In an earlier post I outlined an example of a social media failure. In that example I related how I was contacted by somebody that wanted to add me to their professional network. After some brief exchanges with them it was clear that their request was not to make a meaningful connection, rather they were simply interested in growing their network “number.” Following this experience I thought it only fair to give equal attention to an example of a social media success story.
A few years ago I was contacted through LinkedIn by Rhett Wilson. We had never met, but our professional networks shared a few connections. Rhett and I shared other similarities, namely our professional path and age. Instead of simply requesting to be connected on LinkedIn, Rhett and I discussed first connecting via phone to share our work experiences and to talk through topics related to our shared work and age demographic. Following our first phone call we agreed to stay connected both on and off LinkedIn. Over the past couple of years, we’ve also had the opportunity to meet in person a couple of times.
It has proven to be highly valuable to have a professional contact outside of my regional network. Rhett has been able to give me critical unbiased third-party perspective on challenges and opportunities related to the profession. I hope I have been able to serve a similar purpose and prove to be an asset in Rhett’s professional network.
This experience reinforces insights and recommendations outlined in a recent CNN Money article, The Real Way to Build a Social Network. I highly recommend this article for those looking to expand their professional network in an authentic way.