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Social Media Networking- Why Should I?

Jun 28, 2008
One of the objections I often hear from people is "I don't have time to network online!" but do you have time to

* Professionally Network
* Find a new friend
* Share your ideas
* Build your business
* Market yourself
* De-stress?

What about:

* Elevate yourself as an industry expert
* Establish connections in other industries
* Increase the efficiency of your networking
* Offer introductions to your niche-experience on a daily basis?

While online networking is not the "end all, be all" of making personal connections, it has one valuable strengths that very few real world venues have- economy of scale.

If you have the time to introduce yourself to one new person a day, wouldn't it make sense from a business perspective to take that same amount of time and be introduced to fifty?

When I write this article or post to a forum, my thoughts are communicated to dozens of potential contacts, perhaps even thousands. If I went into a coffee shop with the expectation that I would have to say the same phrase over and over again to a hundred different people as I look for a good connection, it would take me days of effort. I would spend the entire time trying to expand my network with little result. In my best real world opportunity, I would attend a networking event where I may have the chance to meet people in groups and who are willing to listen to my message.

Considering how much time I wasted in the real world trying to connect with a hundred people as I restated my statements and repeatedly asked for permission, the basis of networking online is that readers have given me permission to talk to them and they assemble in groups for me. If I am sharing thoughts of interest, they are actively engaged with what I am saying. I don't have to approach them and get a cold shoulder, its more like I am talking to a group of people at a cocktail party and they come into the conversation by their own choice.

The beauty is, this cocktail party is happening 24/7, 365 days a year.

That has amazing relevancy. Readers choose to join the conversation. I don't bend their arm to listen. If they find value, they start talking. If they don't, they move on. For decades marketing has tried to force the idea of "opt-in mailing lists" for physical and electronic mail, as well as frustrating us with the need of "do not call" lists to maintain our sanity on our personal phones.

Case in point- Right now, I have no control over whether you are reading.

As an industry expert, imagine the power of sharing your ideas and thoughts. People who are interested find little bits and pieces of inspiration and insight, and they either join the conversation or move on. Blogging attracts people as it is one of the only true "opt in" medias. If you don't like what I'm saying, go Google someone else!

If you are interested, join my conversation.

Take Biznik as an example of "economy of scale". There are 10,000 members browsing through the site and pondering different ways to connect. If I had to assemble 10,000 people in real life, my first challenge would be to actually listen to all 10,000 people.

30 seconds per introduction X 10k members = 80+ hours of introductions.

When I think about that time, I realize that my elevator pitch needs to be refined to an exact art and that I need to remember to pack a few bottles of water.

Now compare that to writing on the community forum or blogging this article. It took me thirty minutes to write this. Over the next few weeks several hundred people will read it.

Every single person who actually strikes up a conversation with me after reading it is pre-screened and wants to have a more in-depth discussion. On top of that- they can look at my existing social media testimonials to discover even more about me, and when they do contact me they have taken the burden of responsibility to find out who I am, rather than me taking the responsibility to tell them.

By taking the time to put myself out there in the online world, every real life interaction coming from this conversation is pre-qualified and interested in what I do. As time goes on, every introduction I have online becomes a growing archive that adds to who I am. Unlike a conversation I had over dinner last night, this very article will attract interest from readers six months later. Even when I am sleeping peacefully, someone may be introducing themselves to who I am.

Whether or not you find me personally or professionally interesting, I have no control over. Yet I will never know until the introduction has occurred.

My question to you-

Will you take the time to give me the information I need to find an introduction to you?
About the Author
Barry Hurd is President, author, speaker, and voice of 123 Social Media - Social Media Training. He has a history of over fifteen years working on numerous innovative efforts with online business models: past projects have included NIKE, REI, TMP Worldwide, Monster.com, Verizon Superpages, Intuit, and RIS Media.
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