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Why Are Social Objects Important?

When starting a conversation, finding things you can relate to the other person is absolutely crucial. If two people have nothing in common, then building a relationship is going to be tough. Enter social objects.

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the reason two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else. — Hugh Macleod

When someone reads your blog, and especially your bio page, it shouldn’t take too long for them to learn something about you that they can possibly identify with. After all, you want them to be able to relate to you at some level beyond just being a knowledgeable real estate agent. You want to give them a reason to remember you long after you’ve spoken — and that often comes down to tidbits they learn about you. Do you like chess? Fish? German shepherds? Spent a year living in Argentina or Italy? Love the 49ers? Can’t get enough of the Yankees? Love sailing? Enjoy backpacking the world? That’s the type of information that should be included in your bio, and interspersed in your blog writing, Facebook status updates, and Tweets. Those types of topics – or anything in between – can be social objects.

Why are social objects important? Because they keep you top of mind long after you engage with someone.

I for instance, give all Yankees fans I encounter a hard time because I’m a Mariners fan and they beat us in the Game 5 of the ALDS. But I think of people as a result of those conversations every time I hear the word “Yankees”. Patrick Healy and Pierre Calzadilla are the two people I think of first, but there are more. When I hear about the Steelers, Lori Bee & Doug Heddings come to mind, both very vocal about their love for Steeler Nation (which I’m not a fan of given they beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl). Every time someone mentions the Broncos, I think of Jay Thompson. Jets? Gary Vaynerchuk. Packers? Andy Kaufman.

And to be clear – a social object does NOT have to be a sports team. I think the most well known example is Ines in Miami and her love of mojitos. She even got a mention in a story about real estate agents in South Africa. Oh, and did I mention, 95% of the recognition she receives helps her SEO since almost every article (including this one) provides a link back to her website?

These are all people that understand personal branding. And you know what – it’s not that difficult. It’s primarily a matter of sharing your passions publicly rather than just offline, and the rest takes care of itself (okay, so there is a little more to it, but not much).

What are you passionate about? What are your social objects? How are you interspersing them in your online activities?

Disclosure: Ines, Lori, Doug, Andy, and Jay have all been Virtual Results clients at one time or another. But I consider them all good friends and knew all of them long before I joined Virtual Results.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. He is a Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Anonymous

    Can’t believe Drew thought of Steelers and me, before goats or guns. But I love them all. :)

    • http://www.drewmeyersinsights.com drewmeyers

      Lori = steelers, horses, farms, volunteering (& guns, goats)

    • http://www.phacient.com Patrick Healy

      I think of guns when I think of you before Steelers. :-)

  • http://PhoenixRealEstateGuy.com Jay Thompson

    Sometimes it’s difficult to be a Bronco’s fan… But I always will be…… excellent post Drew.

    • http://www.drewmeyersinsights.com drewmeyers

      I tell ya – it’s somtimes difficult to be a Mariner’s fan too. And Seahawks.
      We’ve been through better years.

  • Sara Bonert

    And when you think of skipping the sporting event and going to the mall shopping with the money you saved by not buying a ticket – I hope you think of me!!

    • http://www.drewmeyersinsights.com drewmeyers

      Shopping = Sara :)

      I got it.

  • http://www.phacient.com Patrick Healy

    Go Yankees! He he, good post Drew. You hit it right on the head. You have to have some sort of commonality with someone or else there can be no starting point. We may have helped to solidify things between us through baseball but I will say it’s a distant blip in the rear-view mirror on comparison to where we are now. It all has to start somewhere and that is what I think you are driving at.

    One thing that should be mentioned, or cautioned against perhaps, is the phenomenon of the Granfalloon. I find that most sales people that I talk to suffer form this and that is why they are not very good sales people. :-)

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  • http://atlantismortgage.com Jason

    Hi Drew,

    Great points you make here. Being a human with interests and “social objects” is important to connect and engage with others using social media. I find the most engaging twitter or Facebook pages have quick adjectives in their bios (some of which I can relate to). Having keywords or phrases in the bio allows me to quickly see our potential compatibility and ability to connect through social media.

    Thanks for the post,

    Jason

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