The Synchronicity of Search and Social

The Towpath is a great place to spark creativityYesterday I finally got back on my bike and let my thoughts wander while I road along the towpath. I’d forgotten how getting out from behind the computer can stimulate creativity and generate crazy ideas like how the word synchronicity can be applied to search and social and getting found on the web.

A couple of years ago, a friend gave me the book “Walking in This World” by Julia Cameron. Julia Cameron is a writer, and the focus of the book was written with artists in mind.

Specifically how to tap into and hold onto our creative selves. Although its intended audience are writers, artists, and musicians I find that many of the concepts apply to my business life as well.

This weekend I decided to read it again as a way to regain focus after becoming an empty nester. I first read it two years ago and it was truly a conduit for change in both my personal and professional life. One of the recurring themes in the book is one of my favorite words, synchronicity. The author defines synchronicity as “the knack of being in the right place at the right time.”

We’ve all experienced it, we look back on a series of events that turned out unexpectedly (and usually better than we imagined) and realize that the outcome was a direct result of a seemingly unrelated events. We marvel at how a connection made at a workshop two years ago led to a an unexpected lead and a giant step forward in achieving a goal.

It occurred to me that this could also describe an effective search and social strategy. One of the things about synchronicity and “being in the right place at the right time,” is that you have to go out and about and “be” in places where events can be connected by meaning. The same holds true for being found online. In the “real world” we attend workshops, network, and engage with others as a way to gain exposure for our businesses and achieve our goals.

Business cards gathered at a networking eventThe best opportunities in “real life” stem from authentic relationships and sharing of valuable information and not from speed dating networking events. Likewise in the online world. We’re really all here for one reason and that’s to promote and grow our business and in order to do that it’s essential that we “get found” by the search engines and on the social networks.

It’s tempting to treat SEO and social media like a speed networking event and a way to hand out as many “business cards” as possible. People do this by spinning lots of keyword rich content for Google and pushing it out on every network possible.

This strategy may boost the number of followers you have, but in the end it’s no more valuable than the shoe-box full of business cards you’ve been carting around for the past ten years “just in case” one of those contacts ever reaches out to you. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember a single instance of synchronicity that emerged from one of those shoe-boxes.

On the other hand, I’ve experienced numerous “happy coincidences” as a result of genuine engagement in both my “real life” and my online world. We really have a lot more control/influence than we realize when it comes to creating opportunities and “being in the right place at the right time,” or in other words being found  by Google or on Facebook.

We have the opportunity to create content that helps people answer questions, solve problems, and make decisions. The cool thing is that if we create a reason for people to want to follow us (good content) and we engage and build relationships with people Google will reward us with visibility in search engine results.

Unlike the the forgotten brochure in the bottom of a drawer or the shoe-box full of business cards, the content we publish online isn’t forgotten by Google and can be found through search long after it was published.

Last week Mark Schaefer shared a story in one of his posts that illustrates the value of an authentic search and social strategy.

A few weeks ago I received a call from a potential new customer in the Middle East looking to me as a possible marketing consultant. I had to wonder how in the world they found me! Turns out they were looking for somebody who could help explain where the future of social media was going and when they entered this into Google, a blog post I wrote a year ago popped up!”

Now that’s what I call synchronicity of search and social!

Here are a few of personal examples of serendipity in action.

Are you distributing fluff to an online shoe-box full of business cards or are you adding value, forming relationships, and creating opportunities to “be in the right place at the right time?”