Connecting People for Fun and Profit with Minimal Effort
In the past I already focused on influencers: who they are and how they get there. At the end I concluded that most of us are not influencers by design.
Influencers vs Connectors
Not everybody can become a president. That’s perfectly OK, especially as there is a more viable and rewarding alternative to becoming an influencer, being a connector.
Please note that I intentionally say becoming an influencer but being a connector.
It’s not a long tedious process in the second case. Connecting people for fun and profit is not a daunting task. Everybody can do it straight away.
You don’t have to publish a book or a blog with millions of readers. You don’t even have to pose almost naked on Instagram.
The advantage of being a connector is that it works right from the start and with minimal effort. We’re all natural born connectors to some extent.
My Personal Example is Proof of Concept
I’ve been connecting people on this blog and social media long before the term influencer has been coined. I was social on the Internet before the term social media itself has been popularized.
You can only influence people by communicating with them, saying things or writing things down. That was too much for me.
Unlike writing or promoting content which takes a lot effort – after all you have to create things from scratch or push things connecting with people is a low energy task. It’s rather fun and not even a task at all.
Whenever I have a cold or a a migraine coming up that prevent me from doing “real work” I focus on connecting with like-minded individuals.
Once I was already sick and I kept trying to work despite that. Starting my days with the usual routine – maybe a bit slower – researching on social media and then doing what I call SMO: curating and sharing articles with my audiences on social media. Then I realized I didn’t have enough energy to accomplish more demanding tasks.
Instead I kept on connecting with people for the rest of the day. It was rewarding and I felt better afterwards. I didn’t get sicker because of being exhausted. I even felt energized!
How Do Connectors Actually Behave?
In case you take a closer look at what I actually do then you might call it connecting people because I select the few authors worth being read on a given day and then inform the potential readers of their articles.
I connect writers with their audiences.
What else is a connector or what does s/he do? I have looked up the definitions of connectors and was even more convinced and glad that I am one.
Connectors have to listen to people while influencers want other people to listen to them.
Of course there are a lot of self-promoters who also want others to listen to their monologues.
The difference is that influencers have a real audience while self-promoters just interrupt you and push their message into your face.
The next thing a connector does is to differentiate between the people who are worth listening to and those who are just stealing your time. Then they recommend those who are worth it.
Connectors are those who tell others who the real influencers are. For example I’d tell you that in the field of SEO you have to listen to Danny Sullivan, Rand Fishkin and Aaron Wall are certainly three key figures to listen too. Most other people would agree too.
Connectors have to dig deeper than the Captain Obvious usual suspects. You don’t need SEO specialist to tell you to listen to there above. Anybody who starts out in SEO will notice them sooner or later. The problem with these top level influencers is that they are not available.
Influencers are just too famous to engage with every person out there who wants something to tell them. There are exceptions sometimes but those people are working as public figures like Lee Odden and represent their business full time.
Connectors also find approachable people who have some influence. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense connecting with them if all their recommendations are dead ends.
Thus such lists are not helpful, I do not even read them anymore, I just see that they are just another list of the top dogs I already know. They only make sense in case you are satisfies with the status of the follower.
Followers only amplify what their leaders say or they try to connect with the leader/influencer all the time. A follower is in contrast to a connector someone who only listens, never answers or makes connections. At the end of the day they may get the equivalent an autograph like on a signed book.
Connectors strive for real connections between real people not larger than life figures. That’s another reason why I’m glad that I’m not a blogging celebrity or something.
I still manage to reply to every single comment on my blog on most days, unless it’s typical monologue comment not asking for a reply at all.
Connectors act like human beings did for thousands of years in their neighborhoods. Now we have tools do do that on a global level.The psychological rule of reciprocity that has been practiced for millennia takes care of you even in case you seem to waste your time for the benefit of others.
Our neighborhood is the global village of your choice. You may choose the SEO village or the social media village or the blogging village.
During the best days of my blog here I managed to move around all three villages and connect their inhabitants. That’s why this blog was so successful among other reasons.
Over the years while I have been a writer on another SEO blog I lost my initial fervor and I didn’t simply have the time anymore.
I focused on a too narrow audience, the SEO industry and lost it anyway due to the fact that I do not agree with many of the SEO industry dogmas.
It’s still fun to connect with the people from the industry, the old ones who do not need to read my blog, but also the new ones who start far better blogs than my own one.
