If it hasn’t already happened, you may find that one of three things occurs among your friends as you start and grow your blog or creative business:
- Your close friends are genuinely excited for you, promise to support you as much as they can, but somewhere along the way they lose steam + stop understanding what you’re talking about . . . after all, they just don’t have passions similar to yours.
- Your close friends are not social media savvy, SEO aware, or people who understand blogs + business. Thus they have no idea how much blog comments, retweets, and repins mean to you. They literally just don’t understand how to support you.
- And worst of all: Your close friends may actually even become jealous or negative about your growing blog or your business passions. Boo friends, boooooo.
It’s time for you to find some BBFs, my friend. Either best blog friends or best business friends, whichever you need. People who understand how significant spikes in blog traffic are, how exciting repins are, and how meaningful things like guest posts and blog comments are.
Your BBFs are going to be people like you, who “get” you, even if they’re not in the exact same niche or line of work. They are crucial to your success because if you don’t have others to celebrate with, to bounce ideas off of, to plan, scheme + dream with, then your creative growth might get a bit stunted. No one likes that. I know you. You’re all about doing things to your full potential, right? Let me share some tips on finding your BBF(s).
1. Be present.
- Make yourself available in the popular social media platforms for your industry/niche. If you’re a blogger or creative business owner, you’ll likely at least want to be active on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.
- Hop on the blogs of other people in your space and start interacting.
- Look into any online forums or groups where people like you might hang out.
- When people leave comments on your blog, respond! Say genuine things and go check out the blog that is probably linked to their name. Check it out before you respond so you can leave something personal in your reply.
- Tip: Use the same profile name and picture across as many platforms as you can. People might need multiple interactions to really begin to recognize you, and if you have a different name + drastically different picture each time, they’ll likely assume you’re a different person.
2. Be real.
- Use your personality from Day 1. True relationships, meaningful relationships, are built when two people are genuine about who they are and what they want. Try being you. With all your quirks, random interests, ridiculous sayings, and nerdy knowledge.
- Try to take examples from others in terms of certain lingo or etiquette, but make sure everything is said in your voice.
3. Be doing your homework.
Love my grammar, don’t you?
- Pay close attention to other people’s blogs and to their social media feeds. Find people who seem to have similar interests to yours, similar goals with their blog/business, and similar habits. You should be looking for people who seem like they’d be your friend in “real life.”
- Search specific hashtags on Twitter/Pinterest/Google+ that people in your industry use. Look through blog directories. Pay attention to the other people commenting on your favorite blogs. You will find cool people in one of these places. I promise. If not, you can send me an angry letter (here) and I’ll go find some people for you.
4. Be bold.
After a while of establishing your online presence (through blogging and being present + real), it’s time to actually ask for something or say something specific + personal to people.
- Start small: Send one of your new Interweb friends a link to an article (not one you wrote) that you think might be helpful or interesting to them.
- Find a blogger in a similar niche and ask her/him about collaborating on something. I just made a new blog buddy by linking up with Maru (of Fashiony Fab) to create a new video project we’ll tell you about really soon.
- Take a risk and ask if someone would like to guest post on your site.
- Purchase a small amount of ad space on another blogger’s site.
- Join bloggers you like in Twitter chats, webinars, or other virtual meetups you become aware of.
- Go crazy and attend a small/large blogger retreat or conference where people with similar interests are gathered.
- Reach out and just email someone about how much you admire their work/blog. If they seem open and invite questions/comment by email, actually take them up on the offer.
- Tip: Be respectful when contacting other business owners or bloggers directly. Acknowledge that their time is valuable, and if you’re asking for a guest post or something similar, realize that person could be doing you a huge favor, so ask nicely and thank people for their time.
5. Be open.
Sometimes your BBFs will sneak up on you. They could already be a real life friend or acquaintance who needs a little encouragement to go into business or blogging themselves. Or, your BBFs could be people you know that have blogs you just didn’t know about.
- Survey your current list of contacts (or Facebook friends) and see if any of them are in business.
- Ask your close friends if they know anyone just starting out or running a blog/business who’d be willing to meet up and exchange ideas.
6. Be havin’ thick skin.
Again with the grammar.
- If you don’t hear back from someone, or more commonly: you do hear back from someone but the idea/relationship fizzles, don’t take it personally because most of the times it is not personal. People get busy, people miss tweets/emails, people go through tough times. If you spend your time worrying about someone who didn’t respond, it means you’re not spending that time reaching out to new people who are a better fit for you.
- Laugh it off if you have a misunderstanding, typo, or do something otherwise embarrassing. Most people will understand and stressing about it won’t help your creativity.
7. Be ready, but then again, don’t wait until you’re ready.
- If you propose a minor or major collaboration, make sure you’re ready to follow through with your part. Don’t be the person who is all talk. Most people can forgive someone getting busy every now and again, but you don’t want to make a habit of not doing what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it. For the most part, you don’t like it in other people, and they probably won’t love it in you.
- But then again, don’t wait until your blog is perfect and you have 1,000,003 adoring followers, and you have the most perfect headshots in the world, and you have 30,000 tweets . . . and you have everything put perfectly together. People like being part of the process. If you’re genuine and real about where you’re at, people will still love you. I know I do.
Your new BBFs will naturally:
- Start supporting you + helping your SEO through shares, comments, etc.
- Give you great new ideas and be amazing sounding boards.
- Help you feel as useful and important as you are.
- Be amazing partners for collaborations and future opportunities.
- Become your true friends.
- Keep you sane and focused and inspired when business gets tough.
- Be the first in line to buy or promote your products and content they believe in.
Add your thoughts: How do you make friends online? Who would you like to become BBFs with? What would you add to my list? I’d like some new ideas myself . . . on the hunt for new BBFs!
Photo of feet: © deviantART – Fotolia.com