To Network using social media or not to Network that is the question.
If you want your company to stand head and shoulders above the competition, you must commit to use a blend of traditional networking strategies combined with a targeted social media strategy. Traditional networking requires face to face meeting and developing meaningful connections with people that can make a difference in your life or business. A targeted social media strategy requires that you use the incredible volume of information and contacts available on the internet, but you carefully select who you will target and connect with.
Non relational approaches to networking can never work. Faceless websites, handing out bucket loads of business cards at conferences or sending pointless mass emails is not only ineffective, but can actually drive potential connections away from you. I have beaten this drum a lot in my previous articles around social media and networking. Networking is never about quantity, it is about the quality of relationships you can develop and sustain. The way your business or life turns out is directly proportional to the quality of meaningful relationships you can develop and most importantly sustain.
In this very competitive market place it is imperative that we are known. It is impossible to be needed if you are not known. So yes social media does serve as an opportunity to create awareness about what you and your business offer. Awareness does not create trust or meaningful connection. So if it is purely awareness that you want to create in the market place, then by all means continue to spray a diluted message into the market place and pray that someone will see it, need it, trust you and then approach you.
On the other hand you can identify your target market, companies and individuals within those markets. Target your social media and traditional networking strategies to research these companies and individuals. Develop a strategy to approach these companies and individuals. Then work to develop meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with these few targeted businesses and individuals.
All it takes is just one great mentor, coach, friend or individual who is willing to share an insight or make a really important introduction and you will catapult your life or business to amazing new heights.
It still remains crucial to build credible relationships with people and to get personal references and referrals. Building great businesses and personal success is still about trust. Real meaningful trust is delivered through references, endorsements and testimonials.
Social media allows us to have access to massive quantities of people. This is great as it means that we can easily access the people that we have targeted and discover how we can connect with them. We can research them and get to know them even before we meet them. When you have only 100 friends in your first line of connections, you can easily access over 10 000 people by association. Wow that is power.
The power is not in the fact that you can spray a meaningless message out to so many people. The power lies in the fact that you have access to such and incredible data base from which you can draw to develop your targeted networking strategy.
Become a value adder in the social media arena. Create awareness around who you are. Become part of the conversation that goes on in the social media arena and you are developing the first tier of connection with people. It is only when you target people and you take the conversation out of the social media realm that you can really leverage social media and turn it into something that will work for you.
Pray and spray tactics never worked before the advent of social media and the internet. These same tactics will not work now either. Human psychology is fundamentally still the same, technology can help us to become global and have access to masses of people, but fundamentally we still stay the same. We still have the same desires, needs and ways we operate and we still want to do business with people or businesses we trust.