Social Media – 6 New Friend Acquisition Strategies

by Jeff Quipp February 11th, 2008 

Social media is changing and evolving. In essence, social media sites like the search engines of 8-9 years ago, are growing up. They're learning from their mistakes, and are constantly improving.

Evolution Comic
Source: NWCreation.net

Of course, this constant evolution means that users of social media must too change and adapt to the fluid landscape.

For anyone hoping to get their submissions seen by the masses on various social media, this means continuously expanding your network of friends.

3 Reasons to Constantly Build Out Your Base of Friends:
In particular, there are 3 reasons to continuously build out friends in various social media:

    a) more success in social media -
    It goes without saying; we submit stories to social media because we think the information is valuable enough that others will want to see it. That said, we all (yes absolutely everyone) submit stories with the intention or hope of reaching the main page.

      1) the more friends a person has, the more people with similar interests he/she knows, and can make aware of the content. That said, people are much more likely to accept ims, emails, and shouts from friends than from unknowns, so more friends means more opportunity for a submission going 'hot'.
      2) Digg, Stumbleupon et al now look for diversity in voting, and have rightfully started to discount votes from static networks. Continuously building out friend networks helps to maintain more diversity.

    b) more success in search - the more friends you have, the more people are likely reading your blog or site, and the more likely you are to get unsolicited inbound links … which of course helps sites rank better.

New Friends Cartoon
Courtesy: Weblogcartoons.com

Friend Building Techniques … Including Pros and Cons:
Of course, the next big challenge is to actually construct a process for constantly building out your friends on social media. Going on a friend acquisition campaign once or infrequently isn't enough for all the reasons mentioned above. You need a process for constantly increasing your 'active' friends. Fortunately there are a number of approaches, listed below:

Passive Approaches (Having Friends Come to You):

    1) develop a power profile, and watch friends approach you. Everyone is looking to become friends with active members of the communities.

      Pros:

        - you attract many friend requests daily, even other power users
        - you do not have to aggressively pursue others
        - even if you stop, friend requests will continue to be received for a sustained period of time

      Cons:

        - its a great deal of work initially to become a power user
        - many of the friend requests you receive are from newbies, who will not evolve into frequent users of the medium

    2) submit exceptional content, and only exceptional content, and again watch possible friends approach you and/or stalk you. Here's a tremendous tip … are there any sites where you have contacts, where they will give you the exclusive 'early' scoop on important news?

      Pros:

        - you can attract a very large number of friends without worrying about friend reciprocation
        - many many people will clasp onto your every submission, and will make it popular often

      Cons:

        - exceptional content is very difficult to find, unless you've got a scoop, or a secret source.
        - very time consuming again unless you've got an exclusive scoop, or a secret source.
        - you must maintain high quality over time, or your following will dissipate

Aggressive Approaches (You Approaching Potential Friends):

    3) study friend profiles in each social media and approach those most desireable (ie. most interesting, most similar, and most active)

      Pros:

        - you have some real insight into their activity levels, subject preferences, etc.

      Cons:

        - you must perform this task frequently to keep infusing a sufficient number of new friends into your friend base. It is not self sustaining.
        - you'll likely have to spend increasing amounts of time considering and supporting your new friends submissions too … in addition to those of existing friends.
        - very time consuming

    4) study power user profiles and approach those of their most desireable friends (ie. most interesting, and most similar)

      Pros:

        - you have some real insight into their activity levels, subject preferences, etc.
        - most power users will be looking to expand their friend bases
        - power user friends attract more power users as friends

      Cons:

        - you must perform this task frequently to keep infusing a sufficient number of new friends into your friend base. It is not self sustaining.
        - you'll likely have to spend increasing amounts of time considering and supporting your new friends submissions too … in addition to those of existing friends.
        - very time consuming.
        - typically there are only a few power networks within each social media, which means new friends found here are likely already part of existing networks

    5) migrate friends from other social media

      Pros:

        - relatively quick and easy to do
        - a good approach if you've got a power account on one social medium already

      Cons:

        - limited potential in most cases

    6) support the interesting submissions of relative newbies

      Pros:

        - likely to generate many new friends as new users are hungry for friends
        - all new users are out-of-network

      Cons:

        - many of these new friends will not become heavy users of the medium
        - could be alot of time spent for little real return

    In the end, you'll likely have to combine approaches to ensure that you've got a sustainable process for always adding new friends to your friends base. I know from a personal perspective, I use different techniques on different social media to attract and target different friend groups, then attempt to migrate these new friends to other social media.

    If you've got additional techniques, I'd love to hear them, and I'll list them here with proper credits.

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13 Responses to “Social Media – 6 New Friend Acquisition Strategies”

  1. Jim says:

    I hope you’ll continue to post on the subject if you feel at any point you do have something to add to the past body of work.

  2. I second Jim's proposal.

  3. Jeff Quipp says:

    @ Jim, NewLifeFromHeaven (Matt?) … I most definitely will. I'm certain some more ideas will come to mind, or other readers will contribute some also. Thanks for the comments!

  4. Matt Ridout says:

    Very extensive look at this Jeff. It is surprising how you see friends from different networks on different platforms.

    It will all merge eventually I imagine

  5. Simon Slade says:

    Awesome friend strategies from someone who really knows their stuff. The best tip was to get the inside early scoop on quality news before anyone else gets it…

  6. Mark Dykeman says:

    The common denominator throughout is that making friends takes work and that should not be downplayed.

    It seems like a social media user will have to start with an active approach before they build sufficient reputation and credibility to start to utilize passive approaches.

    Although it seems a bit ridiculous, I think any power social media user ultimately needs to use some form of CRM (customer relationship management) or contact management tool to keep their friends straight, especially when those friends have profiles on different networks and they don't use a consistent profile name. But there's potential there…

    The only other thing that I could add is that one way to increase your friend count is to increase the networks that you belong to. Over time, you tend to find out that other people frequent multiple networks, so you can grow your contacts significantly by friending their profiles or presences across those networks.

    Good one, Jeff!

  7. Building your network is one of the vital part of succeeding in Social Marketing sites. That's why it's very important to always make sure that you have a good network of friends. BU also remember that you also need to be honest and credible so you can gain the trust of people in the social sites..^^

  8. Utah SEO says:

    Appears the general consensus here is to sell your soul to social media in order to succeed. :)

  9. [...] Social Media – 6 New Friend Acquisition Strategies – Jeff Quip teaches us how to evolve with the social media sites to attain more friends, as they [...]

  10. "… exceptional content is very difficult to find, unless you’ve got a scoop, or a secret source."

    Or, just make stuff up, like I do!

    Take two ideas (1 part fact, 1 part fiction), whisk briskly.

    Mix in Secret Sauce, kneed and then roll out into long threads.

    Feed into "What if?" Engine and move into high gear.

    Simple! ;-)

  11. BTW, some sound advice, which I'll be promoting shortly…

  12. Jeff Quipp says:

    @ Matt – thanks for the comment Matt. Agreed … I see many friends on numerous networks.

    @ Simon – thanks Simon … I love the 'early scoop' concept myself.

    @ Mark – exactly right Mark … the more networks you are on, the more potential for friends unless you're using a power user strategy in which case you've only got time for a limited number.

    @ InternetMarketingJoy – couldn't agree more. Honestly and credibility is crucial … it helps build authority which is another subject I blog about alot :)

    @ Jordan – sell it Jordan … its a commitment alright!

    @ Wayne – thanks Wayne … your idea sounds so much more fun that mine :)

  13. Hillel says:

    The real question is – does social media traffic convert? Will social media traffic convert in the future like traffic converts from search engines? something to think about