How to Know if Your Social Media Friends are Fake

“Fake friend” is just a phrase I borrowed from the film Almost Famous.  I use it to remind you that we all share the same challenge of building relationships with the people we meet through the social media networks.  The networks are committed to a purpose, and that purpose is to get you more friends.  And they do that well. Soon, you have more friends than you could ever need.  Or do you?  Lets take a closer look at how you can maximize the value you get from your social media friendships. 

A good friend of mine for the past 15 years recently hired me to build his social media and Internet marketing campaign to market a variety of information products.  He already had recommendations to companies that would do his SEO (search engine optimization) work.   This is an area where I can also help, so we discussed the approach that they were going to take.  He was told he only needed to know that he was going to be at the top of the search rankings lickity split – and have lots of friends too. 

Bill is a bright guy.  He wondered what kind of relationship he was going to have with these people that were driving his websites to the top of the search rankings.   “No worries,” he was told.  But worry he did.  This got me thinking about friends — and how you can determine who are the ones you can count on.  How do you know?  Better yet, how do you develop valid friendships in the first place?

The basis of Web 2.0 Marketing and the social networks is the exchange of value.  If you have that on both sides, you have a valid friend.  There is always a give and a take – and an equal exchange back again.   The equal exchange doesn’t necessarily have to be substantial.  Sometimes its purely appreciation for the value you give.  Many of my friends, and me included, will continue to give through experience, insights, or hard work, just as long as there is sincere appreciation from that friend.  How about you? 

How do you get more friends through social media – real ones that is?  Simple.  Have a conversation and look for ways to make an exchange of value.  Sometimes you can ask for advice or assistance of some kind, but whenever possible, I always try to offer up something that improves their situation – the work they are doing.  Make a referral.  Offer some tips.  Suggest resources that have worked for you.  And my favorite, work together on a project.  You never know where it will lead.

My goal with social media is to look for the good that is out there with everyone and make a value exchange.  Yep, it usually has to be done slowly – one friend at a time.  Nevertheless, this is where the magic of social media kicks in.  The energy you put into that friendship gets passed along and the next relationship you make almost seamlessly follows the first.  These are sustainable friends.   Make the effort to engage and exchange and you’ll have a solid business model that works,  regardless of the next wave of social media change.

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  1. Great post Jeff, there is good out there and yes it will take time to find but infinitely more rewarding.


  2. Marcus Ide says:

    Agree with Nick’s comments, great post.

  3. You said that well – “infinitely more rewarding.” We all know that to be true, don’t we?


  4. I agree with you. I use the same strategy for getting more friends in social networks. For example in twitter following lots of people, i answer to some of their tweets and try to find solution to their problems.
    Then they start following me..

  5. You got it. It’s all about engagement. I look at it this way – people are curious and want to get a conversation going, but somebody has to take the first step. 🙂

  6. I have just found you through a fnried (Lidia Arbolario).The Lord spoke volumes to me through this post. Thank you.May He bless you as much as you’ve blessed me.Deborah(I will be ordering your book!)

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