Anyone today can leverage social media’s ‘digital steroids’ to muscle up their networking efforts. But to do it in a strategic way, with heart and purpose, takes focus and not inconsiderable effort.
Importantly, you’ve got to want to do it for the right reasons.
If your heart’s in the right place and you’re happy to connect different folk for their respective mutual gain (not yours), now we’re talking - that’s when the magic will happen!
Being a good connector of people is all about being (a) aware and (b) proactive.
You need to listen and take note of what people are interested in and passionate about; alternatively, what’s bugging them? What issues are they facing that you can help them with, with a simple intro to the right person?
You need to not only ‘join the dots’ but also go to the extra effort of making the connection between people who may run in vastly different circles. This can be done in person, via email, or more likely these days, via Twitter or some other social network. Never assume people know each other - I’m constantly amazed when people who I think should know each other have never met!
Here’s an example of how a ‘connection exchange’ might pan out:
Mary might run an online business but struggles at times to come to grips with the technology side of things - you know this because of the sorts of things she says on Twitter and Facebook. Manny, on the other hand, is a whiz at SEO but he doesn’t talk tech - he writes a blog that explains SEO in easy to understand language. You see these two disparate ‘dots’ and you join them, maybe publicly on Twitter after you see Mary having another meltdown. The exchange might go like this:
Hi @MaryHatesTech - you should check out @MannySEOwhiz’s blog re SEO tips for small biz; Manny, Mary has awesome gig called OnlineBiz :)
So, with one tweet you’ve linked Mary to someone who publishes great information about a topic she can’t get her head around; for Manny, not only might he pick up another reader (and potential advocate) but also might score himself a new client into the bargain. For instigating the introduction you not only get the warm and fuzzies (and let’s face it, we all need more ‘warm and fuzzies’ in our life!) but you’ve provided genuine benefit to both parties. Who knows where that might lead down the track?
That’s an example of a quasi commercial connection i.e. someone has a problem or an issue that you might be able to assist with by making a timely introduction.
Then there is what I call the ‘philosophical common ground’ connection.
Dionne Lew - aka ‘The Social Executive’ - is terrific at connecting people with common interests. She takes notice of what people are talking/tweeting/writing about and then introduces them if she thinks there would be a ‘good fit’ intellectually and personality-wise.
For example, I have a philosophy of sorts that I call ‘The Connected Brand’ that I’ve been banging on about for a few years now.
Dionne knows and understands this and so every now and then she will connect me with someone online who in her opinion shares a similar philosophy. Here’s an example from just the other day:
Indeed, Dionne has connected me (and countless others) with like-minded souls. Just last week she brought a number of us together for an informal ‘digital dinner’ - thus connections made (and instigated by Dionne) on Twitter spilled over into the ‘real world’, as it so often does.
#digitalk @trevoryoung @chrisriddell @socialmediamons @zobi1kenobi @shawnbsmith pic.twitter.com/UypfgvCji3 — Dionne Kasian-Lew (@DionneLew) November 19, 2014
Join the revolution! The 'Reputation Revolution'. LinkedIn group for aspiring thought leaders http://t.co/JAi2ZhWxx5 cc @trevoryoung — Dionne Kasian-Lew (@DionneLew) November 21, 2014
Dionne has a generous spirit - watch her on Twitter or LinkedIn and she’s always sharing other people’s content and linking people together around common points of interest. She doesn’t do it merely to grow her network (although that’s a side-benefit - Dionne has over 19,000 followers on Twitter and is super-connected on LinkedIn), she does it because it’s in her DNA to do so.
Reciprocity comes Dionne’s way all the time as she in turn is introduced to new people and opportunities as a result; but again, this is not why she does it. It’s simply a neat by-product of being generous, observant, adding value and connecting people proactively and with heart.
There are loads of examples below:
. @trevoryoung meet @SocialCheck_ potential video interview here think you'll like connected philosophy — Dionne Kasian-Lew (@DionneLew) November 25, 2014
@BenGilchriest Thanks Ben by the way have you met @chyams? Ben led http://t.co/MVYuEJjiNc Caro, would make a great @FirebrandTalent post — Dionne Kasian-Lew (@DionneLew) February 13, 2014
@chyams have a look at @chrisriddell he's speaking, thinking & writing a lot in areas @FirebrandTalent blog covers #ofinterest and meet :-) — Dionne Kasian-Lew (@DionneLew) October 7, 2014
Have you any other recommendations of people who are passionate connectors on social media?