This post is part of the 30-Day Bloom Your Online Relationships Challenge. If you’d like to play along, you can sign up here (don’t worry — it’s FREE). We’re all working through these small, powerful actions together and sharing our questions, learnings and experiences in a Facebook group. And we’d love to have you join us!

One of the things the experts tell us to do when someone new subscribes to our email list is ask them to also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, circle us on…well, you get the idea.

I don’t know about you, but when someone asks ME to do that, I’m like “What? It’s not enough that I just gave you my email?”

So awhile back I decided to flip this around and instead ask people to share links to THEIR social profiles so I could follow THEM.

The idea here is to let people know two things:

1. You think of them as real human beings and would like to get to know them better.

2. You’re interested in having actual, for real, two-way conversations with them.

Here’s what mine looks like:

welcome email2


On average, I’d say about 20% of people actually reply to these. And yes — I follow through with a reply back within 24 hours, also following them on social media when they share their links.

NOTE: There are also folks who say you should always follow-back everyone who connects with you on social media. Twitter advocates, for example, have long had a reputation for urging folks to follow back everyone that follows them. My advice: don’t do it. ONLY follow people on social media channels that you KNOW are quality connections. There are lots of people using this follow-back mentality to build up the number of people who follow them (e.g., it will look like they’re more important than they are — vanity, pure and simple). Unless you have a plan for getting to know each and every person you follow, those connections will end up as meaningless, weak ties.

My challenge to you: 

Follow Your Subscribers

First you’ll want to fix your standard “thank you” email to reflect your invitation to your new peeps.

Once you’ve got that done, take a few minutes to look at your favorite social media lists and find out who’s following you. Read their profiles and newsfeeds. Find something interesting about them. Then reach out and say hello. Thank them for following you and say something personal to let them know you took the time to find out more about them.

How do you feel and what happens as you do this? Any responses? Was it easy for you to do? Hard? No right or wrong answers here — we’re all just experimenting! Come visit us on Facebook and share.

Image credit: Leyton Parker