A little quote on friends: “You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can’t forget. Those are your ‘friends.’”
Recently I had a chat with a favorite friend and blogger, Nicholas Cardot of Site Sketch 101. Nick is a pro at building conversations naturally, creating sincere relationships, and always getting a laugh. He’s smart and witty with a big heart. If you need his help he’s only a tweet or email away. Nick is a great friend.
So Nick and I were chatting about different strategies we were using and the term came up (from Nick) for Friendship Marketing. Although I am sure what Nick is writing on it will be similar, I want to express my different perspective on the power of working with friends to market your work.
Friendship marketing is not about going out and creating lots of “followers” or “friends” in the social networking terminology. It’s about creating lasting bonds with people you sincerely care about. The line between friends and tools gets pretty gray online so let me give you an example.
A friend of mine online recently posted a great article on a subject you could tell they were passionate about. After reading the post I made sure to digg, stumble, and tweet all about it. I was excited to see my friends passion for what they were writing and wanted to share it with others. Not thinking about what I would get out of it, in a matter of hours I was getting THOUSANDS of new visitors to my own website from my friend doing the same thing. I had no intention of receiving these kind of benefits from being a friend, but they did come.
I never tried to purposely use or manipulate my friend into promoting my own work. I just shared what I loved.
Recently I was going through my Stumbleupon account, Seth1492, and looking at the profiles of my friends who were following me on Stumbleupon. I felt so grateful to see them be my friend on Stumbleupon because I knew that whatever social media outlet I had a profile on, they were my friend. I decided to leave a review on their Stumbleupon profile about the great stumbles they discovered and then I made sure to go to their recent “discoveries” from their own blogs and make sure to give them a thumbs up. I was glad to have helped a friend.
The act of gratitude for one friend quickly led me to review and “like” many of my friends on Stumbleupon. Pretty soon I was recognizing that I was sending THOUSANDS of visitors to my friends sites. The best part was that it was fairly anonymous. I got the satisfaction of helping a friend and watching them succeed.
Now you might be wondering what this has to do with marketing, especially for your own sites but it does make sense. About a week later I noticed that everything I was discovering was doing much better than previously. Soon I found out that the reason why was because my friends had more authority on Stumbleupon. My “thumbs up” on my friends profiles got them lots of new followers and more authority on Stumbleupon. So everything they liked of mine got more traffic. It was a clear example that when you help your friends succeed you always win.
Having started an online website design and search engine optimization company I was curious to put Friendship Marketing to the test. I started helping others with projects and tasks they had. I volunteered criticism and critique on their work as well as shared and commented on their websites. In some cases I went out of my way to buy their products. As each of my friends succeeded, their influence brought me great authority in my own niche.
Building others first is perhaps the best way of building your own website. Here are a few ways this works:
These are just a few thoughts on a very fun topic. I love the way that social media has expanded my friendships with people I would not be able to meet otherwise. I know that by making sincere friendships and then caring about your friends and helping them where you can you will find your own success. Always be true to your friends and you will find that marketing just got a whole lot easier.
“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”
For more Friendship Marketing awesomeness check out Nick’s take on SiteSketch101: Friendship Marketing.
photo credit: Jeff Bauche._.·´¯)