I was an Army brat, so every few years while I was a kid, we moved. That meant a new neighborhood (sometimes in a new country!) and a new school. Out of necessity, I learned to make friends quickly, because if you didn’t put yourself out there, you’d get pretty lonely. The other kids already had plenty of friends and didn’t have much motivation to seek me out.
The most effective technique was to hang out where I thought the other kids would eventually be – places like the playground or the ballfield or the corner store. Sure enough, someone would show up, we’d start up a conversation and I’d at least have one new acquaintance that might develop into a friend.
Even if we didn’t bond much, they would introduce me to their siblings and others in the neighborhood. Just being in their presence increased my approachability.
Another technique was to pay attention to which other houses on the block contained kids around my age. When I got bored enough, I’d summon up my courage, go knock on the door and ask whoever answered if they (or their boy or girl) could come out to play. Even if they could not play right then and there, I was often invited in and introduced. Sometimes it resulted in a whole family full of new friends. Other times, it opened the door for them to talk to me at school or even come to knock at my house.
This is the way I like to think of social websites. With search, we are waiting for people to come find us. However, like the established kids in a neighborhood, they probably have plenty of friends and little motivation to seek us out. They may not even know we exist, which makes it even tougher.
Some social websites, like Facebook, allow us to go hang out where the people are and strike up relationships. We may also gain new relationships through that initial tier of contacts. We become approachable to others and, before you know it, we have a great social circle. People who were never even looking for us have now discovered us because we’ve gone to where they are.
Other sites, like Linked In, provide more of a can you come out and play environment. You need to put yourself out there a little, asking for introductions and recommendations, but the rewards can be well worth it.
So, if you’re having a hard time embracing social websites, don’t give up just yet. Go where the people you want to have relationships with already are and allow yourself to be discovered. The key is finding the right places to go-the places where the people you want to interact with are already hanging out.
Adding this layer of discovery to your search marketing can reap unforeseen rewards for you and your online business.
upper photo from Easternblot
lower photo from Moody75