By now I can’t keep up with the fresh newcomers who are often truly amazing. This is the fun in it. Where is the money?
Well, just ask the true connectors who have appeared out of nowhere in recent years and are successful business men by now sometimes withing just a year or two.
Some of them have even taken the leap to influencer status. Many of them are not native speakers of English like myself.
Examples of People Worth to Connect With
Some of them have more spelling and grammar errors in their writings than I do! Still they rock, and they get recognition from all over the world like I did in the early days.
Just look at their whereabouts and their stories:
Jason Acidre – From an unemployed father struggling in the Philippines who can’t spell “SEO” to one of the most respected SEO experts in just around two years.
He’s been an excellent connector from day one but due to his invaluable writings he became an influencer too quickly.
He connects mostly by linking out and sharing valuable articles from others. It’s already more than enough in his case.
Alessio Madeyski – Another guy from outside the SEO industry. He landed a reputable in-house SEO position and took the SEO community by storm with his interview series “meet your SEO”.
Alessio is from Italy so he is not a native English speaker either but id didn’t matter, he is one of the most known SEO people right now.
Moosa Hemani – A former spammy SEO drone somewhere in Pakistan (yeah, the country that gets bombarded by US drones all of the time) who learned everything about SEO, social media and blogging himself.
He also learned by connecting with SEO practitioners over the world simply through social media and email.
He also noticed that going after the famous people only does not yield results. By now he has so much work to do that you rarely see him on social media at all.
Heck, in case I had to live in a country like Pakistan I would have probably starved to death already.
Aleyda Solis – Another non-English speaker is Aleyda from Spain. I noticed her due to her high quality curation work on social media quite real, even before she became on of the most valuable players of the Inbound.org community.
Again, despite of doing most of her work in Spanish and writing in Spanish as well she became a very useful ally in the daily quest to find the articles and news that matter for many people in the international SEO industry.
Aleyda is by now part of one of the most respected SEO companies worldwide.
Jon Cooper is a youngster like almost no other. As an 18 year old he took the SEO world by storm by connecting with people. He conducted group interviews with lost of experts and made other people promote him naturally from the start.
By now he has started his won business and he made most of the SEO industry peers part of the launch. He allowed me early access as well.
The term community bait has been coined on his blog. I’m not ashamed to learn from a guy who is just half my age, I do when it comes to Parkour all the time.
This is just a short list of examples. This is not a best of list or something, just a few examples of how you can profit by connecting people and connecting with people. Of course the examples above were not about minimal effort.
These people spend a lot of time mingling with the right peers on the Web. On the other hand you don’t have to excel like they did to succeed.
Connecting with people works on a small scale as well. I do that for more than a year now as well.
I maintain connections with just a dozen or two of people from the industry at a time, whomever appears to have the time at a given moment.
I can’t afford to spend more time than an hour or some per day on socializing but but I still get at least half of my links from these people for example.
My industry peers contact me from time time with work offers or recommend me to others.
In fact I still work together with the first client I ever got from blogging and connecting with people online, back then on Google Blogoscoped as guest writer.
Many of my best clients were always coming from connections with other people not via Google.
Are you connecting (with) people for fun or profit? I guess you do already. Now you know that this practice has a name or even a role, the connector.
Does it require more than minimal effort? Not always. Try your best and other people will follow. Just consider the example from my curation post.
I am proud to say that I connected him to the rest of the online SEO community. It wasn’t hard though, he did everything right to get discovered.
Connecting people is simply great, no wonder a huge international corporation uses it as a slogan but none does say “We SEO for Google” in its motto.
*Creative Commons images by Jordi Paya.
Solid post Tad and I’m with you on the idea of being a connector I would also like to consider myself in the same mould. I’m never going to be an influencer, I’m not smart enough and I’m happy with that.
I wrote a post some time back (one of my most popular) listing some SEO’s who in my opinion were worth a follow. The only catch was I couldn’t include anybody who had more than 1000 followers already. I think that’s what you mean by digging a little deeper than your obvious people?
Many of these guys have gone on to burst though the 1000 follower count (and then some!!) and rightly so. There are some cross overs with your list too with both Jon C and Jason A getting in on the action
Yeah Gaz, I almost added you to the examples above but I had to keep the list short or I wouldn’t have finished this post at all.
I may do a follow up with examples for typical connector techniques like group interviews, community baits etc. and include yours.
Otherwise I’ll consider adding some more examples here.
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