Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

Should Social Media Be Run As Open Or Closed Networking?

August 3, 2009

Social media in general, and LinkedIn specifically, can be considered as a Chamber of Commerce. Enter the virtual room and see many other business people there in scores of professions. It is not exclusive, there is no commitment, no accountability, no vetting of profiles, and little expectation of passing referrals to each other. You make of the relationships what you put into them, which admittedly is difficult in social media. There is great potential value in meeting other business professionals like this but how can you make it work positively for you?

First, let’s investigate the controversy between open and closed networking. If I have a closed network of people whom I already know because I restrict my connections only to people I have a relationship with, then what service does social media offer to me? I can contact them by alternate easier means. What is the compelling reason to use social media as a followup to the methods that actually brought the connections together with me? Does social media enhance our relationships? Will it lead to significant new relationships with qualified business people? Is your closed network any different from the CRM program on your local computer?

Next, let’s contrast closed networking with an open network system. When your social media methods include the philosophy that you are willing to connect with anyone to see if you can mutually benefit each other, you will grow your network far beyond the limitations that are self-imposed in a closed network. Instead of several dozen closed contacts with little chance for growth, you are exposing your profile to the world business community and inviting open networkers to connect with you. Will all of them be the type that you want to spend time and effort on, to trade referrals, to count on as a business resource? No, you will find that blindly pursuing connections will build an open network of low potential use to all involved.

Can you be an open networker and build your connection base within the professions that will likely be in your industry or have the same clientele as you? Yes, that can easily be accomplished. When you grow your network in a focused manner, you will end up with a valuable resource where new business can be successfully explored.

The LIONS, Toplinked, GroupLinked, Open Networkers and other social media groups instill a frame of mind that encourages people to connect. Now you gain the ability to broaden your sphere of influence to people in other cities, states and countries without fear of the IDKs that will cause connection blocking from social media management. You can choose to grow connections to a hundred, a thousand or much more. As the connections continue to be focused by industry and clientele, a useful network grows stronger and more effective.

Well, this is exactly what I have done and I have been successful at it. I have significant new business as a result, with plans to gain more new business in the near future. Keep the concept of open networking active, because it can help you grow.

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