Recently I had the pleasure to represent my company and lead a round table for the NC/CVA Chapter of Withit at the Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point, where we talked about growing real relationships both online and off. Thanks to Ms. Trisha Kemerly, Regional Vice President of the Virginias/Carolinas Region of Withit we discussed a ‘Social Media Field Guide’, so to speak, for growing organic relationships that nurture you both personally and professionally.
As a new member of Withit, I was thrilled at the opportunity to meet fellow members, as well as students, and am still inspired by the questions and topics we discussed together that evening. . . one of which was ‘how to grow real relationships‘.
By no stretch of the imagination do I claim to be a guru, ninja or any other kind of social media anything. I share what I am passionate about and what I have learned over the years . . . I love to share what I believe in and have experienced first hand, both personally and professionally, as well as the accepted best practices by myself and many online leaders.
My goal is to inspire a different way of thinking when it comes to investing in and growing your network. Growing real relationships both online and off takes time. There is no quick fix. Period.
Here are 7 pointers to get you growing . . .
- Be yourself. It’s is okay to look to those whom you admire for guidance and inspiration – but don’t be a carbon copy. Embrace your individuality, spark and spunk and know that you are more than what you do for a living. Be sure to share your personal passions, be a resource to those who look to you for guidance and celebrate the accomplishments of your community!
- Set goals. Both personal and professional goals are integral to your success. Write them down, keep them with you and review them daily. Review your goals regularly to make adjustments, add new contacts, ideas and learning opportunities. Having a plan and a path to your goals are integral to your success.
- Have a plan. Knowing what activities you must engage in every day and setting time aside to devote to cultivating your relationships will keep you on the right path to accomplish your goals. Remember that the leverage to make things happen starts in your own mind.
- Be consistent*. What ever it is that you decide to do to grow your relationships, online or off . . . be consistent – In your learning, sharing, research, outreach, engagement and rest!
- *Set boundaries. Establishing realistic boundaries about your time, your services, social media and the best way to contact you is an investment that will protect your family time and allow you the room to rest and recharge so that you can be 100% for anything you invest your time and talent in. Remember to make time for YOU (and that means offline) as well as to the who and what that matters to you personally.
- Be thoughtful. Take time each week to reach out to those you’ve met, want to get to know or haven’t spoken to in a while. An email and a tweet can only go so far and a personal note or a phone call means more than you can ever imagine!
- Have a Mentor/Board of Advisors. Of all the things I am most grateful for it is the Board of Advisors I have for my company. Each member of our BOA’s each have a deep knowledge in their specific area of expertise (not necessarily in our chosen field) and have helped our family company grow more than I had ever dreamed. A BOA will help you spot potential problems, share insightful thoughts on solutions and offer unbiased guidance on your personal/professional growth.
It’s important to be yourself, stand your ground and surround yourself with people who are as committed as you are to in investing in and building a genuine community that reflects your values, regardless of your industry.
What tips would you share that have helped you build real relationships both online and off?