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It's Not About Having 2,000 Followers

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia

Bread In case you didn't know, I'm a huge fan of Keith Ferrazzi and I really enjoyed the message from his first book, Never Eat Alone. If you haven't read the book, essentially what is says is never miss an oppotunity to genuinely connect with someone. Why eat alone when you can invite someone to join you?

So, this week finds me back at the family compound and this morning I started thinking about how important it is to connect with people in real life -- and not just connect online. 

You might think because of what I do that I would value a social media or online connection with someone more than anything. Not so.

I'll give you two examples in just the past two days of how taking a social media or online connection and shifting it offline has been beneficial in my business life:

1. This weekend, I had an absolute BLAST speaking with the ladies from the Smart Woman's Club. I received that invite to speak because I was a guest speaker on a teleseminar for The Principal Financial and the organization's founder, Smokie Sizemore (yes, that's her real name - and she's just as fabulous as her name implies) reached out to me after the event and asked me to speak to her group. At this weekend's event, I met a GREAT woman who has already connected with me on LinkedIn and she's going to help me do a BIG something that I've been thinking about for years!

2. I had dinner last night with one of my colleagues from a national PR firm. (SD, I don't eat beef, but that baked spaghetti DID look great!) I met him while I was chairing a track at the NetPromoter conference in San Francisco. We went out to dinner with a group in San Fran and that's when I learned he lives near the same town as my parents. We promised to connect when I was in town next and last night we did. The next time I meet with someone from their company, it'll be the CEO.

I think it's safe to say that we all agree that people do business with people they know, like and trust. And, what better way to enter the hallowed halls of trust than to meet them in person and "break bread"?

So,it's not really about how many people are following you on Twitter or how many connections you have on LinkedIn or friends on Facebook. The real measure of the strength of your network is how many people know, like and trust you. Numbers mean nothing if you can't mobilize your influence.


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Lena L. West


Oh, no...I never said that people should dump their connections. Rather, try to create relationships with the people who are already a part of their social media orbit. Less focus on the numbers - more focus on the relationships.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Tom Stockwell

Hi Lena, really enjoyed your post. I'm equally sure that no one is going to go out and dump all their social media connections but we do get myopic about what's trendy at times and forget fundamental humanity. Here's to Relationship building unplugged! Thanks!

Lena L. West

@Yvonne: I find that it's easy for people to measure progress by hard numbers, but the depth of relationships? Well, that's something that many people find too difficult to define -- at their own expense.

@Mary Ellen: Thanks for the kind words.

Thanks to you both for reading and commenting!

Mary Ellen Walsh

Bravo. I agree. It's relationship building. I'm glad to have just discovered you.

Mary Ellen Walsh

Yvonne DiVita

Lena, it would be wonderful if folks would understand that sometimes less is more. If you're truly intent upon building relationships, the goal should be in learning more about the people you meet, and not in meeting more people than anyone else.

But, Twitter and blogging and social media in general, has fostered this belief. How many friends do I have on Facebook, compared to my friends? How do I get more Twitter followers - the better to increase my message when I tweet it? How do I measure the number of people who visit my blog - so I can sell advertising?

In reality, it's never about any of that. It's about the true people connection. If only brands and big marketing firms would get the truth - and give real relationship building a try - they'd discover a wealth of friendships waiting to be made.

And, in the end - don't friends buy from friends - not strangers with a funny or creative Twitter handle?

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