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Two Ways to Make Social Networking Really Pay

First off I want to apologize to anyone who came to this post expecting to hear about some new secret tool or approach for gaining Facebook fans.

The reality is that you make social networking pay the way you’ve always made networking pay – by focusing on two things – who you can help and who can help you. (If you find that you initially recoil a bit at the bluntness of that statement, I’ll explain it in a way that may help.)

Image linus_art via Flickr CC

Now, if you accept that my basic networking statement is true, then you must surely also come to the realization that it’s not a numbers game – well, actually it is, but it’s not a “get lots of followers game.”

If you are going to limit your networking to those you can help or target and network with someone that can help you, you’ve got a real capacity problem.

See, in order to do either or both, you must actually get to know something about the hopes, dreams, goals and objectives of the person you’re trying to network with and you can’t do that with a “follow” or a “like.”

The surest way to make social networking pay is to build deeper relationships with fewer people. Likes and follows and witty tweets may create awareness for your brand and open doors for actual networking, but nothing can deliver the payoff of actually helping someone else get what they want or connecting with someone who can help you get what you want.

But here’s the really interesting thing about this point of view – you accomplish both – helping people get what they want and connecting with those that can help you get what you want in exactly the same way – and that’s by giving.

Here’s your 2-part assignment for the next month.

1) Identify five people that you know you can help and that you would appreciate your help and reach out and offer to do something very specific to help them with your only goal being to raise them up a bit and start to build a relationship based on giving.

2) Identify five people that you know can help you achieve an objective this year and reach out and offer to do something very specific to help them with your only goal being to become a resource and start to build a relationship based on giving.

Sure, all that helping people get what they want might cut into your tweeting, but by building fewer, deeper, stronger, authentic relationships in this very manner you can make your social networking efforts pay off royally.

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