Are Your Relationships Helping You Reach Your Goals?

originally posted on Concept Hub

One of the things that I feel makes the SoCon events great is that they have always attracted a very diverse group; this year more so than ever. We had people from large organizations like UPS and people from Mainstream Media such as the AJC and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, people who use social media for self expression and people who are trying to figure out how to use social media to promote their small businesses as well as entrepreneurs who are trying to find the problems that can benefit from their technical solutions.

It is such a mashup of wonderful ideas and experiences. But there is one common theme to it all which is “how can social media help us reach our goals.” The question is more often phrased as;

  • “How do I make money with social media?”
  • “How do I find a job through social media?”
  • “How do I reach more people through social media?” and so on.

The answer is often the same – which is social media is not about making money, getting a job, reaching more people, social media is about relationships.

So I want to re-phrase the question. “Are Your Relationships Helping You Reach Your Goals?”

It is as simple as that. Do you have enough relationships? Do you have the right relationships? Are you nurturing your relationships? and so forth.

Here are five simple steps to build relationships that will help you reach your goals.

1. Nurture your relationships
 by listening, interacting and providing information that will help your network of friends, peers, and clients to reach their goals? People will not follow you if you are only talking about what you need or what your goals are. Relationships have always been a give and take. Even the basic “sales call” works best when it is done with the other person’s interest in mind first.

2. Know Thyself. Our interactions and interests are now out there in the open for all to see. Social Media has no established rules. You must establish your own rules based on your values, personal space, and goals. You WILL polarize people more than ever. However, you will also begin to attract people who are more aligned with you and your goals. Social Media has been described as the Wild West of the Internet. Feelings can and do get hurt. Reputations can be dragged through the mud. And everyone has an opinion that they will openly share. To avoid being distracted by such chaos it is very important that an individual, brand, or organization truly knows what they stand for and how to align with those who will stand beside them.

3. Give more, receive more, expect little.
 No one responds well in a relationship that is all about living up to the expectations of others. Relationships work best when it is an unconditional give and take. Every good book written about networking, netweaving, networthing….is about unconditional giving. However social networking is also about receiving. There is lots of information that can be tapped into, as mentioned above, everyone has an opinion to share. If you listen, allow yourself to open up and receptive to the ebbs and flows of your network you will uncover opportunities that will help you reach your goals.

4. Manage your time wisely. Yes, listening takes time – there is a lot to pay attention to. However, let’s think about our day. In the morning we might read the news, what if we took that time to find out what our network is saying about the news – sort of like hanging out at the water cooler. During the day we focus on our work, if we are in sales we can use our social networking time to look for warm sales leads, to learn more about our prospects and clients and competitors. If we are developers we can leverage our online communities to find answers to bugs we might run into. Basically, we need to focus our social networking time for the task that we are undertaking at the time. We can use our breaks during the day and in the evening to socialize with friends and family. When managed appropriately Social Media should help you be more productive in your day.

5. Remember it’s not about the tools.
 So many people are looking to Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn to be the “magic tool” to help them reach their goals.  I blame Microsoft for this mindset. Their tools “solved” every challenge that an organization faced and so we now think of technology tools as being a “solution” to a need. LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter…and so on, brings people together – people that choose to come together on that specific platform. Your entire network is not on Facebook or LinkedIn – they are on both or maybe neither. They were on MySpace then Facebook, now they are on Twitter but now Facebook opened their status updates so it is predicted that people will move from Twitter back to Facebook and so on and so on. Be where you need to be but focus on building the right relationships first, regardless of where those relationships are being built or nurtured.