Social Networking vs. Social Acquainting

I love the Internet and social media.  No, really, I do.

*cue 3rd grade insult*

“If you love them so much, why don’t you marry them?”  Maybe I will little kid, leave me alone!  Okay, I’m getting carried away.  To the point of this post…

Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or the new Google+, social networks continue motivating us to connect with each other.  So much emphasis is placed on how many fans and followers you have, how many connections you have, and so on.

The social platforms we use encourage keeping scores and competing with each other on numbers, and we absolutely love that.  I’m as guilty of getting caught up in the numbers as anyone.  But if you’re not seeing great results with social media marketing, try this: Take a step back and realize the harsh reality that maybe, just maybe, no one cares.

Why doesn’t anyone care?  Well, it could be that you dress funny, but there’s probably a better reason…

No one cares about your social media.Think about how much time you spend on social networks without doing any social networking.  Think about how many fan pages you’ve liked.  Think about how many people you’ve followed or sent a LinkedIn connection invite, and then done essentially nothing to further those relationships.

I don’t mean leaving a vague comment on someone’s Facebook page, replying nothing of value to a new follower, or sending an annoying self-promotion introduction in a LinkedIn message.  People have convinced themselves this kind of behavior is social networking, but it’s really just social “acquainting.”

  • There’s no effort put into building a relationship.
  • There’s little effort put into building a following of people yearning to be led.

It’s like going to a networking event, handing your card to random people, ending the conversation before it starts, then expecting them to say, “How high?” when you tell them to jump.  You cannot succeed with this behavior or mentality.  Not in social media, not in business, not in life.

In the paraphrased words of Seth Godin

If you want to make significant changes in this world, in your business, or in your industry, you must have a tribe.  If you want change to occur, you must reach out and form real relationships, not acquaintances.

 

Apply this to social media marketing and I guarantee you will see huge improvements in every key performance indicator you monitor.

I recommend you check out the TED speech below where Godin explains tribes and why they’re crucial to success.  I know it’s almost 20 minutes long, but Godin is “the man” and the takeaway from this video will open your mind in more ways than one.

As a marketer, if you can build a sizable tribe, you’re on your way to the top.  After all, it’s no accident that so much emphasis is placed on brand loyalty and customer retention.

Join today and I'll send you a FREE guide that tells you exactly...
  • My_Social_Game_Plan_PopUpSizeWhich tools I use to manage my social media presence and specifically how I use those tools.
  • How I automate my tweets, giving me more free time to engage with followers.
  • My philosophy with relation to publishing new blog content and why I focus on quality over quantity.
  • How and where I share my newly published blog posts to maximize traffic.
  • What social media and digital marketing blogs I learn from (and you should learn from too).
About Jonathan Payne

Jonathan Payne (@SocialGamePlan) is the founder of My Social Game Plan, as well as an Interactive Marketing Specialist at Strategexe Consulting Group in Louisville, KY. Learn more about Jonathan and My Social Game Plan.

  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    We have to build a tribe of people who know, like and trust us in order to succeed in the soc. networking world

    • http://mysocialgameplan.com Jonathan

      That word trust in there is a huge, huge driving force of success. Can’t emphasize it enough!

  • Joyce Martin

    Amen! Love the way you wrote this! Its exactly what I have been thinking. Glad someone said it outloud! My networking list has grown so slow that I have had the chance to get to know most of the people on the list (with the exception of twitter…who are those people?). Thanks for the article Jonathan.

    • http://mysocialgameplan.com Jonathan

      Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed! If you look at the huge names of Internet marketing — Seth Godin obviously, Lewis Howes, Darren Rowse, and so on — you can see they have a very close-knit community surrounding them. Their “tribes” keep them going even through the difficult times.

  • Shelley

    So true, a tribe is very important to have as a base of peeps who get where you are coming from and want to know what is going on with you, however i unfortunately have many interests and therefor many tribes… uhhhh

    • http://mysocialgameplan.com Jonathan

      I have a lot of interests as well and a lot of different directions I’d like to go with the business. I think it’s a matter of sitting down, really concentrating, and finding out which precise goals you desperately want to achieve. Which interests can you truly not live without? That’s currently where I am in the process and there’s a constant struggle to stay on the path toward those most desired goals.

  • Lori

    Great video! I love Seth Godin!

  • http://www.facebook.com/denny.hagel Denny Hagel

    Brilliant article and message! Makes me think about that old saying “Quality not Quantity”! Thanks for bringing this to our awareness!

    • http://mysocialgameplan.com Jonathan

      Thank you for the comment and kind words. That old phrase never seems to leave us, and I think it’s making a huge comeback with the continuously growing presence of social media.

  • Anita Fiander

    Informative article and I really like the slant on Networking vs Acquaintancing! Seth is a genius!

    • http://mysocialgameplan.com Jonathan

      Seth always seems to say the greatest things with such brevity…the perfect example of a marketer in my opinion.

  • Helena

    Great post! I really like the comparison between social networking and social acquaintances. It makes a lot of sense, and certainly motivates me to look at how I interact both with my followers and with those I follow. Thanks!

  • Kim

    All relationships have to be built. They don’t just happen. Good tips!

  • http://twitter.com/cookthisgetlaid Mona H.

    I LOVE Seth Godin. He’s really onto something, and my networking has improved over the years. But it really does take “something” to keep those relationships together.

  • http://twitter.com/CarolGiambri Carol Giambri

    Love this article and believe in working together as a tribe versus just “me.” There is power in numbers.

  • Lisa Birnesser

    Love this article, Jonathan!Social networking is all about connecting growing and nurturing a family. Seth Godin, BTW is a genious. Love his work. Thanks for this post.

  • Jen

    Great, great post! And I love how you mention that it’s more than just being an “acquaintance.” Its’ deeper than that! I look forward to watching the video. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • http://www.JenniferHerndon.com Jennifer

    You are so right here Jonathan, there is such an emphasis on numbers with the assumption that the bigger your numbers, the more interaction you’re having. Of course we’ve all sign the person with 0 tweets and thousands of followers ~ howevver that works?? I agree with you and Seth Godin, it’s about building a tribe. The art of doing that, however, is challenging – especially with all the noise on social media these days.

    • http://mysocialgameplan.com Jonathan

      It’s definitely a challenge and I think that challenge will grow with the coming of even more social media platforms. It’s incredibly difficult to be an authority figure on every platform, so we’ll have to pick and choose our battles so to speak.