Thursday, August 4, 2011

Is Social Networking, Networking?

Ok, so maybe this is one of those “the old guy just doesn’t get it!” deals but it’s my blog and I can say what I want.  I’m an active user of many of the leading tools and hopelessly behind on some of the newer sites, but what is the best way to use “social networking?”

I find that in many cases individuals that I meet with wear the number of sites and number of contacts as a badge of courage in the race to networking superiority.  I have met some tremendous networkers, but if you believe its all about the technology, you are sorely mistaken.

Here are some thoughts based on habits I’m trying to form (see previous blog on getting back up!).

  • Within 48 hours of meeting somebody you want to follow up with:
    • Send them a LinkedIn request with a detailed description of where you met and why you want to link.
    • An email reaching out to thank them or pass along something you thought they needed.
    • Enter their card into your outlook or download their VCF.  Most people don’t have as much information on the social media profile as they do on their card.
    • Set yourself a reminder task in Outlook to call them in 30 days.  In that reminder, write a note as to what you can give them when you get together.
  • If you don’t meet with them face to face within 90 days, you have wasted your time:
    • Just because you have them in your “network” what does it matter if there is no relationship?
    • When you meet, focus on how you can help them.  Remember you are plowing the long term ground, not the short term.
  • Be careful on Facebook and the like
    • Once it is there, it is there forever.  I know you are a high school or college student, but some day you will be an employable person!  Don’t live with any regret!  Employers check this stuff out.

Remember, networking is about relationships, not connecting.  Connecting is a transaction whereas relationships form the foundation of trust.  All good things come from trust.  All bad things come from the lack of trust.