How do you use your social networks?

Whether you are a wide-open networker, like Viveka or Mari, or a strategic networker, like Peggy, you’ve probably had to spend a little time deciding who you will befriend and who you will ignore on your various social networks.

Note: This blog jointly written by Viveka von Rosen, Mari Smith and Peggy Dolane and is an example of the power of social marketing.

Viveka von Rosen, @linkedinexpert

Viveka Von Rosen is the CSMO (Chief Social Media Officer) of Integrated Alliances, and the Social Media and Marketing Director for The Executive Center. A victim of expensive and ineffective traditional marketing, Viveka was able to double TEC’s business through social and F2F networking. It is now her passion in life to help others build their businesses through social media strategies.

I am what you might call a promiscuous networker. In fact, I never say no to anyone (on LinkedIn that is.) Folks like me are known in LinkedIn as LIONS (LinkedIn Open Networkers). And to be completely transparent, LinkedIn doesn’t like us much.

Since I am in the field of social media strategy and marketing, I feel I need a giant network as a service to my clients. In numbers this means I have 4200+ direct connections and 17+ million in my LinkedIn Network (and growing). Both my Twitter and Facebook networks are significantly smaller only because I am a late-comer to both. It has been my experience, that the larger the network, the bigger the portal into the LinkedIn world, and the more likely I am to find the diamond amongst the gravel that my clients are looking for. It’s true that I might not be able to give the warmest introduction to someone I don’t know well, (unless I do) but I am at least able to give an introduction. A large network is most useful for Job Seekers and people in Sales and Recruiting where it is a numbers game.

“C” level folks will probably want to remain “LaMBs” (“Look at My Buds”) LaMBs (like Peggy) know everyone in their network, and if you are lucky enough to connect with one, you will find their network much more useful than a LION network. LIONs love LaMBs. I can contact Peggy and I know she knows everyone in her network and could, should she choose, give me a very warm written, perhaps even verbal recommendation.

Mari Smith @marismith:

Mari Smith is a Relationship Marketing Specialist and Social Media Business Coach. Dubbed the Pied Piper of the Facebook by Fast Company, Mari helps entrepreneurs to grow their business profits using an integrated social marketing strategy.

For Facebook®, I would call myself a strategic networker more than an open networker. My strategy from the get go (July 2007) was to reach out to all the big name influential people I could find in my industry: authors, speakers, trainers, internet marketers, even celebrity actors, etc. If certain people were not yet on Facebook, I would find a way to contact them and help them get set up (which is why Fast Company calls me “the Pied Piper of Facebook®!”)

Then, what I endeavor to do consistently is what I call “Radical Strategic Visibility.” Because of the News Feed feature of Facebook®, by deliberately and strategically choosing all my activities, I can show up in the feeds of these highly influential friends to the point they contact me.

I like to say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know… and *who knows you.*” Facebook® provides an unprecedented opportunity to position yourself consistently as THE go-to person in your niche/industry.

Peggy Dolane, @freerangemom

Peggy Dolane, principal at Provient Marketing, designs affordable marketing programs and writes engaging copy that turns your audience into customers.

My strategic network isn’t huge – it’s somewhere around 300 people. That includes about 100 people I follow closely on Twitter, about 100 LinkedIn contacts (all of whom I have worked with or know personally), about 100 Outlook contacts, and perhaps 50 friends on Facebook. I’m not counting the hundreds of families I know through my kid’s school, church or community service projects I’ve been involved in – but I probably should!

What it doesn’t have in numbers, it makes up in relationships. I define my strategic network as my community – people I know well enough to ask for a favor. My goal is to build relationships, not numbers of contacts. I don’t accept every invitation I get on LinkedIn, for example, because every one of my LinkedIn contacts are people I’d feel confident in recommending their work and having it reflect back on me. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t actively mine LinkedIn via participating in groups and answering questions as opportunities to connect to new people. (Just email me for free copy of my LinkedIn Marketing Checklist.)

