by Gina Burgess
Good networks are actually good relationships that help build your business. Too often people look at Facebook buddies and blogging buddies as acquaintances, not as relationships. In reality, these people may forge relationnships closer with you than your child’s teacher or the person sitting next to you at a meeting.
Birds share the lead when flying in formation. No one has to take the full burden all the time. The reason is rather simple. Relationships are built on the give and take of sharing. The same with internet relationships. You share something, she shares something, he shares something and you all are able to see what motivates and drives you, what you are passionate about.
Internet relationships are built on the same foundation that face-to-face relationships are built. Trust. People do business with those they trust. Building your network takes some time and takes some patience and takes some guts to share what is important to you.
Here are 16 essentials to building a trustworthy network that will work for you.
- Brand your name and keep adding regular content to social media – make your name synonymous with what you write about such as Stephen King = Horror.
- Accept the risk of stepping out – here’s a quick tip: Some people won’t like you no matter who you are or what you stand for. Let that kind of response roll off your back like water on a duck. Remember what’s important. God chose you to write what you are writing so you only need to please Him. Amen?
- Start networking in a safe place such as Authors Community Fellowship Forum – You will find likeminded authors available to talk/chat about anything. Get to know them. Then build that relationship that will help both of you.
- Give your real name, and say the name of the person you are talking to – It is kind and it helps you remember that person’s name. Be real and expect real in return.
- Build credibility by asking and answering questions. – So very often what you write to one person helps five others, too!
- Encourage others.
- Keep in mind you are building relationships not keeping score – It doesn’t really matter if you have 1,000 followers or a million. What matters is getting to know those who are willing to share. Each person on the internet has an average of at least 200 followers (I don’t really know how many, I just pulled that figure out of the air), people who are willing to listen specifically to him or her. Each one of those 200 people has at least that many who are willing to listen. Spread that around and you’ve got an internet garden of highly, fertilized plants that bear great fruit.
- Reveal yourself and your values – Seriously, you don’t want a lot of folks that do not have your values who have a lot of followers who do not have your values in your network. You want likeminded people following you who love what you write and are willing to share it to others with likeminded values.
- Ask for help but also offer help – One of the best things I discovered in my years of news reporting/editing and blogging is that people love to help when asked. At least most do. Asking opinions is right up there with asking for help. It gives readers a sense of who you are and that you are more like them in reality, or rather you each have a commonality on which you can build a relationship. That creates even deeper commonality, and commonality creates a comfortable sense of relationship.
- Never expect something in return – Give help, but don’t expect anyone to pay you back. That kind of thinking promotes pressure, and pressure does not seal relationships; it is more likely to blow them apart.
- Find a Wingman then expand your networks together – This is one of the best parts of building a network. Finding that person who has the same values, likes most of the same stuff, laughs at your jokes, and has the same mission as you = promoting books and writing. What could be better? Networking together. One person cannot write enough books to keep her own following busy all the time. Two people cannot write enough books to keep both their followings busy. But two networks are better than one. Three networks are not easily broken.
- Study your passion.
- Share your passion – Share your research with your network. What is an interesting fact you’ve discovered that you want to put in your next WIP? Share it. Ask opinions about it. Ask if anyone knows anything else about it. That gets people talking and that helps to build relationships and that helps build your network.
- Follow up! – Someone asks something, someone says something, someone drops a comment, follow up with an answer. Answer every comment, use the commenter’s name, share a little about your experience with whatever is under discussion. This is crucial to building relationships.
- Try to learn something interesting from every person you meet – Learning something from others is a link is building commonality.
Why is this better than being in a Facebook group?
Most of the same stuff mentioned here goes on in Facebook groups, so why is a network better? People in a group come and go, groups have rules that you have to follow, there are no guarantees that others in that group will share with their network what you share in the group. Of course, there are no guarantees your own network will share, but it is definitely more likely especially when you ask them to share.
Do you have an essential that you use to build networks that is not listed here? Please share it. Is there one of these that you already do that hasn’t worked all that well for you? Please share it with us.
Gina Burgess is Authors Community COO, author, editor, illustrator, and grandma.