Friends, Followers, Fans, Likes, and Recommendations

Networking has always been about making connections, with the ultimate goal to build a mutually beneficial relationship – one that could ultimately lead to new business opportunities.

2011.4.14 Recommendation

Anyone that has attended a local Chamber of Commerce networking event knows that the converting connections into new business is nearly impossible.  You go back to your office with a handful of business cards and barely remember who gave them to you.

In contrast, social networking significantly increases your opportunities for building mutually beneficial relationships by establishing channels for sharing a great deal of relevant information in a short period of time.

The Social Connection Progression

If you are an entrepreneur or small business that has been active with social networking for a few years you have witnessed an interesting progression.  

LinkedIn gave us connections – a concept that is still valid today.  LinkedIn is still the best place to first take your connections online to see if you can build from them.  

How do you determine who to follow on Twitter?  For me it also starts with a connection, often as a result of someone retweeting one of my links.

Facebook requires a higher level of trust for most of us.  Our Facebook friends are usually those with whom we share common friends or interests. 

Friends can become Fans, but Facebook turned them into Likes.  The purpose behind this was clearly to encourage more interaction. Though liking something doesn't necessarily mean you are fan of it.  

Recommendations are the Holy Grail

A recommendation puts you on the spot – it makes you responsible.  As a result, you choose wisely.  

I have had colleagues ask me to recommend them on LinkedIn. While they may be my friends that I like, I cannot recommend them unless I have personally had a positive experience with their work.

Recommendations reflect directly back to you.  If you make a recommendation you are validating that person, company, or product.  

This is why personal recommendations are so powerful.  I recently reached out to one of my clients to ask for a connection to an organization that I'd like to work with.  He asked, "what do you want me to do?"

That's an excellent question, to which I replied:  Recommend me!

Google +1 Is A Recommendation

Yesterday I wrote an extensive article around Google +1. Google's +1 button appears to be an attempt to compete with the Facebook Like button – and it is.

After further consideration I've come to realize that it may be much more than that. Google is really asking you to put your reputation on the line.

I'm not sure if they will be successful, but I have a feeling they will.  If you are passionate about a company, product, or service, you want to recommend it because in a way it defines you.

In fact, +1 is actually digital shorthand for – this is pretty cool. That sounds like a like to me, but Google nonetheless classifies it as what it is – a recommendation.

My recommendation to you is this:  Forget about fans and followers and consider how you can earn more recommendations.

Keep your eye on Google +1 as an opportunity for doing this.

How do you think this could work to help you grow your business?

Please share your insights in a comment – and share this with your friends by clicking on the Facebook Like button.

And please consider subscribing to to learn more ways to profitably grow your small business.

Photo Credit:  sassholes

Enjoy your weekend,  Jeff   

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  1. Jeff what you say is so true. Everyday I receive emails from people telling me to look at this or that site, blog,ebook ect…
    Many times I look only to be disappointed in what is being offered. Several times it has resulted in my no longer accepting emails from the person that made the recommendation. You however are one of the best recommendations I have received.
    Thank You for your insight and guidance.

  2. Hillary – Wow – that’s a glowing testimonial to end the work week with.

    Thank You!


  3. Good post. I think that growing an audience on social sites like Facebook and Twitter is definitely important for all brands and individuals looking to make a name for themselves. However, this audience is only as good as what you make of it. As with all things in social media, you only get what you put in.

  4. Kevin – Exactly! Better to have a smaller and fully engaged community that supports you than thousands of followers that you really don’t have a human relationship with.