I am an open networker on StumbleUpon, Digg, and BizNik. I use these networks to reaching out to new and broader audiences. Frankly, I’m still growing into my open network strategy. I believe open networking has great value, but I’m still cautiously opening my network doors. I’m fairly open on Twitter – following back nearly anyone who looks like I have something in common with and who isn’t just amassing followers.

People to Follow

One of the great things about networking is meeting new people. With that in mind we thought we’d introduce our readers to people we think you might be interested in following:




  • Mike Witt, — Mike’s passion is helping people grow their at-home businesses. He’s got a network of 750+ friends on Digg that he uses judiciously, without spamming.


Next month
We plan to explore how we grow our networks. But in the meantime, what type of networker are you? Lion, Lamb or something else all together?

We hope you’ll leave a comment here about your networking style, then join us LIVE on Twitter on Wednesday, January, 14, 2009, 8 – 9 p.m. Eastern Time to explore more about the pros and cons of open vs. strategic networking. You’ll have a chance to meet a great group of people, and who knows, even learn something!


8 Responses to How do you use your social networks?

  1. Peggy Dolane says:

    It’s exciting to do this project with you. Looking foward to the tweet-in on 1/14. Hope to meet a lot of your readers there!

  2. Mari Smith says:

    Thanks a mil for this initiative, Viveka. I’m delighted to collaborate with you & Peggy. 😉

  3. frank says:

    So far i’ve focused on Twitter and Linked in for business and building connections with people where we mutually benifit eachother or create value for one another in some way.

    I LEARN a TON from the people i follow in Twitter. The amount of information shared and type of information shared is top notch due to the people i have selected to follow. I don’t just follow everyone … i try to follow people who have something to offer and people that i can offer something to.

    LinkedIn is pretty much centered on people who i have actually worked with in some way. I try to do a decent job writing rec’s for those that i very much feel would do a GREAT job in their profession.

    Facebook is another story for me. I have resered that for family and close firends for the most part – for better or worse. It’s where i put more information about personal stuff, pics, vids, bla bla bla … the type of people i am friends with there are at least sort of intereseted 🙂

  4. Very interesting piece. I’m relatively new to social marketing — at least with active participation. I signed up for Facebook and LinkedIn eons ago, but never really used them.

    Twitter is a different story. I more or less rejected it when I first learned what it was (about a month after it launched), and was that ever a big mistake! I’ve been active there for about six weeks and have seen real value exchanged. Both my following and follower counts are well over 1,000 and it’s been relatively effortless.

    How to capitalize on Twitter from a business standpoint is another issue. While I’ve made a few really good connections that will result in guest posting opportunities and maybe even collaboration on projects, I haven’t seen a clear cut avenue other than a few visitors to my site. My niche is workplace and career issues, which is far larger than almost anything else because the vast majority of us either lead/manage or are frontline workers. Entrepreneurs are in the minority.

    That said, on Twitter, the most action is in marketing, discussing social media, and technology. I think my area of interest is almost ignored.

    So far as LinkedIn and Facebook are concerned, I have to learn what they’re about and how to use them. Looks like this will be much more challenging than Twitter.

    Best wishes for your continued success.

    Jerry Roberts

  5. First off thanks or the invite Viveka. Like other areas of my life I play different roles in different settings. I respect the Lambs and the authenticity of intimately knowing and referring people in their networks. And I play that role on FB. I am more interested in connecting with old and new friends there.

    Linked In allows me to play my professional role, where I rely on my current network, but am open to expanding. I am figuring out how to use Linked In more effectively in my business.

    Twitter is my new toy. I am not sure how exactly to use it yet, but if has been fun just playing and learning. Here I want to be a Lion. Iw is like a giant party and you never know what is going to happen or what conversation you are going to connect into. I appears to be a larger time commitment then the other two, so I am limiting my time there and attempting to keep focus. But again, for now it is a new toy and part of that is having fun with it.

    Look forward to the Tweet-in, I will be a bit late, but should be there.


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