Social Web: Show Me The People

Social media is called social for a reason. It needs people to make it meaningful and relevant.

If the vital element of having people around is missing in social media, it’s pretty much going to be a boring monologue at best.

One of the posts from David Risley on his blog from the last week talked about this critical element of social media.

In this post, Remember Blogging Is A People Business, David broke down the social aspect of blogging into two simple steps:

  1. Blogging is a form of communication between real people.
  2. Those are real, living, breathing, thinking people. They’re out there interacting. They have needs and wants. Your job is to interact back and serve those needs and wants.
  3. If you’re not comfortable dealing with people, you’re going to have a harder time blogging at any higher level than a personal hobby blog. This is a people business.

While David was talking from a blogging point of view, the same applies to success at large in the remainder of the social web. The same set of rules can be extrapolated to social media – as a super set of blogging.

There’s an especially insightful piece of wisdom lurking in this post by David:

In the world of blogging, this would translate into guest posting (tapping into the existing conversations) and a lot of networking with other people, including other players in your niche. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, just do it. Twitter, Facebook, instant messenger, comments, forums – hell, use snail mail if you want. But, connecting with ACTUAL PEOPLE is your ticket to getting a blog going.

Replace blogging with social media – and you have the recipe for success served to you on a platter. It can’t get any simpler than this – and it isn’t too complicated. Is it?

Chris Garrett and Lewis Howes have a project, Shy Networking, that I am a member of. No – that isn’t an affiliate link. While the project is awesome, I’m pulling the reference in here for a specific reason – to quote Chris.

Being a shy, introverted type, I thought I had to make it on my own. Making contacts seemed impossible for me; it felt too exposed, too far outside my confort zone. I didn’t want to be seen as one of those pushy “in your face” guys, and all the networking advice was aimed at extroverts and social butterflys.

It took me quite a while to figure out how to find successful people and make friends with them. Once I began to connect with key contacts, everything changed.

The bottomline is – there are specific steps that anyone can employ to make meaningful and relevant connections in social media. And I’m definitely not excluding the fact that these need to be authentic and genuine – without even the slightest hint of gimmickry.

These specific steps point back in the simple recipe from David Risley that I pointed out above.

Darren Rowse summed it up very well in his video post from last week, How To Be The Life Of The Social Media Party:

Being good on social media really has a lot to do with being good in relationships and conversation.

In Darren’s words, there are four simple steps to increase your effectiveness in social media – and be the kind of person people want to interact with online (and offline):

– Being interesting and interested
– Being engaging
– Having something unique to say
– Taking initiative and not just being passive

Prima-facie, engaging with your network in social web seems like common-sense.

Perhaps that’s the reason vast majority of the people online miss it. They just overlook the obvious!

What do you think? What are some of the formulae that have worked for you in social media? I’d love to know.

(Image Credit: Matthew Stewart http://www.flickr.com/photos/aramisfirefly/)

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