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You Are Much More Than Social Proof

Georgia O'Keeffe chose her friends carefully. She counted her true friends on one hand.

Considered a pioneer in the Modern Art movement, she was born on November 15, 1887. Two years later, Thomas Edison filed a patent for the electric lightbulb. O'Keeffe died in 1986, in the age of Post-modern artists. Just shy of her 100th birthday, she missed the beginning of the Digital Age and its widespread public adoption of the Internet. Much has changed. It is now 2016. Friendship remains the same. True friendship still takes time.

As creators, our challenge is to understand how the spectrum of online friendship unfolds when we use social networking tools. 

You Are Much More Than Social Proof​

The other day, a young actor told me her agent said she needed more "friends and followers" on her social media platforms. As if this "social proof" matters more than her gifts and talent. What troubles me about this agent's comment is that he provided no context for her about what "more friends and followers" even means. 

Think about it. It takes less than one-tenth of one second to "like" something. Consider the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram posts you've "liked" today. How many? What do you remember about them? What's different in your life as a result of all of the "liking" activity. 

To achieve more: you need only to program social algorithms to engage with other social algorithms. Achieving more has nothing to do with your talent.

To achieve real: you need to consider your audience in the context of the Spectrum of Online Friendship. ​The content your create, your engagement style, your genuine interest in your audience amplifies your talent. This is at the heart of a brand strategy, one that builds the career you envision for your future.  

Actual "social proof," as a marketing metric, is measured by the number of brand advocates you have on your social platforms (not total number of friends or followers). ​Brand advocates promote you by sharing your content with their friends. Your talent resonates and means something special to them. They care about your success. 

The Spectrum of Online Friendship

Developed by Mike Arauz, digital market expert, the spectrum of online friendship is a tool for developing a mindful, marketing practice. Your objective is to cultivate relationships over time for lasting value. The first step is to evaluate your own social behavior. Consider your engagement with people and/or brands that mean something to you. Find your behavior on the spectrum. Where are you a brand advocate?

Next, ​use the analytics from your social media platforms. Look at your friends, followers, subscribers. What is the quality of their interaction with you? For each platform, where is your audience on this scale? How many brand advocates do you have? Notice where you have opportunities to create or curate types of content your audience will find valuable. 

​True Friends Take Time

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to "buy" friends and followers. You cannot buy trust. Trust must be earned through consistent social listening and creating and/or curating the kinds of stories, moments, resources that affirm your connections. ​

Circling this post back to Georgia O'Keeffe, I think Charlotte Cowles interview with Juan Hamilton in Harper's Bazaar ​provides a good bit on insight into the artist and her approach to friendship. Check it out. Exclusive: Georgia O'Keeffe's Younger Man

And, as always, please share your comments on this post!​