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Building Online Relationships

By January 17, 2013No Comments


I’m wrapping up a huge project and solicited help from a few people.

Everyone of them said yes even though I didn’t promise them anything and they weren’t getting paid. I tried to pay one of them but they told me to keep my money.


Because I had a relationship with them.

And get this, I’ve never met any of them in person.

These are all people I’ve established a relationship with online.

I have chatted with several of them on the phone no more than once and the rest I’ve corresponded with solely through social media and email.

And I don’t talk to these people everyday. I’ll respond to something they post on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and through those short conversations, we’ve developed a bond.

We know each other through our writings in our shared online community.

And because they knew me and were familiar with my work, they agreed to help me.

It’s far better to ask someone you know or at least get an introduction through a mutual friend when you have a request than to call someone cold asking for something. I remember working on a project and was asked to solicit assistance from some pretty high-profile people. They all said no. Why? They didn’t know the person for whom I was calling. There was no established relationship to even consider granting the request.

It’s all about relationships and I’m fortunate to have some very kind, very generous people in my circle.

I’ll always be grateful for that.

You can start building positive and mutually beneficial online relationships by doing the following:

  • Don’t just post and run. Respond, share, and comment on something that made you laugh or made you ponder. I promise, people appreciate feedback.
  • Be your authentic self. This can be hard since we don’t get to see facial expression and body language when we read your post or feedback. But if you’re engaging the community frequently, people will get to know you and know when your wry sense of humor is at work.
  • Share good stuff. Who doesn’t appreciate great content? It doesn’t have to always be educational or business related. When I’m having a rough day, content that makes me laugh till I cry is certainly appreciated and I always thank the person for posting.
  • Please and Thank You. Barney the Dinosaur was right. Please and thank you will get you far. Especially in your online communities. When you get new Twitter followers or someone retweets you or someone thanks you for sharing their content on your online paper; be sure to respond.

You never know when you’ll click or connect with someone. Not all interactions will lead to the kind of relationship where you can shoot an email or Facebook message and ask for a favor. But you do have to engage in order to build one where you can.

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