Let’s face it. We’re all trying to grow awareness of ourselves in various ways. And in doing so, we tend to look to our own numbers, like Followers, Connections, Fans and more. I should know. I’ve stared at those numbers as much as anyone.
But as I’ve become lucky enough to join the company of some great fellow writers, such as the ones here on Personal Branding Blog, a funny thing happened:
I’m making it my purpose to be each group’s biggest contributor and fan.
When I say group, it doesn’t matter if it’s an online LinkedIn Group or an offline networking group. It’s the collection of people you want to belong to – and champion. It’s not all of Twitter. It’s not the whole of Pinterest. It’s the definable subgroups within social media channels (or cities/towns) where you know the majority of the faces and they hopefully know yours.
Your time is valuable. You can’t be everywhere. So in the places where you decide to spend your time, you want to give everything you’ve got. Which can force you to ask yourself, “Am I existing in these groups or am I actively participating?”
To find the answer, you may want to ask yourself these questions:
- How many in my group have I invited to do a guest blog post?
- How many comments have I made on their blog posts?
- How many times a day have I interacted with them?
- How many times have I shared their posts with others?
- How many conversations away from social media have I had with them?
- How can I be their advocate and do I know who they want to meet most?
The type of connection you are seeking
I’m not talking about Likes. Or +1’s. Or Pins. Those are nice. But what I’m getting at is building rapport within a group so that people are glad you joined them – to the point of where if you don’t attend an event or don’t post for a couple days on their group page, you’re severely missed.
This kind of rapport is what causes people like my fellow writer on this blog, Deb Shane, to invite other personal branding authorities onto her program on Blog Talk Radio (a panel I was honored to be a part of).
When you start thinking this way, you realize your most interactive circle doesn’t have to be thousands of people. In some circumstances, you may make extraordinary headway with a dozen people or less.
The road to finding the right connections
In all honesty, I’m not there yet within each of my groups. In some, I’ve been existing and not participating as much as I should. But this process is helping me sort through the groups I can devote the most quality time to and those I can’t. Which groups have manageable numbers so I won’t be lost in the shuffle? Which groups have the most factors in common with my own brand’s goals? Am I proud to promote it often to others or am I just going to show up and see what happens? Can I consistently maintain interactivity?
It might feel strange at first to champion others over yourself with such purpose. Yet, ironically, I believe the more you do it, the more you wind up building a reputation for yourself as a person worth getting to know – as much for being a good partner to others as for your own knowledge you’re trying to display so strongly to the world.