Learning Social Success



Learning Social Success

If you want to be socially successful online, you need to follow the same rules as you do offline

We hear the terms „online community“ and „social networks“ quite often. The temptation is to think these are so much different than any other community or ways of socialising. They certainly seem to have morphed into something different. The underlying rules of social interaction, however, haven’t.

Think of it in the same way that there is no real „digital marketing“ – there is only good marketing that incorporates digital or bad marketing which does not. If you want to be socially successful online, you need to follow the same rules as you do offline.

California Dreaming

This month California’s own Bridget Willard –@YouTooCanBeGuru – and I are talking about how she helped me become more successful on twitter. It was a lot of work – but that’s what it means to build a relationship. Nothing worthwhile is ever accomplished without working hard.

I published my second book at the end of April and revived an old twitter account I was using, reworking it to promote my book. I had 30 followers and the account had been dormant for 10 years!

Within 2 months, I now have 435 followers – all natural, and all with whom I interact and share.

Sounds like social success doesn’t it? I think so. However, it IS a lot of work!

Hard Work but Worth it

Bridget didn’t show me any magical quick steps. Anyone who tells you they will get you 1,000 followers in a week in exchange for cash should be avoided. My success was simply honest, hard, work – helped by basic SEO and content skills which everyone has thanks to CMS plugins like Yoast.

Whether or not the work is actually hard in the sense of “difficult” is debatable. The challenge is to read your feed with intent. That intent is to interact. When you see something that makes you go “wow,” reply with “wow.” It’s not difficult but it does take time.

My 3 biggest takeaways?

Classic Retweet 

Keeping people on my platform for the conversation, rather than having that conversation happen on someone else’s platform. The whole copy/paste with “RT” in front of the handle and commentary first, ensures that you have analytics for that tweet, not the other way ‘round.

The Retweet button ends a conversation. Instead of pressing a button, focus on including someone else. If you want to share, the copy/paste method works best. Why? Because it’s an introduction to your audience instead of a blind referral. Say your friend shows you her phone with a photo of her new puppy. She hands it to you. Now you just keep handing it to everyone else around you without even a word. Pretty soon, no one knows who you are, how you know the puppy owner, or why it matters. That’s what the Retweet Button is. Anonymous shares that lose relevance.

Twitter Lists

People like to feel special and they usually are. It also makes things a lot easier to keep authors together with authors, and coffee tweets together with coffee tweets. Lists (bridgetwillard.com/twitterlists) allow you to filter your feed so that you only see the audience segment you’re interested in at that moment. 

Being Polite 

Old-school and definitely pre-digital, but every time someone shared or retweeted my posts I said thank you. Social media is being social on a medium. It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use proper manners. Please and thank you go a long way in all areas of our lives — analog or digital.

When I compare the amount of thought and care I put into my @artnchocolate twitter account, compared with how much effort I put into my @warrenlnaida twitter account, I am blown away by the results.

60 day artnchocolate twitter followers increase: 405
daily notifications: 20+

60 day warrenlnaida twitter follower increase: 7
daily notifications: maybe 2 or 3

Let’s Dig Deeper

There’s always something we can learn about what’s happening and where it’s all going. It isn’t random what happens. It makes sense, and we should learn from it while we still have a chance. Facit: this post is not just about getting more twitter followers.

Being Social Online and from Home

During the last months we probably found ourselves much more in online communication with others than in personal communication. We have been reaching out more via twitter, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Facebook; our social media interactions have skyrocketed. Have the content and value of our online interactions been keeping pace with our needs and expectations?

Being in a Relationship

Your likes, friend’s likes, etc create the content you see – helped along by the algorithms behind all social platforms.  We are creating a thicker and thicker bubble of information that reinforces a connection and a disconnection between ourselves and others.

Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls the curtain to reveal who “The Great and Powerful Oz” really is? That’s algorithms. The truth is that we train these platforms to deliver us content based upon our own behavior. If you feel like you’re in a bubble, read and share something else. Miss a friend? Go find their profile and comment on a post. Reply to a tweet.

