How to transform Social Media Acquaintances into True Friends

Here’s our article in Christian Musician Magazine- June 2013 issue.

FRIENDS. This word has not held the same connotation since social online networking has skyrocketed in recent years. The word friends and the word acquaintances have developed some very gray lines around them. Social networking in itself has been around for centuries. In the Roman days, it was the good ole, let’s get together, raise a goblet or two and enjoy the view of pretty ladies dancing. In the Victorian era, women left their calling cards in the hopes that they would be invited to tea or a social event. Politicians have been kissing babies for years while ‘social networking’. An acquaintance was an acquaintance and a friend was someone you socialized with a lot.

When we sit down with a new artist and begin to discuss the amount of friends they have, especially when it relates to social networking, the numbers they boast can hit the thousands mark. When we dig deeper, though, the actual number of true ‘friends’ is much smaller than originally thought. It’s not rocket science. If they have 10,000 friends and have only sold 500 downloads of their music, it’s not hard to see that their numbers can be a bit misconstrued. Many of them can be ‘one-timer’s’. Come on, you know you’ve done it. Likes have become as precious as gold. You know how it works. They saw, they asked for request to be approved and they moved on and forgot that you even were out there. Promotion and marketing requires it. So we started to think about this. How can we develop relationships that stick? Ones that you can truly call, after time, friends.

We started to research this phenomenon and the places where we can meet ‘strangers’ online and here is what we found. Whether your friends are on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, GodTube, Vimeo, MySpace, for time sake, more listed here, you can develop a relationship that can enter into the friend zone.

You know we are all about The Plan. Here is a list of where our research has brought us for you to begin making long-lasting friends online.

First and foremost, define how you being ‘their’ friend can benefit them. Yes, you heard right. Without this in place first, then all you would be doing is trying to obtain friends to get something from them. Frame the conversation around what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. Connect with them before you need a favor or have a need.

Social media can be one of the best places for you to have the opportunity to speak with people who have more experience and expertise in your field. Ask them questions about their journey. What made them successful in what they do and how did they get there? Don’t be all ‘one-sided’, though. Give to give. Once they start opening up to you, share what successes you have experienced also. Don’t be a ‘debbie downer’ or ‘de-value’ what you have done when comparing it to what they have done. Speak with confidence. I once had a friend that said, “People are not garbage cans with hairy lids”, so keep it positive. Make this an enjoyable conversation time between both of you while you are developing your friendship.

Connect them with individuals who have been a help to you. Share the love. Whether it is a great merchandise company that you have used or a discount that has benefitted you, or even a blog with tons of information in it that has helped you write that new killer song, tell them about it. The blog, The Daily Opp would be a great one to pass on. It is filled to the brim with resources, ideas, etc. for them to view. Build, connect and care. It is amazing what you will see begin to happen once they know you truly care.

Listen. Do you know the same letters in the word Listen are also in the word Silent? This only occurs in the English language. Could that be because we have so much noise around us here in the western world and that we just like to hear ourselves talk? Just take a gander at all the FACEBOOK comments out there. A new trinity has surfaced over the years entitled Me, Myself and I. So take a moment and listen to your new friend. Hear what they have to say and let them know you are listening.

Mentorship and mentee-ing. When we speak to our clients, we teach them about three individuals in their life that are vital and that they need to keep constant. One is that Paul kind of person. A man/woman of wisdom that you would sit down at their feet with a sharpened pencil and a clean sheet of paper and write down everything they teach. The next individual is like the Timothy of the bible. A hungry mentee that wants to learn. These are individuals that you can feed into, take under your wing and pour out what you have learned. Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit for they shall inherit the kingdom of Heaven.” That used to confuse me so much, until I realized that being poor in Spirit only happened when you had poured out what you had learned into someone else. Then you are fresh and clean and ready to get more. The last individual is a Barnabas-like friend. That is someone that is true and honest and will hold all of your secrets and never share them with anyone else. It is also someone that will love you with tough love. Look for friends online that fit these categories. When I am asked to mentor someone, I usually ask for the other signup sheet at the same time. Someone to mentor me at the same time.

Leaders and teachers. God has given each of us some pretty strong gifts. We call these your inner vision. Leaders and teachers can spend lots of time giving, but it has been documented that “A teacher who teaches teachers to teach, also needs teachers to teach them, too.” If you are a teacher, search out other teachers. Share information, challenge each other.

Find someone to laugh with. The phrase, “Take time to smell the roses.” was written in the hope that people would realize that they needed to put daily tasks to the side and just enjoy God’s beauty and world. Our time here on Hotel Earth does not have to be filled to the brim with stuff to do. We need to have someone to stop, drop and laugh alongside. That online friend that you make can be just that someone with whom you can share a giggle or two.

Friends; they are important. Songs are written about them. Reality shows keep us wondering where they are going and what they are going to do next, together, in their lives. Friends cheer each other on. They are an important part of the patchwork of our lives. Why not make one online? Write a song or two. Co-write on SKYPE. Share a funny story. Take a picture of something that you saw today and show and tell with them. Pray with them and for them. Make relationships that are worth the time on the dial. Remember, a friend is someone who you think your life would be different if they didn’t exist. Here’s to true friends all over your social networks!

Creatively His,

Keith and Sue Mohr
The Mohr Creative Group

Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr of “The Mohr Creative Group” have over 30 years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded Indieheaven.com in 1997, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded The Inner Vizion in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide. Also check out The Indie Mechanics for more helpful info!