Just got a new twitter follower who claims to be a Networking Ninja. He is following tens of thousands of twitter users and is followed by as many. I am just trying to keep my twitter head above water. If he is checking the 2 or 3 daily tweets of those he follows, he is watching millions of characters to pick those tweets that might help his business in some way. How could anyone with that workload still network at all?
In comparison, let’s examine at how much time it takes to be a reasonably good (not great) networker. You need to meet at least a new person a day, or five a week, to be good at networking. And those people you meet have to be good for your business or connect you with people who are good for your business. You can’t count meeting your child’s new friend’s parent, unless that parent might help you with your business.
To meet a person a day on average, for coffee, breakfast or lunch, or at events, you need to do all the background work to find 5 people to meet (who are going to be good for your business). That means picking the right events to go to and signing up. It means finding people whom you want to meet with and working on a schedule to meet, and then getting to the designated spot to spend the time to talk to them. Even a moderately good networker knows that if you don’t have a meaningful conversation or set up a time to have one, the contact doesn’t really count.
Recently, an entrepreneur who, with partners, started Feastly, said he started an online business to bring together those who want to meet new people over a meal. The social network was being used for truly social networking, and that, he believes, is its purpose.
The clouds parted, and I saw the essence of social networking. All the blog posts, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn updates, Pinterest and Instagram posts, etc., are simply the newest vehicles to bring people face to face. Are you are fashion designer having a show? Your followers may come to see the Spring line. Are you a baker who posts the doughnut of the day special? Maybe your followers will stop by to taste that yummy concoction! Are you a small business owner trying to sell more business to other businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits? Well,… Wait a minute! Maybe hold off on your social media work until you have five or more contacts you plan to meet face-to-face this week. What events are you attending? Who are you going to email to invite them to lunch?