Young persons head looking with gesture at social type of icons and signsDo you want to be a millionaire? Or a billionaire? If you do, there are several ways you can achieve your dream. You can have rich parents – that’s a good way of being rich yourself. Or you can invent something so cool everyone wants it. Alternatively you could work really, really, really hard and work your way to the top of some global corporation. But most people who dream about being mega-rich do not do any of this; they just fantasise about how they would spend the money if they had it.

However, the people who take action all appear to do one thing in common; they start to circulate in the world of rich people. Ambitious people who want to become rich go to the places where millionaires hang out. If you want to be rich, mix with rich people. You will learn from them, you will be introduced to others and you will be given opportunities that would pass you by if you stayed at home, dreaming.

Even if you look at the myriad of rags-to-riches stories, you find that most of them involve that “lucky” individual in years of work, going to the right places, asking the right questions, meeting the right people. I recall a 19-year-old “overnight blogging sensation” – according to the UK media coverage. It seems this teenager from Yorkshire had made a million with his first online blog. Indeed, he had done that. But his own story had a slightly different version of events. His blog did make him a millionaire – but for the previous year or so he had been studying the people he admired online. He spent time nurturing an online relationship with them and then he started to meet them at blogging events in the USA. Only then did he launch his website and only then did he start to make pots of cash. It wasn’t overnight – it was two years of hard work, getting to know the rich people who could help him succeed.

So how do you become an expert at Twitter? How do you make the most of your LinkedIn account? What do you need to do on Pinterest to get more product sales? The answers to these questions can be found on a variety of blog posts and websites, for sure. But better answers would come from mixing with Twitter experts or LinkedIn gurus, for instance. Make them your friends in the real world and you will benefit.

child with laptop computerEvidence for this kind of impact comes from a rather odd source today. Research on the under-age use of Facebook reveals that children aged 9-12 are most likely to have an account if their real world friends also have an account. Facebook is supposedly only available for those over the age of 13, but around 40% of children under that age limit do have an account. Relaxed parenting styles have an influence. However, it seems that if children of that age mix with other youngsters who already have an account on Facebook, that makes it much more likely they too will open an account.

In other words, your real-world relationships affect your behaviour. You tend to do what your friends do. You tend to behave the same way as them. In psychological terms this is known as being “in-group”; you conform.

So, if you want to “up your game” on LinkedIn, for example, start to meet those LinkedIn experts. You can start online, of course, but visit the business events they go to, attend the same conferences and meet up with them in the real world. Gradually, over time, you will become part of their group. And that will mean you start to behave like them. The result of which is you will be doing the very things that make them great with LinkedIn, or whatever social network you want to excel at.

If you want to do well with social media, mix with the people who are already doing well.