Friday, January 23, 2009

Notworking! (TM pending)

Business networking has taken off in recent years. More people are finding their way online and in search of new ways to find people to help build their personal network, and of course the possibility - the hope - that new business will result from this magical and ever-growing network they are developing. From the first tiny seed, they envision a massive tree of branches, carrying bounteous fruit in the form of New Business.

As owner of several networks, moderator of several more, and member of more still, I am exposed to a lot of networks, networking people, and ideas on what constitutes "good networking online" and am happy in most cases to proceed as something of an 'open networker'. Up to a point. I'm happy to connect with new people I don't know yet, and willing to be open to develop a relationship with them if that opportunity arises over time into the future.

This open-ness of course ceases when someone displays evidence of being a pest.

So here's the deal. Want to network? Sure. Great. Join me on Facebook. Invite me to your network on Linkedin. Follow me on Twitter and enjoy access to a little bit of me and my thoughts, and if the occasion arises, a bit of help along the way. A headsup here, an idea there, a laugh or thought or other shared moment, as we learn about each other and navigate the path from respected stranger to welcome friend.

Want to progress that relationship? Move it along a bit faster? Notice if I do something that you find is useful and give me feedback. Send me a private message to say hello. Ask me a question. Send me a funny line or a clever quote. Think of something interesting that I will be entertained by, and I'll love it. I'll respond when I can and if we get on really well I might even let welcome you in to my closer circle of contacts. That's reasonable conduct is it not?

The kind of way that a relationship of any kind may develop.

Know me.
Like me.
Trust me.

This seems incredibly straightforward to me.

Instead I see increasingly, examples of a quite different approach.

It is more like:

You don't know me.

You impose on my better nature with:

A deluge of self-absorbed propaganda, sales letters and invitations to lame networks on topics that have no interest and which you've lazily clicked on "invite all" with the complete disrespect to your full list of contacts, that you've shown me.

A self-serving (and entirely misguided) virtual graffiti explosion on my network page in the delusion (supposedly) that it is going to reap you some reward. Or worse - you bombard my whole network membership with the same.

You continue to imagine in your delusion, that this is endearing to me.

One For The Record

Whatever it is that you think you are doing when you do this to me or any other of your network connections, it is not networking. It is simple bad manners.

It is not marketing.

It is not selling.

It is not building relationships.

It is not engendering trust.

Whatever it is... Stop it.

Thinking Of Getting A Business Coach?
Lindy Asimus
Design Business Engineering

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My sentiments exactly Lindy - great post!

People online often forget networking is much the same as meeting someone in person. You certainly do not barrage them first off with what services/products you provide as nowadays most are socially savvy and can smell a spammer a mile away!

Basically I stick to these 2 main rules: BE GENUINE and BE YOURSELF. Aferall, that is what makes you unique and what will attract the right people, resulting in you benefiting in many ways, making the whole experience less of a chore, and ultimately, more rewarding!

Alex ;)

Anonymous said...

Well said Lindy, it can't be said enough! As for whatever it is they are doing, heck I don't believe they even know what that is!! :)

lindyasimus said...

Maybe we should do up a chart with the circles and the circles with the stripe across indicating NO.

Perhaps the problem would be finding an acceptable universal standard.

If that kind of standard was adhered to 4/5ths of the networks would be redundant. As perhaps they are already...

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that blog posts like this even need to be written. The people buying into a business concept with no working knowledge of how to sell grow daily. Many in the MLM structure were taught to market this way. The others with a online business resort to spamming forums - both using desperation marketing.

It is my opinion that a high percentage have never done any face to face sales. On another forum I read one person who was to scared to even pick up the phone and call contacts..WHUT? That person just placing ads in local trade prints and running online ads. An ad, your website are the doors to your business, they are not your sales person.

The same applies to social business networking. Posts are doors to your business, not your sales staff. if one is using topic posts and blogs on networking sites as their sales staff, they will be disappointed with results. The sad part is many do not know how to measure their own "marketing" effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

Education is needed, sadly those need to learn how to effectively network the most aren't listening.