You know that woman online who shares your Facebook posts with her tribe? Or the man who always leaves encouraging comments on your articles? What about the person who retweets links to all your blog posts?
We bet you do.
You may never have met these people face-to-face. They may be nothing more than a small square, pixelated icon to you. But you like them. You like them because, in a digital world, they’ve been a friend to you.
A good friend online is someone who is for you.
Someone who is behind you.
Someone who supports you.
If you’re going to grow your platform, good friends will help hoist you higher.
A good friend online is someone who is for you. Click To Tweet
Cyber friendship, like friendship IRL, should never be boiled down to a tit-for-tat exchange. But as the ancient King Solomon once said, “A person who has friends must themselves be friendly.” So there is value—for you and for your community—in finding creative ways to be a good friend on social media.
Scout out big opportunities
You can’t promote every little link and puny post that your friends puts out. How do you decide when to share? We suggest reviewing a few weeks of your friends social media posts and then ranking them. Take the biggest opportunities and push those out.
Is your friend offering a free giveaway to add subscribers to her mailing list? Then sharing her post about finishing her first half-marathon might not be as useful to her as letting your audience know how valuable you’ve found her newsletters.
Did you friend release a self-published e-book? That will rank higher than a simple blog post.
Be intentional about what you champion and when. Make your shares count.
Let your friendship blossom with creativity
Anyone can click a “thumbs up” icon. Instead, dream up creative ways you can support others. Arrange the magnet letters on your refrigerator into the title of a friend’s book. Sharpie a message onto a cereal box. Snap a picture of you taking the advice in their latest blog post.
Just as brilliant writers employ fresh, fun sentences in their writing, so too brilliant friends are playful and creative.
Jonathan once took a picture with his favorite author and had it printed on a coffee mug. Then he snapped a picture of himself drinking out of it to promote her work and posted it online. The act was simple and innovative.
The craftier your engagement, the more memorable.
Leverage the power of connection
Is a magazine you write for planning an issue on a topic about which your friend is passionate? Is your friend moving to a city where you know of a local writers group? Are you being offered gigs that you can’t take but might share? Practice generosity by sharing opportunities with others.
As you climb the ladder of the writing world, remember those who stand on lower rungs. We’re all in this together. Just as you advanced through the goodwill of others, others will remember your generosity that propels them forward. Be the friend that you want to befriend you.
Make it personal
Did your friend share that he’s having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?
When his house contract falls through, you could click on a sad face emoticon like everyone else. But you might also send a text or private message. Or go old-fashioned and pick up the phone. You could go beyond words and offer to help alleviate their frustration.
The digital world often pushes us toward faceless, even enonymous engagement with each other. But it doesn’t have to. Utilize the digital by making it personal.
Transfer your talents
If you hear a friend mention she needs to polish her resume, offer to help. When a friend seeks feedback on a draft of her first chapter, say “yes” if you can. It won’t always be feasible to transfer your talents to help another, but it makes a lasting impression when you do.
Invest in friendship by serving your friends with your gifts. You’ll strengthen your relationships and build social capital at the same time.
In the end, being a friend online is a lot like being a friend offline. So do unto other writers what you wish other writers would do unto you. Find fresh ways to let friends know that you are for them and behind them. The more friendly you act, the more friends you’ll collect.
At Write Brilliant, we’re building a community of folks who are learning and growing together.
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– Gabe Lyons
Bestselling author of Good Faith and founder of Q
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– Jennie Allen,
bestselling author of Nothing to Prove and founder of IF:Gathering
"The firehose of information I absorbed through Write Brilliant transformed the way I write. Jonathan and Margaret bring a combined breadth of knowledge and a straight-shooting style that helped me clarify my target audience, expand my platform, and get practical about what it takes to dedicate myself to my craft. I learned more in this one course than in all past conferences, books, blogs, and videos I’ve engaged. Write Brilliant is a one-stop-shop for taking your writing to the next level."
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author of Colors of Goodbye
"In all my years of leading organizations, I've encountered dozens of how-to programs, but none of them has been more effective then this one. I should know. The Write Brilliant strategy gave me the boost of confidence I needed to create two books on leadership. Whether you want to author a book or just create a blog, make sure you don't miss this fantastic course."
– Brad Lomenick,
author of H3 Leadership and former director of Catalyst
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