How Social Media Builds Real Life Relationships

7 Tips to Build Your Social Media Circles

Don’t believe 140 character messages, conveyed via social media platforms, can build the basis for real life relationships? Then spend some time in the #UsGuys Twitter stream. You’ll be surprised to discover that #UsGuys isn’t a weak collection of self-promoters organized around a hashtag. It’s an expansive, accepting social media tribe where no special screening or requirements are needed to become a member. All you have to do is jump into the Twitter chat conversation and participate. As a trusting, supportive group, #UsGuys extends beyond Twitter’s 140 characters into real life meetings where members are like old friends.

Marketers should take a page from #UsGuys’ approach to building real time relationships. For example, last week, over twenty-five #UsGuys members got together in New York City for real life cocktails. Members came from as far away as New Hampshire, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut to join the hug-filled photo-op gathering. The bottom line was that this group had implicit trust and acceptance built up over months of 140 character exchanges.  For marketers the social media lesson is clear: Pay attention and participate on social media platforms as human beings to build real life relationships that extend beyond the next sale.

7 Ways social media build real life relationships

Here are seven characteristics of social media with recommendations to help you create engagement that translates to real life relationships.

  1. Is a real time virtual water cooler. Social media provides the platforms for real life discussion in real time. Social media facilitates the small talk, gossip and current events that create the fabric of our day-to-day interactions whether we get together to have coffee, or complain about families and bosses, or kick back after work. (Here’s how to be the life of the social media party.)
  2. Is a great equalizer. While data shows that social media tends to be used by younger demographics, anyone can participate and it doesn’t matter what your age, sex, experience or background is.
  3. Requires being real, not someone’s shill. On social media platforms, participants want to engage with real people, not an egotist or someone who’s just there to mouth their company line. To this end, you need to be yourself, not a mouthpiece for someone else.
  4. Has a pay-it-forward mentality. When it comes to social media, you have to get over yourself. It’s about the greater community not your specific needs.
  5. Answers questions. Not sure how to do something? Pose a question to your social media followers and you’re likely to get more information back than you anticipated. It’s not just limited to how to use the latest social media platform either
  6. Offers a network. Jump into a group and start contributing and suddenly, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a growing network. You need to think beyond your personal needs and realize that you gain by helping others.
  7. Provides opportunities for live events. Live events enable you to meet people that you’ve been exchanging 140 character messages with for months. These real life connections are as important as the online ones because you become more than your avatar. Participants discover humans with a wider variety of interests such as traveling to Iceland, taking care of parents, and quirky hobbies. Real life adds flesh to virtual voices.

Social media platforms provide a powerful vehicle for developing engagement that becomes real life relationships. To this end, be yourself and play by social media rules and don’t forget to spend time engaging in real life!

Is there any thing else that you’d add to this list?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

A Big Tip of my Hat to all of my #UsGuys friends. You’ve all added to the social media  experience, both online and offline.

If you’re interested in further reading, here are some related articles.

Photo credit: LoriConte via Flickr

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4 Responses to How Social Media Builds Real Life Relationships

  1. Keri says:


    Great post! Very real and with a KISS-method approach.

    I watch so many people hop onto social networks and begin broadcasting their information, totally alienating their potential clients and colleagues.

    I also see many afraid to ask questions – ask if not knowing weakens them. When the actual fact is by reaching out, you attract people toward you. Bringing the element of “social” into social media.

    It’s certainly a 2-way deal!

    The tribe approach is one that has worked for me, and I’ve met and grown relationships that I would not trade!!

    Terrific to find your site through Debbie Laskey, MBA. I’ll look forward to following your posts.

    Thank you,


  2. joseph ruiz says:

    Heidi, these real life experiences have added exponentially to my Social Media experience. The benefits of friendship, connection, collaboration and relaxing fun are just a few of the many in real life benefits.

    Thanks for the tips.

    • Heidi Cohen says:

      Joseph–I agree. The people that I’ve met via social media are wonderfully help and add both professionally and personally. Happy marketing, Heidi Cohen