Grind, defined: Actionable steps to build winning relationships on social media

Chris Strub is the first man to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states — including atop Squaw Peak in Phoenix.

Note: This article is written for individuals looking to strengthen their personal brand via social media. For many people, strengthening their brand is not a priority — and that’s more than okay.

We are all famous to a few people.

It’s become my favorite refrain on social media (sorry Brian Fanzo @iSocialFanz), because it’s applicable on so many different levels.

Fame is completely arbitrary, and as we all become increasingly empowered to tell our own stories — with a single push of a button on Snapchat, anyone can add to their “My Story” — the traditional definition of fame is crumbling quickly.

Is this man famous to you? No? Doesn’t mean he isn’t famous …

Do you know Parker Bohn? No? Then I bet you’re not a bowling fan. But to members of the professional bowling community, Parker Bohn is as famous as it gets.

Fame is completely arbitrary — the traditional definition of fame is crumbling quickly.

How about Gary Vaynerchuk? He’s definitely famous, right? It all depends who you ask. Go ask your non-tech-savvy parents who Gary Vee is, and bask in their temporary bewilderment.

Joe Wilson — have you heard of that guy? Author of Vampire Mob? Mastermind behind ‘Frozen Snap Friday?’ (Watch one!) Summit Live speaker? Perhaps Joe isn’t a familiar name to you — but he wrote the aforementioned bolded phrase that, so far, this entire blog post has been about.

And let’s get back to that phrase. We are all famous to a few people.

While it’s extremely difficult to quickly become “famous” on social media — think Chewbacca Mom —what is much simpler, facilitated by all the various social mechanisms at our disposal, is helping others feel like they are famous. And I can guarantee you that when you go out of your way to help people, people will want to go out of their way to help you. This is bigger than a social media lesson, this is a life lesson: Be good to people!

Putting in this work takes time. It takes effort. But I’m going to lay out the blueprint for you in this blog post.

When you go out of your way to help people, they’ll want to go out of their way for you.

Ultimately, whether or not this formula works for you will be dependent on two things — most critically, whether or not you actually follow through, but also whether or not you have a talent/skill/product/service you are offering that the people you are offering your support to, can support in return.

This was, and to a degree still is, a painful lesson for me to learn: people jumping up and down, practically screaming that they wanted to support me — and I never gave them the proper vehicle to do so. I finally got my book published this month — you can get it here — but this is why it’s so important to start with some true foresight and understanding of what it is you want to accomplish: because when you put in the work, you will get where you want to go. (Pro tip: Dream big.)

Ultimately, whether this formula works for you will be dependent on if you actually follow through, and if you have something people can support in return.

It’s also important to note, off the bat, that social media should not become a quid pro quo. Execute on the suggestions I outline below and it will come back to you. But never, ever expect that because you do or say something for somebody, they will immediately return the favor.

Be good to people.

Without further ado, here are ten ways you can ‘grind’ every single day to build your personal brand through social media networking:

  1. Retweet/engage with someone’s pinned Tweet. There’s a reason why that person pinned that Tweet — it is the quintessential thought they want you to see first when you come across their profile. Show that it’s a valuable point of entry for them. Here’s my pinned Tweet, if you need an example:

2. Tweet, unprompted, something nice about someone. Look on their timeline, and quote-RT with an endorsement. Watch how my pal Robert Smith 🎤 brightens the day of my friend Cara:

3. Go above and beyond to write a blog post about how much you appreciate someone’s work. My good friend Bree Palmer is writing the #AmazingHumanSeries because she feels so inspired and supported by her network, like her friend Adam Purcell:

4. Take screenshots of someone’s (public) Snapchat story and Tweet them out along with his/her Snapcode. Earn extra points if that person features a brand in their story, and you mention the brand. Because Snapchat content disappears after 24 hours (unless saved and re-purposed by the broadcaster), Tweeting about someone’s story can memorialize it, as I did here with my friend, the super-talented Minnesota-based Snapchatter Kyle Coghlan:

5. Make an introduction of two of your friends who you think would get along well, who would appreciate the value in each other’s content, or would make for a great collaboration. I met the bubbly and strikingly personable Chelsea Peitz at a SnapThisAZ meet-up in Arizona in January, and instinctively wanted to introduce her to another friend of mine, Sara McDowell:

6. (Well, this is kind of a spin off of № 5.) If you are blessed to be interviewed on a podcast, a live-streaming show or any other type of earned media-type opportunity, immediately leverage that relationship to open a door for someone else. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve pushed Caleb Maddix as a potential next guest after I recorded an episode. After speaking with Todd Bergin a couple months ago, I made a private intro to Caleb and then publicly extended the offer* (note — did so with Todd’s blessing; not every podcaster is as open to recommendations) to a handful of super-talented friends, including Lindsey Margolis, who ended up doing her first-ever podcast with Todd last month:

7. Talk on Snapchat (or whichever ephemeral storytelling platform you prefer) about how someone has influenced you, and then include their Snapcode in your story. I’m never shy to talk openly about those who have influenced me — here’s an answer I gave during a recent edition of #chatsnap (the weekly Twitter chat about Snapchat, Wednesdays at 2 p.m. Eastern, hosted by Kristy Gillentine). The answer was enthusiastically quote-RT’d by Brian Fanzo to his 105K+ Twitter followers.

