Social Media – Don’t be a Contact Collector; Be a Contact Cultivator

The following is the second in a series on social media.

The goal of social media is to build relationships, not just to collect contacts. If you’ve been on any business networking sites, you’ve likely seen people with 500+ connections on LinkedIn or 4,000 friends on Facebook. At first you may think, “Wow, that person sure knows a lot of people.” But does he or she really know those connections? Or is this person just collecting contacts?

Rather than accepting and sending invitations to anyone, be mindful of whom you connect with. When you do make a connection with someone, look over his or her profile and then add a personal note to the person where you indicate a shared interest, club, affiliation, etc. For example, you could respond to someone by writing, “I see you attended Northwestern University (or are a member of the Miami Business Association, or have a pet beagle…). I have a similar interest in that I (also attended Northwestern…am a member of the Tulsa Business Association….have a dog named Summer…etc.).”  You get the idea. Find a shared interest to build upon that will make you stand out and open the lines for real communication later.