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“Surrounding Yourself With Successful People” should be a familiar saying in the business world of successful entrepreneurs.  This goal is built up surrounding yourself with positive energy, wisdom and influences.  You learn from the best who are successful and you mimic or reflect that success when you position yourself in with them.

Whether you are trying to learn about Social Media, running your own business and just want to expand your network; Here are 7 strategies to help get you started.

1.)  Meetups

Is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Meetups are a great way to find “LOCAL” successful people in your area.  This is a great change of pace of always being in celebrity awe online, now you can meet the true local successful people in your area through Meetups.

Many Twitter users are incorporating Tweetups in which its a meetup for Twitter users.

2.)  Join Groups/Associations

This may sound like common sense but people tend to join the wrong groups or don’t even join in the first place.

Join groups that provide value in your niche and show highly updated activities within the groups.  If your looking to connect with other Social Media experts, you would want to find groups with active members and are committed in helping other members.

By joining effective groups, you are gaining exposure and wisdom with other successful people in your group.  This will allow you to see what the experts are up to and what top new stories are being published right on your social network.

3.) Friend/Fan

Follow the top experts in your niche on the top social media sites out there.  It’s ok if they don’t follow you back or even engage conversations with you personally.  The point is to add these experts into your arsenal.   This is like a blogroll where people can view which powerhouse experts are associated with you providing you with more authority.

Go ahead and friend the experts on Digg, Myspace, Facebook & LinkedIN and Follow on Twitter.  It doesn’t matter if they friend or follow back, the point is that you added them to your knowledge rack and branded yourself with a power presence in your niche or field.

Who would you think has more authority as a Lawyer on Social Media, a user who has just personal friends and family or a user who has the top 50 Lawyers in the US along with personal and family friends? Perception is key.

4.)  Subscribe to RSS Feeds

If you don’t know what a RSS feed is yet, I suggest you do so.  A RSS feed will replace your over abundance favorite websites and e-mail subscriptions.

Start subscribing to as many top expert’s sites and blogs out there in your niche.  The beautiful thing about RSS readers is that you can add many sites/blogs without sacrificing organization and value.

Get your dose of your updated daily wisdom in your niche with beautiful top stories of experts in your area. Below are sites to help get your started in searching for experts and successful people in your field to follow

http://blogsearch.google.com/ – Google only uploads links in the blog search that have great value and authority.  An excellent place to find niches within the first 10 results. Find a top successful blogger in your niche find out who’s on his blogroll and follow those people.

5.)  Build a comment community

Commenting on other blogs in your niche is not only a good way to build SEO backlinks and Google pagerank but is also a vital role in networking with your niche blogger community.

When you focus on your niche, for example Social Media and you just comment on the top Social Media blogs, you are gaining exposure, authority and building a great presence for new associates and friends that will come out of commenting on blogs.

This can go hand in hand with your RSS reader where you would have all your all star RSS feeds in your niche and just remember to comment as much as you can to start building that presence and surrounding yourself in successful environments.

6.)  Chat

Utilize the Chat tools like Instant Messenger, Ustream and Hashtag chats to find and follow some amazing people in your niches.

The most common rule in Social Media is to always have your contact information displayed so you can engage and connect effectively. Displaying your IM screen names on Social Sites can help you connect with some successful players in your field.

A good tip in how to become a Power User on Twitter is to actively engage the top Digg users via instant messenger.  IMs are fast and easy access to get advice and start building a great relationship with the top experts.

Another great method is to find Ustreams and like Vidcasts that are going on within your niche.  A great way to start is finding when the next big vidcast will begin on Social Networks like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Vidcasts are great because not only you can really kick it up a notch in the engagement level but once again show your presence in building a stronger community with the top experts in your field.

Finally #Hashtag chats are found on Twitter.  These chats are formed on Twitter and are engaged on Twitter.  Once you determine which #hashtag chat to join, go to the Twitter search page and start tracking the #hashtag in the timeline.  These are becoming more and more popular because anyone can join the fun at anytime.

7.)  Conferences/Shows, Seminars & Barcamps

This is no secret, the most active, enthusiastic and successful people in their niche follow shows, seminar and Barcamps to gain more knowledge and networking exposure.  The weakest links will not devote their time to join these events and this is a great avenue to find your successful associations.

Barcamps are community content driven workshops.   These organizations are largely formed on the web and exposed mainly in Social Media.  This is the underground hype you may not find out on the streets but only in web 2.0.

You don’t have to leave your house to join these events you can join Web conference calls as well.  Web conferences are excellent resources for events on the fly and ease of accessibility.

Focus

The secret of success is focusing on goals and visions of success.  Surround yourself with successful people to help influence and inspire you on this path of success.

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