Putting Your Social Network To Use

Over time, social networks become a place to accumulate contacts.  I’ve used LinkedIn for nearly five years, and tools like Facebook and Twitter have become part of a daily ritual.  Do you interact with those folks regularly, or is it a virtual rolodex accumulating dust?  Do you watch on the sidelines, or really engage?  I’ve written before about how I scrutize connections on social networks – I like to keep both Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to people I know or have interacted with in a meaningful way.  I’ve also discussed how social media can enhance real world relationships.  With little effort, we each can make these network connections more personal and useful.

Recently a friend contacted me about a potential job opportunuity at one of my clients.  Of course I’d be will to pass along a resume and make an introduction.  We started talking, and I suggested to go through my LinkedIn contacts to see if there are other potential folks she would be interested in talking to.  She was very appreciate of the help, which took a quick conversation and an email to make happen. It’s not difficult – so why don’t we do it more often?

Take a few minutes and think about the last time you helped someone out leveraging your social networks.  Bryan Person wrote a great post this week about how often he mentions himself vs. others in his posts on Twitter.  While social media and networks can be a great personal promotion vehicle, there is definitely a sense of contributing to help others that makes the networks meaningful.

I’d encourage you to take a moment after reading this and reconnect with someone in one of your social networks.  Personally, I like to connect dots to help folks – there’s some satisfaction from being able to leverage social networks to help friends out – either professionally or personally.  Some small examples:

 

  • I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and connected him to a reporter on Twitter who was writing an article about the same industry.
  • I noticed a contact changed jobs on LinkedIn, working for a company that our agency partners with, and reached out to her to see how things are going and share our experience in working with that company.  This helped her understand her company’s partner relationships and we may be working together on a future project.
  • A friend’s Facebook status read “I’m heading to Hawaii…” and I sent her some restaurant recommendations from our honeymoon trip many years ago.

These small interactions make your social network more relevant, meaningful and worthwhile – and one day those folks may come around and “scratch your back” too.  How can you help someone out?  Share a useful link, introduce a relevant connection, recommend a resource.  You’ll get more from your social networks than just “people watching.” 

How did your social network last help you?  Have a good story to share?

 

Photo credit: 7-how-7 via Flickr

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  • Brenda P.

    adam- was reading this and had to laugh.. in the last couple of weeks I have used facebook to: 1- find out if I need to use a passport to get into canada from a friend who just went, (no) 2- touch base with the director of photography on my documentary via the director’s connections, and 3- recommend a resaurant in Hilton Head. It is unbelievable to me the uses that have popped up. have a good one!

  • Brenda P.

    adam- was reading this and had to laugh.. in the last couple of weeks I have used facebook to: 1- find out if I need to use a passport to get into canada from a friend who just went, (no) 2- touch base with the director of photography on my documentary via the director’s connections, and 3- recommend a resaurant in Hilton Head. It is unbelievable to me the uses that have popped up. have a good one!

  • Adam, good post. Leverage is not a bad thing when one has so many contacts-it’s why we use LinkedIN in the first place. Though some people look at # of contacts like they’re badges to be earned. But what good is that?

  • Adam, good post. Leverage is not a bad thing when one has so many contacts-it’s why we use LinkedIN in the first place. Though some people look at # of contacts like they’re badges to be earned. But what good is that?

  • Allen Mireles

    Hi Adam,
    Just today as a matter of fact…I got an email saying that you were following me on Twitter. Checking out your profile led me to your blog, which I read and enjoyed.
    Also, I follow @skydiver on Twitter and recently passed a HARO tip along to a potential client, who contacted the author and will included in his upcoming book. Very cool.
    Watching the debates with Twitter’s election 2008 is an interesting experience also. Just saying. 😉
    Thanks for the follow and for a thoughtful post.

  • Allen Mireles

    Hi Adam,

    Just today as a matter of fact…I got an email saying that you were following me on Twitter. Checking out your profile led me to your blog, which I read and enjoyed.

    Also, I follow @skydiver on Twitter and recently passed a HARO tip along to a potential client, who contacted the author and will included in his upcoming book. Very cool.

    Watching the debates with Twitter’s election 2008 is an interesting experience also. Just saying. 😉

    Thanks for the follow and for a thoughtful post.