In this age of social media, it’s hard to know whether you have true connections with people.
Are your connections meaningful? Or do you suffer from Social Media Friending Connection Overload?
It might sound harsh, but it’s okay to go through your Facebook profile and “purge” your friends list. Be picky! If you are getting updates in your news feed about the mother of your child’s best friend from 15 years ago, it might be time to quietly remove her. Keep useful people in your list: those you have a close in-person connection with, and people you’ve met who share a lot of common interests or are in your industry. If someone reaches out to you, weigh the pros and cons of including them in your network. Many people are afraid of the embarrassment if they’re asked, “Why aren’t we friends on Facebook?” – but consider this: do you really care to read all about their personal life in your news feed? Beware those who over-friend! Though you may have met them briefly at a party, it doesn’t mean you need access to each other’s personal information.*
Just focus on quality, not quantity!
Constantly updating your status on Facebook or LinkedIn, using Twitter six times a day… if you don’t have a network that’s focused on people who will really absorb your message, you’re sending out your thoughts to dead air. Try to consolidate your statements and update only once or twice a day.
Building a “Harvard network” is your main goal here. Ivy League graduates often have the closest-knit alumni networks – referring business to one another, using each other as clients or business partners, etc. Think about your contact pool – do you have strong alumni relationships to draw from? If not alumni, then look to your industry – are there people in your line of work who you’ve known for a long time and have mutual respect for you?
Create a list of 20 potentially powerful connections. Use people you already know but haven’t used as a resource yet. Think about who you need to connect with to build your business success. After you’ve narrowed down your “Top 20,” focus on building connections with them. Invite someone to lunch, stop by their office to chat, or send them a note. And remember: you don’t have to friend them on Facebook.
[*Note: If you’d still like to keep your large network of “friends,” be sure to beef up your privacy settings – you can tell Facebook which of your friends are allowed access to your full profile, and which people are only allowed to see basic stuff. Also consider setting up a Facebook page for your business – that way you can friend social connections through your personal profile, and keep business connections in your business network.]