The Art of Building Relationships on ActiveRain
~ More Thoughts ~
When I joined AR in 2006 I had no clue what it was all about. Nor do I recall any expectations of what might result from participating in this new online community and the relatively new phenomenon of blogging. Social media was pretty new and evolving rapidly. Who would have thought strong friendships could develop with those you meet online…OK, there IS online dating!
It became obvious very quickly relationships, and powerful ones, were forged on AR. That’s true today, perhaps even more so. I suspect many reading this will agree.
You likely have your own particular thoughts about the relationships you’ve cultivated and their value in your personal and business life.
I wrote about this topic a number of years ago, and added some new thoughts to the mix.Beware, it's long......
Presumably those who are participating and engaging ARE interested in developing personal and business relationships, although there might be other reasons too. So how can AR relationships be created, and flourish?
Comment on AR Members’ Posts
Commenting on others’ posts is a big part of being in the blogging community and key to social interaction most enjoy. It’s a way to share your opinion, compliment the writer, raise a question, or offer an alternative viewpoint which we all have at now and then.
The author, and others, may remember you...hopefully for the right reasons. They may be inspired to follow you, and read and comment on your posts, too. Those who misbehave through flaming, criticizing, and negativity may have a tough time building positive relationships. Maybe that’s OK with them.
When someone comments on your post it’s a nice gesture to reciprocate – you can respond to the comment directly, plus take an extra step and comment in a meaningful way on one of their posts. Don’t just say “great blog,” make a copy and paste type of comment, or say something that clearly shows you did not read the post.
It can be tough to keep up with comments, especially if you’ve written a popular post, and to reply to each one – sometimes business and personal life limit your online time, and it’s ok to be selective. It’s not exactly a conversation but back and forth comments can foster a relationship with someone you like and whose writing you admire, and encourage further dialogue.
Follow Others’ Blogs
If you are writing posts, and commenting, over time other AR members will follow you, and you should do the same with people who interest you. It’s a great way to get to know someone better – their writing style, their values and passions, their market and business, and even personally. Plus you will likely learn a few things.
That can lead to a stronger, more personal relationship which may blossom into true friendship – there’s tremendous value in that. And down the road who knows…possibly a referral could happen, or you can help each other in various other ways, in business or personally. Or you can just be friends!
Reblog Posts You Like
AR gives us the opportunity to reblog (share) posts we feel others would enjoy. What a nice compliment to the writer! Be sure, when reblogging, to say something about the post you are sharing and why you felt it was important to do so. The writer will hopefully see you reblogged their post and may thank you, assuming the notifications are working.
Thank Others for Following You
Another strategy is to reach out and thank those who follow you, and follow them, too, if it makes sense to do so (not everyone who follows you may deserve a follow). It’s a positive way to let someone know you appreciate they are following you. Plus you can add some personal information in your thank you - that could be an email from AR (when it works), or even a call.
Email People You’d Like to Get to Know
We all get lots of email, but emailing those you are getting to know and like directly from AR takes the relationship beyond day to day commenting.
There’s a caveat…since the emailing on AR has been a problem, I’m a bit reticent to recommend this since your email might not get where it’s intended – if they don’t respond it’s probably due to the email not being received, not lack of interest.
You can look up their website, find their business email, and then reach out. Why? Perhaps you have a question for them, are interested in their market, want to send a special compliment or thank you for a post, or simply want to get to know them better.
If you see a typo in a post you could bring that to someone’s attention, but not publicly – they will probably appreciate you cared enough to point it out, politely and discretely!
Send a Card or Thank You Note
Personal notes mean a lot, especially these days with everyone online, emailing and texting. This could be another way to strengthen a relationship. Write a simple thank you note, or include something you want to share – a photo, a recipe. My bet is anyone receiving a personal thank you note will remember it, and YOU!
Pick up the Phone and Call
Margaret Rome in Baltimore is a master at this and has a community-wide reputation for reaching out to others, new and experienced, regularly over the years.
A phone call may be the next best thing to being there in person, with an opportunity to really get to know the other person through conversation. There are all kinds of reasons to dial that phone.
Attend an AR Meet-up
The pandemic impacted personal meetings, but meet-ups are a wonderful way to get to know those we have met online, and those we do not yet know. This face-to-face interaction takes an online relationship to a whole different level – having attended dozens of these I know it’s true. I’ve met around 200 Rainers in person over the years.
Why not plan a meetup in your area? Or meet up with someone, or perhaps several people, when traveling – vacation, a business trip, at a conference. Lots of Rainers have done this and you probably have enjoyed their stories and photos. I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted attending a meet-up or hooking up with someone while traveling - it’s always welcomed!!
Attend the Weekly ZOOM Sessions
Rainers gather Tuesdays for a ZOOM meeting, with time to socialize, plus a formal speaker. It’s a small group, usually 25 – 30 bloggers from around the country, and a great way to get acquainted with people you already might know, and those you don’t. It’s not the same as an in-person meet-up but think about the possibilities, and advantages. If you are new to Zoom this is a great place to be among friends as you learn.
Sessions last about 1 hour, and are at 11:00 PST, 12:00 MST, 1:00 CST, and 2:00 EST. You can find the update on the upcoming topic and the link to the Zoom session in the weekly update post from George Souto (link is to his most recent post).
Participate in the Q and A
The Q and A section is another place to build your relationships with Rainers who participate regularly, by responding to questions, or asking questions. Discussions can get lively, and it’s a place to offer assistance on many topics, get help when needed, and learn a few things. Ignore the spammers!
Welcome New Members
You might enjoy meeting new members who are starting to write. Everyone likes to feel welcome, and you were new once, too…right?! You can find new members on the membership roster (be wary - you will also find spammer types setting up profiles you don’t want to follow - they can be reported to AR). You’ll also see new members writing and commenting as they start engaging that you can interact with.
Of course you can also step outside of AR itself to continue to grow, and enjoy, your relationships on a more personal level, just as you would with anyone you have met offline.
Any other thoughts?!