“The concept of a bubble is now regarded as a negative. We used to love our commonalities. This is how communities are born. Cultures are distinct. Industries are distinct. We don’t have to abandon our heritage to enjoy new people. Instead of thinking of creating a bubble cultivate the relationships you have with people near you.”

Bridget Willard

As in any relationship, you need to stay alert. You need to be mindful. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present — aware of what you are and what you are doing — and not overwhelmed by what is going on around you. Think about your interactions, what would interest others, and how to involve others in the conversation. Be the honey that attracts others to you.

Can We Talk?

Remember: A successful conversation requires three things – something of value and interest to each party, proximity to whoever we want to converse or connect with, and very important the necessary technique and etiquette so a connection is made and we can have future conversations.

In other words, interesting people are interested. Ask questions. If you want to have friends, be a friend.

Learning by Shopping

Our digital world has been redefining our experiences in a noticeable way. In the same way we demand satisfaction from shops and services, we demand satisfaction from social networks. Sure, we all need to deposit money in the bank and pay the rent. But social isn’t about selling — analog or digital. It’s about building relationships. Relationships aren’t something that satisfy; they delight. 

“Dopamine is a powerful hormone that gives us pleasure — delight. Social networks know this about us a humans. Notifications train our brains that we have been accepted. Ding. You’re loved. Ding. You’re important. Ding. Dopamine. Ding. Dopamine. I can become an addition, like anything that gives us pleasure. But the connection is what makes it amazing. It fits right in with Maslows’ Hierarchy of Needs.”

Bridget Willard

Our demand for satisfaction evolved into a demand for delight. How much more effort does this require? Not much. Bring delight to your readers. Bring delight to your feed. Share a story. Take a photo from your walk. Share something of your soul, your person, your being. 

Digital Marketing 101

This is how the big kids play. Your social media should promote and engage that which is core to your life, as well as that with which you associate. Whether it be a band, a type of car, political belief, food, shoes, coffee. These things are your „obsessions“. 

When you communicate, it’s all about saying to your audience: „I know how you live, and what you want. I get you.“ It is no different than being the life of the party or the person everyone wants to spend time with. Become the glue that holds your online network together.

“To connect, rather than communicate, we need to focus on the overlap with our friends. What unites us? What do we have in common? So often we obsess over the differences that we forget what makes us the same. We are all human. We all have a need for love and belonging. We have passions, interests, heartbreaks, and sorrow. Connection requires commonality.”

Bridget Willard

Computer Sex

Alexa, Google Home, and Siri are bringing us in a transition. We communicate with them. We ask them to do things for us. We’re beyond the digital age; we’re in the relationship age. 

With voice technology, we are experiencing the transition of personal assistants morphing into personal companions. We are becoming attached to them even without Siri having a physical form. It’s no wonder, as part of the Shinto faith, it is believed that all objects have a spirit or a soul. We are arguably made for relationships; our brains haven’t evolved to decide digital isn’t real.

„Animism is a component of the Shinto faith, the religion that preceded the introduction of Buddhism to Japan and remains an influential part of the country’s culture. Animism is the notion that all objects have a spirit – even man-made objects.”


Christopher Mims

Our interaction with computers and online social networks mean that more of our time is being spent socialising with a machine. Rather than be alone, or deal with the foibles of another person, we are finding it easy to settle for having a dialogue with a machine. AI  tricks us into believing they understand us. (And sometimes they get to know us better than our spouse.) How will the time we spend with our phones and computers affect our ability to physically interact?

Lazy Relationships are Toxic

Just like analog relationships, social media relationships – good ones – require effort. This may seem like hard work. I am not very good at real relationships because I am basically very lazy – but Bridget really helped me do the work and put in the hours.You will only get out of your relationship, your project, your social media platform, what you put in. If you don’t work at it (https://bridgetwillard.com/do-the-work-be-a-practitioner/), you will end up with a very poor product. It’s really up to you.

Meet Bridget

Your Voice. Your Power. Your Brand.
Bridget Willard – Social Media and Content Marketing
Business to business relationship marketing.

Further Reading

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