8. Send a video hello. You can do this privately on a platform like Snapchat, or publicly on Twitter, but whatever you do, go above and beyond to personalize it as much as possible. The more value you provide in that first message, the better an impression you can make. (For example — to Brian Fanzo: “Hey Brian, so great to connect with you here on Twitter. [good] I just listened to my first episode of #FOMOFanz, episode №6 about how you define success in the digital world. [even better!] At the 23-minute mark, you mentioned … and I was wondering what you meant by … [best!!!]” No matter what, end your video with “thanks!” or “I appreciate your time!” or some other form of gratitude. And remember — don’t expect an immediate reply (although there’s an excellent chance — especially if you follow the script I laid out here — that Brian, specifically, will, in fact, reply!). This is the best Twitter video anyone has ever sent to me, from my friend Gregg Weiss:

9. Buy someone’s book. Look, if someone is having a real, meaningful, positive impact on you, your life and/or your style and content on social media, and they have a published book, the best thing you can do to support that person is buy that book. This is why the aforementioned Gary Vaynerchuk sells a billion copies every time he releases a book — he provides unparalleled value to his audience, often for years at a time, before the sale. Many people who buy Gary’s books — and often buy several, sometimes even dozens (or hundreds — people love this guy) of copies — do so not because they’ll necessarily learn from the books, but because the book represents a measurable way that they can deliver equivalent value back. Here’s a Tweet — to over 827,000 followers — from Joel Comm, often listed as one of the Top 5 social media influencers on the planet He bought my book live on one of his Crowdcast streams just hours earlier, then sent this:

(By the way, I quickly acquired my own copy of Joel’s most recent work, Twitter Power 3.0:)

10. This is what I consider the holy grail of social media value propositions — live-Tweeting (or Snapchatting, or Instagram Story-ing, etc.) your consumption of someone else’s content. Podcasts, live video interviews, books, etc. — these are overwhelming resources of valuable content, ripe to be broken down and shared. I have live-Tweeted my way through two books recently — Vlog Like a Boss, by Amy Schmittauer, and Winning at Social Customer Care, by Dan Gingiss. I felt so inspired by Amy’s book that I turned those live-Tweets into a full-blown blog post. You can also live-Tweet a podcast, a YouTube video, a keynote speech — any piece of extended content, really. Don’t just quote the book/speech — offer your own running insights/analysis, and include questions that show the author that you’re emotionally invested in the piece. Don’t be shy! Take a minute to click through and peruse this thread of Tweets:

It’s the same concept with a great podcast you come across: take the time and effort to reach out, and you’ll multiply the return you get above and beyond simply listening. Here’s one example of how I’ve added value by engaging with my friend Roberto Blake:

Look, if you follow this set of recommendations, I can almost guarantee that you’ll end up on the radar of authors, creators, influencers and, most importantly, people who want to support you as much as you support them. (If you’re not seeing results after a while, there’s a good chance you’re aiming at the wrong people; I would not recommend starting with Ellen, DJ Khaled, LeBron and Beyonce.) Wondering who you should follow? There’s plenty of names dotted throughout this post— or, grab the bull by the horns and send some Tweets asking for more recommendations.

Need proof that it works? I’ve been invited to speak at FOUR different events this summer, in four different cities around the U.S., without applying to speak at a single one. Two of the opportunities came from people I’ve never even spoken to. Trust me: It. Works.

If you enjoyed this blog post, please take a moment to share the link on Facebook and (especially) Twitter. And if you really enjoyed it, please check out my book, ’50 States, 100 Days: The Book,’ available now on Amazon. (If you can’t buy it right now, you can sign on for the Thunderclap until March 30, 2017 — fast and totally free.)

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Chris Strub is the first man to live-stream and Snapchat in all 50 U.S. states, and the author of ’50 States, 100 Days: The Book.’ You can read more about his adventures at www.teamstrub.com. Chris would LOVE to Tweet with you today — what are you waiting for?

Find me on Snapchat: @ChrisStrub