How to Network Online Like a Superstar….and GROW BIG!

by Marcus Sheridan

Networking onlineSo you want your brand, your blog, and your business to grow, don’t you? Yep, I’m with you. Despite what some of us might claim, we all want growth of some type, otherwise we wouldn’t be working late into the night, pouring out our heart and soul to produce great content, articles, and the like.

So the question is how? How can you not just grow your blog but blow it sky high?? That’s what this article is about folks. The time has come for mega growth and may I just say that I’m so jacked up as I write this that I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for those of you who apply the following principles.

So what’s the key? Well as I’m sure you’ve already guessed by the title of the post, the answer is NETWORKING. That’s right, along with great content, nothing will give your blog more growth than learning to network like a superstar.

And as I’ve been blogging for the past few years in two completely different niches, I finally feel like I ‘get it’. And ‘it’ in this case is what I have dubbed as the 5 essential levels of networking online like a superstar.

The 5 Essential Levels of Networking Online Like a Superstar

Level I  [Comments/RT 101]:

Ahh yes, you’re just getting into the world of blogging and doing everything you can to learn the ins and outs. After producing your first bit of content and realizing that no one is looking at your stuff, and finding Google couldn’t seem to care less about you, you decide that maybe networking is the answer. Knowing this, you read articles about the power of commenting and so you’re off to the races…and you commence the process of finding blogs and leaving your typical, “Great Post! Well done! You Rock” comments.

It is also during this time that you find out about twitter and this odd thing called ‘retweeting’. Now, while you’re reading the articles and leaving your quick comments, you hit that little green button and RT the post. Not being sure what to say or how to say it, you don’t really add anything to the tweet but hey, it’s a start, and you’re beginning to make it happen……and you’ve become a Level I networker.

Level II [Advanced Commenting and RT]:

Now that you’ve been going the standard commenting and RT route for a while, you realize that maybe your comments and RTs aren’t as effective as they could be. You notice people like Hector Avellaneda, Paul Stone, JK, and Tito Phillips leaving incredibly thoughtful comments on various blogs you read. You also pick up on twitter pros like Davina Brewer that not only retweet, but make the tweet so appealing that you’ve just got to look behind the curtain.

After seeing so many great examples, you think to yourself, “Hey, just by adding some depth and creativity to my comments and tweets I bet I can get much better results.” And so there you go. Your comments are now great. Your RTs are appealing and insightful. More connections are made. You’re now a Level II networker.

Level III [Learning to Give Some Love to Others]:

Now that you’ve mastered the art of thoughtful commenting and retweeting, you’re ready for your next challenge. After further study, you start to notice a pattern of the higher level bloggers—They have a tendency to mention others. In fact, with a deeper look, you start to see a definitive pattern in that most of the top bloggers spend as much time talking about others as they do themselves. You read articles from people like Troy Claus where he talks about the people and bloggers that have made a huge impact on him professionally. You notice how people like Gini from Spin Sucks and John Falchetto have this masterful way of mentioning others throughout their writings. In fact, now that you’ve spotted the pattern, you see it more and more and more from all the upper-level bloggers.

So you give it a try. And immediately you notice two things—You feel great for helping others and your relationships with those persons grow stronger and stronger as everybody wins. Life is getting good and you’re now a Level III networker.

Note***: These principles apply to any blog or business, no matter the niche. As an example of Level III, for my swimming pool company I recently wrote an article entitled “4 Fiberglass Pool Manufacturers to Look Out for in 2011”. In this article, I mentioned multiple fiberglass pool manufacturers I was impressed with and said why I thought they had a bright future in the industry. And the result? As you might imagine, the article did quite well with comments but even better it received over 40 high quality inbound links within the first 10 days of being published. Effective? You betcha!

Level IV [A Complete Focus on Promoting Others as much as Yourself]:

Now that you’ve established the pattern of looking to mention the good deeds of others within your blog posts you observe that your network has grown tremendously from the time you started to now. It feels good to be surrounded by great people and not only is your blog growing nicely because of these relationships, but you also find yourself genuinely caring for the success of others. You don’t just want them to succeed, you really want them to succeed.

This is when you decide to write full-blown articles, expecting nothing in return, about people or products you feel are changing the world. And as you do this, your relationships and network reach a new level of strength and synergy. You’ve found your inner circle, and you’re now a Level IV networker.

Note***: The first time I experienced this was when Mark Harai featured me in an entire post for his popular series that solely focuses on awesome bloggers who are making a difference. Blown away with his kindness, I’ve been one of Mark’s biggest supporters ever since…..Are you starting to see just how this works???

Level V [Above and Beyond]:

You’ve arrived. You’re now running  a hugely popular blog with an army of supporters and fans at your side. It feels great and each day brings with it more passion, excitement, and energy. But now that you’ve reached this point, you’re looking for different ways to give back and go above and beyond to show kindness to others while building your networking community.

Note***: Let me give you the perfect example of a Level V behavior, as they’re tougher to describe. A while back I commented to Ingrid at NittyGriddy blog that I was still very new with twitter and working hard to understand the entire culture and how to make the medium work effectively for me. Knowing this, Ingrid emailed me and asked me for my shipping address. I happily gave it to her and a few days later I got a package in the mail from Amazon, with a book inside called, ‘The Tao of Twitter’, written by the social media superstar Mark Schaefer. As you might imagine, when I received this book I was floored by Ingrid’s above and beyond thoughtfulness. This, my friends, is a Level V networking at its finest.

Your Turn:

OK, time for me to stop writing and start listening to your thoughts. First of all, do you agree or disagree with my list above? Where do you currently find yourself and what are you doing to ‘move to the next level’? Also, what actions could we add to the list to make it even better? C’mon guys, I’m expecting some killer conversation to now take place with this subject so start hitting the keys and jump right in! :-)

Oh, and one last thing….Why haven’t you friended me on Facebook yet?? Geez, I don’t bite ;-)

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