They’ve steadily grown over a few years. You’ll have a mixture of good friends, colleagues, customers and clients, suppliers and distributors and a healthy number of people you know only in cyberspace.
And if you’ve moved jobs or moved company, you probably picked up a number of recruiters, agents and other professional services contacts that were relevant at one time or another but not necessarily now.
The unwritten rules of ‘social networking’ (which if you do it in a business context make the very name a little absurd) seem to focus on quantity not quality. Social networking experts suggest you build an audience quickly and then take the time to refine it over time. Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook as examples of mainstream platforms all offer recommendations, make it easy to search and invite lots of contacts to connect, follow or become a fan.
I disagree with this well preached approach for two pretty fundamental reasons.
1/ Who ever bothers to or has the time to conduct a spring clean? Have you ever actually tried it? If you started out with a numbers game in mind, it’s a nightmare job to undertake.
2/ More importantly, don’t you want to be engaging with the like-minded niche? Isn’t marketing about being targeted, about being relevant? If you adopt a ‘connect with everyone’ approach in social networking, what message are you conveying? How are you going to be perceived – as a professional or an opportunist?
Some will disagree but personally I avoid the list builders on Linkedin (look out for the LION), avoid high follow and spamming Twitter networkers (the clues are there in their numbers and tweet content) and look for people that inspire me, offer something interesting or different, or can give me information.
I propose anyone starting out now on their digital journey to do the same.