Scott Stratten was the keynote speaker at BlogWorld 2010, and getting to meet him was definitely a cool moment for me, since I respect his work. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, and it led me to realize something important that I wanted to share with you:
Scott Stratten doesn’t know who you are.
Furthermore, Darren Rowse doesn’t know who you are. Chris Garrett doesn’t know who you are. Brian Clark doesn’t know who you are.
And I would even go a step farther and say that none of these guys even cares who you are.
- You lurk on their sites or as a Twitter follower.
- You comment sporadically or never really say much in a comment other than “I agree.”
- You RT them, but never actually comment on their tweets.
- You’ve never introduced yourself.
- You’ve never approached them in any way other than with the question, “Can you help me?”
- You’ve never linked them on your blog, or even referenced them.
Do you know every single person online? Of course not. Even if you’ve been online longer than Peanut Butter and Jelly Time, you can’t possibly know everyone in your niche, even. Do you even know all of your Twitter followers? Unless you only have a handful, probably not.
So you sit there and fume that Scott Stratten (or whoever) doesn’t engage. “His entire stance on social media is that you have to engage with people. What a poser – he never once said anything to me, and I’ve been a fan of his for years. Waaaaaaah.”
Ok, I hope you aren’t actually being that melodramatic. Still, I think we all find ourselves thinking these thoughts. We feel ignored by people who, frankly, have no idea they are ignoring us.
If you do actively try to engage with any of these people (or the people you look up to within your niche) and they outright ignore you time and time again, ok. I stand correctly and they’re assholes. But I’ve never once met someone in the social networking/Internet marketing/blogging world who is like that. In fact, I never once met anyone considered to be “kinda a big deal” in their industry who is like that. You don’t get to be a “big name” if you refuse to acknowledge people.
Have you ever just tried being a friend? Have you ever walked up to Scott or Darren or Chris or Brian or (insert your favorite blogger here) and just said hello? I have.* And guess what? They know who I am now. Are they going to be my new bff in real life or even on Twitter? No. That’s just silly. Building a relationship is a slow endeavor. Meeting me once at a conference does not mean that they are now going to recognize every single thing I do or say. “Oh my god, I just tweeted that I’m going to bed. WHY HASN’T SCOTT SAID GOODNIGHT TO ME?!?!”
If you want someone to know who you are, 99 times out of 100 it is not their fault if they don’t. You want the relationship, so initiate it. These people all want to meet their fans…and more importantly, these people all consider you as a peer, not as someone on a lower level. They’re more than happy to get to know you if you actually take the time to get to know them, as a friend, not just as a follower. Say hello. Reply to their tweets. Comment on their blog posts in a way that adds to the conversation. Propose well-written, interesting guest posts for their blog, if they accept them. Write a blog post that names them in the title? I don’t know – do something to show them that you support whatever they’re doing. Y’all are creative people. Be creative.
I would like to make one other point before I leave you with your thoughts for the night, and to be honest, this point deserves a blog post to itself, which I’ll probably end up doing in the near future:
If your mindset is “What can he do for me?”, Scott Stratten may come to know who you are, but he will never care who you are.
And that’s true of anyone. Even me.
*Well, I almost. I never actually found Brian Clark at BlogWorld to say hello…hopefully next year!
Too true Allison! There were some key people at BWE10 that I wanted to make sure I met in person. Scott was one of them, but that didn’t happen. Maybe next year 😉
Thank you, Special Guest!
(Haha, so y’all know, this is actually a comment from Nikki who forgot to sign out of the guest post log-in name.)
Bang on the money.
Start engaging with people you look upto, not just your readers/subscribers.
Turn them into friendships not relationships, friendships are typically stronger 😉
Don’t expect results overnight, as these things have to be nutured and trust earnt.
I agree on your stance that friendships are stronger than relationships. That’s a good way of putting it. Sure, I’d love to do some projects with any of the people I’ve named in this post (and multiple others) at some point in the future…but if I never do, if all I gain is a friendship – that’s ok! I like and want to get to know people because I respect what they do, not because I want them to help me in some way.
Alison. Thank you. Fabulous post. Every person new to Twitter or Blogging should have this post as there manifesto. I hope you get to meet copyblogger next time or sooner. You slammed this one. All the best.
Spot on Allison, I also think we’re much more keen to put a “they’re too far out of reach to notice me anyway” label on them as well.
Hopefully people don’t read this post and think “ah, but it’s okay for her, she met them in person” because you can build up relationships online, it just takes a bit mroe than following someone.
Brilliant blog, I totally agree. When I was at BlogWorld this year, I was overwhelmed by the celebrity status these guys got, and for good reason I might add. I have been involved with studying social media for my PhD for two years now, I have been stuck in a room reading academic material for that length of time. In the past 4 months I have started to engage with wider industry because I feel I am at that stage where I can make a good and meaningful contribution – I didn’t want to run before I could walk!
Since returning from BlogWorld I have started to engage more on twitter, I only had my account a few weeks before I went to BlogWorld and I have more than doubled my following – it’s still very small but I am happy with my success so far. I am not looking for people to help me, I am looking for a sounding board and to see what is happening in the area I am studying. With my PhD industry is so much more colourful than the academic part and I am just happy to be in it. Social media is about building and nurturing a relationship, if these people you mention took one moment to listen to what Scott, Chris or Brian have to say they would realise that building relationships takes time and knowing someone on twitter does not make them your friend. There is so much noise on social media now you have to do more than just the ‘I agree’ for influencers to notice and engage with you. Great post Alison – you have just inspired a journal paper about online engagement and friendship 🙂
They don’t KNOW me??
Hmm. Makes me go hmm.
Hi Alli! I know who you are! What can I do for you today?
That is funny because when I first got online, I started to think that way for a while. But then I thought a little bit more a long the lines of what you are saying here.
People are only going to know who you are, when you aren’t just trying to get to know them for your benefit. Try to get to know someone because you want to have a friendship and nothing else. Then in the future if you need a favor they might be more inclined to help you out.
I am sure that people like Darren Rowse get bloggers and marketers coming up to them all of the time with pitches about opportunities – Like they really care… They make millions.
Brian M Connole
I think a lot of us start out thinking that way! The thing about Darren and others like him is that they *do* really care. They just don’t really care about money. They aren’t going to JV with someone they don’t like or don’t even know just because it might be a good business opportunity. They still want to make money, but they have financial security enough to work only with people they enjoy. If you want a rockstar internet marketer to pay attention to you, be a friend first. 🙂
Alli, just came across your post. You make some wonderful points here. I have “engaged” with a couple of the “icons” you mention. I consistently get replies from at least one of them, but more recently not the other. I loved that you walked up and introduced yourself. If you don’t give it a shot, then they definitely won’t know you.
Way to go. 🙂
Some people will never reply to people they consider to be “beneath” them, but I’ve found that most people are really nice if you’re friendly.