Photo by Josep Ma. Rosell

I spent the weekend in upstate New York attending one of my favorite people in the world’s wedding. It was an absolutely beautiful affair, held in an old barn that has been standing since 1799. Coming from Chicago, where the biggest hill is the street curb, the scenery was a true and complete treat. Rolling hills covered with trees all succumbing to fall and changing from green to orange, red, and brown.

Ok, so what does this have to do with social media? There are two answers. The second you’ll get on Wednesday. But today we’re going to discuss relationships.

Being with so many wonderful friends reminded just how much relationships matter. This is true outside of work, but it’s equally true when it comes to your work life. Social media is about building relationships, and with the Internet at our fingertips it can be fairly easy. But what about taking those relationships off of Twitter and Facebook and onto a more personal level?

I’m not suggesting you turn every Twitter follower into a personal friend, but if you run across someone who you learn a lot from, perhaps that is someone worth conversing with over email or even a phone call, or if you’re lucky enough to live in the same area, a real-life meeting.

I think a lot of the reason this doesn’t happen more is because rejection online is still rejection. If you are thinking of sending someone whose blog you really admire an email, you’re putting yourself out there. It’s a hard thing to do, and one that I’m still not 100% comfortable with.

So I am going to issue you a challenge. I am not exaggerating when I say relationships are important. In fact, one of my clients bases her entire marketing business on relationship marketing. She gave me permission to share her ideas, which I will do on Friday.  I guarantee, they will open up a whole new possibility in how you run your marketing campaign.

On to the challenge: In order to grow more relationships, directly after finishing reading this post, I want you think of one person you’ve been conversing with using social media. Whether it’s reading their blog, going back and forth on Twitter, or following their Facebook fan page, pick the person you think you’d connect with the most and send them an email. Just say, hello, I wanted to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed talking and learning from you online, and I think we have a lot in common. It doesn’t need to have a call to action in it. Don’t ask for anything. Just let them know you’ve enjoyed their words and work and see where it goes.

If I were going to write to anyone, it would probably be Annabel Candy. I love her blog, Get In the Hotspot, and I find her postings immensely helpful. So I will take the challenge as well. Sometime today I am going to email her and let her know how much I like her work. You report back to me and I’ll report back to you.

Here’s to forming a new relationship because of social media.

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