The thing about making friends is, it can't happen as long as your doors are closed. By doors I mean your communication channels. Friendship happens when you're open to the world and the people around you, and yes, it feels like a risk, especially online with all those hackers and spammers and... marketers. (j/k) But you gotta risk it to win it!
Let's look at some things people do to keep their doors closed:
- they don't answer blog comments or social mentions
- they don't have contact forms or a contact page on their sites
- they don't ask questions or engage the reader in their blogs
- they don't provide enough ways for their people to join their journey
- they don't offer any space for their tribe members to co-mingle
- they don't engage their peeps on all 3 levels of intimacy
The final point is especially important because too many people skip it, and the ones who don't, thrive. I'll give you some examples in a sec.
The 3 Levels of Intimacy
There are 3 levels on which you engage people online. They only get to know what you let them know on these levels, and the 3rd one is often forgotten.
The impression is the surface level. The people who vaguely know your name or brand are the people whom you've engaged only on this level. For example, someone who saw you on social media and visited your site once probably doesn't know much about you or what you do. The professional level is a deeper understanding of who you are in your industry and what you do. It's your persona - the image you show other people.
According to Jung, the persona is a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual. You see, the persona is not really who you are but what you do, and if you never let people see beyond that point, there will never be a true connection between you and your tribe. And if you're telling me that you're 100% yourself in your business, I don't believe you. We all behave differently when we're working than when we're alone. And most of us separate those two lives because we were told it works that way.
Which brings us to the 3rd level - the personal one.
You might be wondering - why would I want to get personal with strangers on the Internet? Good question. I guess it's up to you. You can choose to keep them at arm's length and ask them to buy from a stranger OR be a tad more realistic and share some parts of your life and yourself in order to build trust and make it easy for them to pay up.
Now, this is not just about money! If you want to build a life and a business on the Internet, you'll be spending a lot of time there, which means you really need to have some friends there, too. That's the whole reason I created #fans2friends.
The People Who Do It Right
I only remember 2 emails I've gotten recently.
The first one is the email I got from Mariah Coz of Femtrepreneur, where she shared some of her life difficulties in the past year, and how they taught her to be smarter and stronger. She shared all of her dirty underwear in that email, and as far as I know, she got a LOT of responses and shares. She even put those emails on a page on her website!
The other one was by Hayli De Jong, who shared her own story of isolation and how it pushed her to start the biggest challenge of her life - setting up her blog for business success in 2016. She's slowly dripping the emails & blog posts, and the only reason I follow her journey is because she was honest with me, and now I'm personally invested.
The important thing to note here is that these women don't just flood my inbox with their stories or what they ate for breakfast. They give me VALUE and once in a while, a peek into their lives. And that's enough! When you tell people your story, you give them the chance to resonate, and we all love when that happens. It feels less lonely.
In my own newsletter, I share sneak peeks into my process - successes and failures, challenges, but that's just because I'm an open person and I love building this type of connection with my own tribe. It's your business, your decision. You can share as much or as little was you want. Just as long as it brings some kind of value to your tribe.
What can YOU do?
Time to brainstorm. Get your pen and paper.
What can you do to open your doors a little? What part of your life do you think you can share with your tribe and what will it teach them? What kind of relationship do you want to have with your people and what do you need to do to get there?
Answer honestly. Jot down some ideas. Go CRAZY. :D
Share your ideas in the comments! And if you want to see my ideas, just click on the image below and sign up for the #fans2friends emails, where I share sneak peeks, assignments, and all the crazy ideas that come to me.