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.
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.
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Photo Credit: sassholes
Enjoy your weekend, Jeff