ensure that there was actually a relationship to sustain. How do we define a relationship? In person it is different than online as we are able to see them but yet how often do we get together with our friends? Online we have an opportunity to reach out day after day and but yet we just do not. Sure, we retweet their articles and tell everyone how awesome they are but outside of that is this really defining a relationship? How can someone get to know us if all we are doing is pretty much acting automated? We sustain relationships by going outside the “supporting of their efforts” with clicking the share buttons and commenting on their blog. We sustain relationships by treating them as friends. Friends do not let friends tweet to the open air without responding. As funny as that sounds, it is true.

Ways to Get People to Smile Back

Not everyone is going to be your friend online. You really do not want that as then we all would be alike and that gets awfully boring. The trainwrecks or crazy bitches have definitely proven to provide entertainment and some sensational conversations. Those we need to watch from afar. However, there are those that we do believe that we would like to build a relationship with and get to know better. How? What can we do that is so different than others that makes then take notice of us and see if we fit into their social circle and lives?

1. Avoid AutoDMs. I cannot say this enough. I get so many autoDM’s that push me to their website or Facebook page that I cannot delete fast enough. I have not met anyone who likes an autoDM.

2. Introduce Connections to One Another. This is not something that we see all that often but it is definitely something that should be done more often. If you are friends with someone why not introduce them to others that you are friends with? Are you hoarding your friends and keeping them to yourself?

3. Reach Out Just Because. How many times has someone just reached out just to say Hi or ask a question just because? Ok some are creepy but the other ones are a bit of a shock that it makes us think about ourselves and how we reach out to people. Being responsive is easy, initiating is not as easy.

4. Invite to Online Events. Again, not something we see very often however, how often have you invited your followers/friends to chats or other online events such as a webinar, podcast or a UStream? We see the warnings to followers that participating in chats will be taking place, but how many times have you been invited by or invited someone to something that you are taking part in?

5. Take the Conversation Offline. This is one that is a big step. Generally we set up a phone call or a Skype when we need something or have something to talk about. I get that people are busy but taking a few minutes to talk one on one is so powerful. You learn so much and strengthen the relationship. Not everyone is as receptive as others as time is never on our side but then again, we make time for what is important to us and what matters. People matter.

These are just a few ways to get people to smile back. We have the tools of connectivity at our fingertips but yet we get so wrapped up in learning how to use the tools that we forget the most important thing – people. There is a live person behind every single Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or forum.

photo credit: kevindooley