Quick tips on expanding your network and why it’s so important.
Grow it wisely; be proactive, strategic, diversify, pay it forward, be dedicated, keep in touch, and use social media!
Did you know that when you make a donation to charity, your brain acts in a similar way to when you are having sex or eating chocolate? It’s true. According to studies, our brains are built for generosity. We’re also much more successful when we show gratitude. This is human interaction—not anything robots or algorithms can give us. Forget the dollar, or the bitcoin, we’re talking about social currency.
In their study on social currency, the consulting company Vivaldi Partners defined social currency as “the extent to which people share the brand or information about the brand as part of their everyday social lives at work or at home.”
This sharing helps companies to forward their brand identities and deeper permission to interact with their customers. In today’s age, building social currency is an important investment for any business that wants to create community.
Community drives brand loyalty, creates a premium price, raises brand awareness, and, most importantly, it’s a brand worth sharing with their friends. It all leads to “real” currency. That’s money in the bank.
For example, after watching “The Minimalists” documentary on Netflix, I bought into the idea of cutting back on material possessions. My wife and I both cleared out our closets, we stuck with clothes that we always wore, we donated the ones we bought but never fit properly. It was fun—and it didn’t stop there.
I told my friends about the documentary, their books, and their podcasts. I became a brand ambassador for The Minimalists. They were helping me save money, make clearer decisions, not be so tired at the end of the day with the overwhelming amount of miniscule decisions I didn’t have to make anymore.
They connected to me, I connected my friends, my friends connected their friends and suddenly, they had a whole new community invested in their idea and brand. What started with an individual (me), grew to my network (1st degree friends), and then on to their friends. Before you knew it, Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation was buying into it.
In another example, I was recently shopping for a ceramic mug. A friend of mine, who started League Coworking in Toronto, posted on instagram how he had bought these beautiful mugs from burge.on —and now, I wanted one.
I messaged her on instagram because i couldn’t find where to buy them. She’s looking for retailers and an order for me would be 4–6 weeks away. I went into my local “museum/cutesy” store, Scout, because I needed one sooner. I told the owner about Burge.on and you know what? Scout’s owner reached out to Burge.on because it’s a product they should be selling.
I’m growing burge.on’s business and have spent zero dollars with her. I trust my friend, her product looks good, so, why wouldn’t a help a local designer?
Why? People believe in people. Millennials and Gen-Z are too smart. They grew up with branding and being told what to buy. What they want is what we all want — to believe in something special, to be a part of something that, hopefully, just maybe, changes the world, even if it’s just our own little world.
So, how do you grow your network?
Molly Beck has an idea. Her book, “Reach Out: The Simple Strategy to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence” tells us how she starts genuine professional relationships. She’s an introvert and every single day at 9:15 AM Molly reaches out to a new person in her network. You can listen to The Growth Show Podcast (by Hubspot) and hear a little bit more about her methods before buying the book. It’s how a little can do a lot.
Now, because you’ve read this far into the article and hopefully benefited from it, do me a favour, let’s test the theory. If you clap for this post or share it on social, it shows up in your friends’ feeds and my community grows. I
If you followed me on Twitter, it tells the algorithm, “I’m worth it”, and so other people in your network may find me as well.
If you share this on LinkedIn, it shows up on your friends’ feeds and they may read and share it. Could this even go viral?!? (No, but that’s another discussion).
The robot algorithms are pretty simple compared to our genetic code, but they are still a secret. One thing we all know, is that no matter the algorithm, they all need human interaction to make them work.