How do you use your social networks?

January 7, 2009

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!


A-Train Marketing has good Advice for the Networker

November 7, 2008

The Hook-Up –
Taking the work out of networking

Don’t be That Guy
How to avoid over-compensating for your small network

The guy who walks into the room, makes a b-line to the bar, chugs his first beer, and has seven more drinks in the next hour. Or the guy who gushes about his recent yacht purchase, his booming stock portfolio and his ever-growing relationship with the mayor. Or what about the lady who seems to think that airing her dirty laundry is a good icebreaker.

Let’s face it: no one wants to be that guy. Networking shouldn’t be about trash-talking your co-workers, it’s not a beer chugging contest and it’s not a place to brag about your financial status. It’s a place to meet like- minded professionals, make valuable business connections and create a lasting, positive reputation-and have fun while you’re doing it.

There may not be a purple pill for networking, but these tips are sure to arouse your success at your next business event.

The User
Remember, quality over quantity
A woman introduces herself to you as the owner of a local house-painting company and promptly asks if you need a new hue on your home. You tell her that you actually rent an apartment, and just like that she ends the conversation. With a quick “It was nice to meet you,” she wanders off. You’re left wondering what you said to offend her. The fact is, you didn’t say anything wrong-you just had your first encounter with The User.

The User doesn’t know how to make small talk about business, doesn’t know how to listen and simply skims the surface for potential clients, brushing off those that don’t fit the bill. Avoid being The User and create connections with those people that you network with. Even if you only talk to two or three people the entire night and make connections with all of them, you’ve succeeded. A genuine interest in those few people and their companies will ensure that they remember you and your business card.

The Braggart
Check your ego at the door
It’s true, networking functions tend to focus on matters of business, but that doesn’t mean you need to boast about your finances. Keep topics casual and don’t take the conversation to the bank. If you find the conversation migrating to matters of money rather than business, gently steer the topic in a different direction.

Also, avoid useless namedropping. If you’re talking with someone who you think might know a potential business contact for you and can strengthen your connection with that person, by all means, name drop. But for heaven’s sake, don’t brag about your 8 a.m. meeting with Sonny Lubick.

The Rookie
Because some topics of conversation are only meant for Facebook
Keep the pillow talk for the bedroom. Don’t drag your late-night escapades onto the networking breakfast table. Basically, don’t ever start a conversation with, “Dude, I downed way too many shots of (insert liquor here) the other night .”

Other common rookie mistakes: cursing and getting visibly drunk.

The Trash-Talker
Tell it to your Mom: No bad-mouthing at networking events
If you’re having boss or coworker troubles, keep it to yourself. Dishing your office drama only makes you look untrustworthy, unhappy and unprofessional. Remember, the person you’re networking with today could be your boss tomorrow (though it’s highly unlikely you’d ever get hired if you’re trash-talking your current boss or colleagues).

And even if your competition is nowhere to be seen at an after hours social event, there’s no need talk them down to other professionals. Focus your energy on talking yourself up.

The Anti-Networker
If you don’t want to network, don’t come
We all have those days when the last thing you want to do is schmooze. Sometimes it may be best to just call in anti-social to a networking event- because you don’t want to be confused for The Anti-Networker, the person who parks themselves in a corner and makes no attempt to speak to anyone. This person can also be found hiding amid groups of people, silently smiling and nodding as everyone else socializes. They often utilize props to distract others from their mute demeanor: munching on plates of meatballs, reading, and re-reading brochures or business cards, fiddling with their Blackberry or looking at artwork or nature photos like it was a fieldtrip.

The best way to be the anti-anti-networker is to just jump in head first. Be brave, listen attentively and promote the crap out of yourself.

You should probably check out A Train.  They are great!