7 Kinds of Relationship to Social Media

by Rajesh Setty on August 24, 2009

Everyone does not view social media with the same lens. Different people have different stands about social media. For some people it’s a nuisance and for others it’s their life.

I have grouped the kinds of relationships people have to social media in seven categories. You may be able to identify yourself in one of them or somewhere in between. You will notice that the investment you make and the returns you get are directly influenced by the approach you take.

As you can see, only in the last two kinds of relationships can you expect reasonable ROI from social media.

So, here are the seven kinds of relationship in detail:

7kinds-socialmedia

1. Despise

You hate social media and social networking. You might even think it’s a nuisance. You think it’s artificial and you just keep thinking about the old days when people could really meet and talk. This new kind of building relationships seems so fake to you. Some of you may think that this is a fad that’s going to go away sooner than later. So why bother?

None of you in belonging to this category have any plans for participating in the social media. Some of you may question the intelligence of others who are participating in social media. Obviously, you can’t expect to see any returns from social media with this attitude.

2. Distant

You don’t hate social media but you don’t love it either. You are standing at a distance and watching all the action. You are sometimes amused, sometimes surprised and sometimes shocked with what’s happening there. When you read a success story you are encouraged to begin your journey but you stop yourself saying that you may not be ready to make that BIG commitment of time, energy and mindshare into this without being fully clear about the return on that investment.

Some of you in this category may be afraid that you might abandon the ship prematurely if you are not fully equipped before you start. Whatever be the reason to keep the distance, you can’t expect any returns from social media with this stand.

3. Dream

You are more open to participating in social media but the right time has not come in yet. You know what you will do when you finally start engaging in social media. In your mind, you have a grand plan but the time to execute has not come yet. Even here, your ROI from social media is not much for you as the marketplace rarely places a premium on people’s dreams. Dreams are important but action is even more important.

4. Deal

You are someone that had no choice but to jump into social media. Someone posted about you or your company on a blog. Someone tweeted about you or your company on Twitter. You are now forced to respond, especially if you feel the article or tweet was not backed with facts. You jump into the social media to set the record straight. This is a reactive approach rather than a proactive approach. However, you can still benefit from dealing with the situation on social media. People appreciate that there is human touch from the company. You might decide to engage proactively from now on or you might again go back to the sidelines and come back whenever there is a need.

5.  Dabble

You are definitely on the social media side of the fence. You are experimenting on various tools, techniques and tactics albeit without a clear strategy. You act as if the latest tools that surfaced were the missing piece in the puzzle. You embrace new tools with vigor but you don’t follow through with the same vigor as new tools in the marketplace continue to distract you.

While you may not get a long-term return using this approach you do see some benefit as you start making and building relationships on the web.

6. Dedicated

You are committed to participate and engage in social media. You are active on various networks, ask and answer questions and do everything to engage with community. People know you as not only competent in your domain but also as a “nice and helpful” person and probably will reciprocate back when you are in need. You are on the path to building long term relationships that matter.

This is where you start seeing serious returns from social media.

7. Dance

This is social media mastery at display. You know what it takes to “dance” in the social media. You not only help – you ensure that your help is “valuable.” You not only give away stuff but you ensure that what you are giving away is “SIGNFICANT.” Whether it is an article, eBook or a tweet, when you talk people listen and they are thankful that you are there in social media and you are accessible. You change lives via social media and make things happen.

Your returns from social media skyrocket with this stand.

If you are not engaged in social media, I urge you to start engaging with the view to “dance” someday. That’s where all the magic is.

rubber_meets_the_roadRajesh Setty is an entrepreneur, author and speaker based in Silicon Valley. He maintains another blog called Life Beyond Code and tweets as @UpbeatNow
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  • JeffWerner

    Excellent. Great way to encourage new person who is using Social Media.
    I am enjoying following your creative ideas on Twitter.
    I do Interactive “Edu-Tainment” as Corporate Interactive FUN Team Building professionally as well as DJ/MC work and other Fun Interactive Presentations. A.V.I. Audio Visual Interactive.
    I look forward to meeting you soon.
    Best, Jeff Werner
    http://www.BayAreaTeamBuilding.net
    http://www.JeffWerner.net

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  • http://www.rajeshsetty.com/about/ rajesh301

    That's kind of you Jeff. Also, just received an email from Leslie about the Maketing SIG. Will respond soon. Have a great week ahead.

    best,
    Raj

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  • http://www.thesocialworkplace.com/ GeekyGrrrl

    Absolutely wonderful post … thanks!

  • http://www.rajeshsetty.com/about/ rajesh301

    Thanks for the kind words. Glad you liked it :)

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  • http://www.CateNoble.com/ Kathy Holzapfel

    Most days social media feels like an unknown, maybe hostile, territory that I'm not sure how to navigate. It's like I'm standing on the shoreline, eyeing the jungle with trepidation while hearing the occasional roar of a tiger. Scary stuff! Then I find your messages and see that you've not only left pathways I can follow – but you even sent back detailed maps! And travelogues that encourage me to explore. Now I wonder whether some of those roars I heard were actually laughter. Thanks, Raj :-)

  • http://www.entrepreneurspark.com/ Boris Glants

    Hi Rajesh, great post! Do you find it that the people who were great networks in the pre-social media world can also fit into any of these categories or would they naturally gravitate to the Dance category? The reason why I am asking is for me social media is a tool, like a hammer, but if you are not a carpenter you will never use a hammer with the same intensity and effect as a professional carpenter would. It seems that the people who understand what it means to build relationships see the web as a huge opportunity but ones who don't are afraid of it because the gap between successful and not so successful networkers has increased exponentially with social media. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  • http://www.rajeshsetty.com/about/ rajesh301

    Kathy, very kind of you to say that. Reading your comments makes me want to read your books :)

    Best,
    Rajesh

  • http://www.rajeshsetty.com/about/ rajesh301

    Thanks Boris.

    Social media is more of a mindset than a tool. First comes the mindset and then comes the use of tools. People who were great at building relationships now have powerful tools to take their game to the next level and can “dance” quickly.

    However, for others, it's never too late to start.

    Have a great evening.

    Best,
    Raj

  • http://www.rajeshsetty.com/about/ rajesh301

    Kathy, very kind of you to say that. Reading your comments makes me want to read your books :)

    Best,
    Rajesh

  • http://www.rajeshsetty.com/about/ rajesh301

    Thanks Boris.

    Social media is more of a mindset than a tool. First comes the mindset and then comes the use of tools. People who were great at building relationships now have powerful tools to take their game to the next level and can “dance” quickly.

    However, for others, it's never too late to start.

    Have a great evening.

    Best,
    Raj

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  • jowendy17

    Hi Kathy,
    Wendy here, living in CA now. Liked what is written above also. Please
    email me back.
    Best,
    Wendy V.

    P.S. Great job Raj!

  • jowendy17

    Hi Kathy,
    Wendy here, living in CA now. Liked what is written above also. Please
    email me back.
    Best,
    Wendy V.

    P.S. Great job Raj!

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