I pulled the 10 Lords A’Leapin card.
So let’s talk about leaping for a moment, shall we? Social leaping.
We’re all leapin’ social climbers. Every last one of us. We’re using tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with influential people so that we can get on their radar and use them to achieve our goals. And that’s fine.
The first step is admitting we’re doing it. The second step is learning how to do it well.
Never Ask For Favors
As a rule, people who are influential are also overloaded. They’re overloaded overlords. They have an audience and people poking at them all day, every day via email, social networks, phone calls, and maybe even house drive-bys. Don’t dare add to it. Instead, interact with them. Yes, actually say hello. Join in conversations they’re having and make them see you. Doing this accomplishes two things. First, it gets you on their radar in a positive way. Second, it allows you to learn from them and benefit from their knowledge. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from someone simply by floating around their circle. You won’t get either of these if you start out your relationship by asking them for a favor, a ReTweet or a job interview. I guarantee it.
Be a Connector
Want to stand out? Be the guy constantly giving and helping others. Have you met DJ Waldow? DJ Waldo is one of my favorite people on the Internet because he’s always there to connect people and share his resources. He tries to do right by them and lighten their load. He’s helpful. And even weird, he’s nice. That’s gotten him noticed. Its part of the reason why when Rhea was looking for someone good with email marketing, I could confidently say DJ was “our guy”.
I’ve only met DJ once in person but through our interactions via social media I know him to be someone who knows his stuff when it comes to email marketing and social media, and someone who you always want on your team. You can take that to the bank.
Don’t Belittle Yourself
Dude. Seriously. I get that you think [Insert A List Name] is the shit and that you wish you had the same social capital. But when you’re talking to them, whether in real life or online, keep that to yourself. Learn how to hold your own in social conversations instead of belittling your accomplishments to further elevate the other person. You are not worthless because you don’t have 10,000 Twitter followers or because Google hasn’t purchased your startup yet. When you enter the conversation with that belief, you castrate your own efforts by putting all the focus on the other party while you slink behind a rock. That’s not impressive. What is impressive is a person who can hold their own in a conversation. Someone who is humble, but knows what they’re good at, what they bring, and how they can help the people they meet. These are the people we respect and want to be around. Not the self-deprecating fool too busy kicking rocks and diminishing their achievements to notice an opportunity. And yes, ladies, we do this more than the men. Stop it.
Have Visible Projects
What do you do when someone you don’t know reaches out to you? You stalk them. You see what Google says about them, what their last Twitter update said, whether or not they have a public Facebook page. Having visible work gives people something to find and it helps them to associate you with something. It also gives you something to point people to so they can get to know you better. Instead of giving them your bio or life story, now you can point them to your Web site. Or your blog. Or your LinkedIn profile where you rock the house on question answering. Through your work, they’ll get to see you. They’ll associate you with it.
There’s no shame in using social tools to leap on over the influential overlords. The only shame is in not doing it well.
[This post is part of our 12 Days of SEO series where we'll be publishing a different nugget of knowledge related to the sounds of the season. We'll be updating the 12 Days of SEO page as new posts are published.]