Social Media Creates Real Relationships.

April 21, 2011

This week I woke up to a wonderful surprise. When I checked my morning email I discovered that I met my $1000 fundraising goal for an 18-mile walk that I am doing for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention called The Overnight. I am walking with my best friend, Carree, who lost her boyfriend last year and I was required to raise the full amount or I could not participate.

While I am always willing to donate to help other people’s causes, I personally don’t like to ask friends or family for money. Supporting Carree was important to me so I sent a few emails to close friends and family. In addition to the emails that I sent, I posted the donation link on Facebook.

The Response

The support that I received was overwhelming. Because of a handful of generous donations, I met my goal. Here’s the unique part, 75% of the people who donated to me were 1) business associates and 2) people who I, for the most part, met via social media. To be clear, I have met every person face-to-face, but our relationships were either formed online or strengthened by our virtual connection.

These people are cheerleaders. They are supporters. They are true friends.

My relationships didn’t form overnight. They have been nurtured. I have tried to add value to each one and have helped people any time they needed assistance. I read their blogs. I congratulate them on accomplishments. I offer advice when they ask. I work hard at building these relationships.

The support that I have received for The Overnight surpassed my wildest dreams. In my early days of social media use, I never imagined the  tremendous potential that it has. Like many people, I thought it was all about “what I had for breakfast.” I thought that social networking was for connecting with old friends. I had no idea what a powerful tool it could be for building new friendships.

What about business relationships?

Yes, this post is discussing how my social media connections helped me to reach a personal fundraising goal. However, these are the same people who I have partnered with on creating new events; people who have hired me to speak; people who I have hired as vendors and people who have referred business to me and people who I have referred business to. You see, we have built relationships. We don’t draw a line in the sand that says “personal friend” or “business friend.” These are people who I like and who I trust. I support them and they support me.

If you are reading this post, there is a good chance that you already understand and believe in the power of social networking. Please share this story with individuals who need yet another success story about how beneficial social networking can be.  I also invite you to share your stories in the comments. Who have you met via social media that changed your life?

And to my wonderful friends, thank you once again for everything. I couldn’t imagine life without you!

P.S. While I reached my goal for the walk, Carree is still fundraising. If you want to contribute to Team Paul, Click Here to Donate. We both thank you for your support.