Goal setting is embedded in my DNA. Because something deep inside me gets so much satisfaction from completing them, I have to be careful that the goals I set are not colossal wastes of time and energy.
Not long ago I gave myself the goal of quintupling the number of connections I have. Ultimately of course, my goal was to gain more clients, do more speaking engagements, produce my own events and also just get the information I have to share, out to more of the people who need it.
I started with about 2,000 connections and (geek that I am) set up an Excel spreadsheet to keep track on a monthly basis of the number of new connections I would gain across the various social networks.
As of September 2011 I am officially the proud owner of more than 10,000 social connections (actually as of this writing nearly 12,000). So as not to be disingenuous, I'll be more specific. That means that across the five social tools I actively use - LinkedIn, Facebook, my email list and Twitter, 10,000 of my closest friends’ multiple personalities are following my daily habits. As I started sharing this news with a few of those friends the questions you might expect came up. How did I do it? Is this number impressive or lame? What does this actually mean for my business and my career? And how the heck does one keep up with 10,000 connections across multiple networks in a way that isn't a full time job?
Since you all know I'm a wee bit of a data geek I though it would be helpful to provide some context around what my communication process looks like with that many connections going on.
> 1,000 emails per week
20 LinkedIn requests per week
30 Twitter followers per week
3 Facebook friends per week
20 messages per week on LinkedIn
These numbers all shift up significantly when I've published a new post or I've been featured somewhere like when I was named one of the top 11 people to follow on Twitter.
I also want to mention that over the years I've noticed lots of people using tools like TwitterAdder in order to rapidly gain followers. While this can be useful (large numbers by themselves can seem impressive) I made a conscious decision to grow my network "organically". Basically everyone in my network is someone I either personally know, or who I personally connected with out of a specific interest, or who requested a connection with me. I generally also disconnect with people who send me spam.
My thinking has been quality over quantity. I think this strategy has helped my click through rates on twitter and Facebook which are traditionally dismal to be higher than many people's even though my content is not generally for entertainment or shocking.
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so you and your company won't miss a beat!
(and I promise no bottomless pit of despair)
How did I do it?
When I started my quest, I had about 2,000 connections. I was able to build an additional 8,000 connections in just 2 years. I strongly believe this is due to a couple of really big things that may unfortunately be hard to replicate, and then a lot of really small things that are actually quite easy for you to replicate - so easy in fact that sometimes people don't believe me.
Hard things to replicate:
4 Easy things to replicate:
These things may seem small but over the 24 months of this goal, I averaged just 300 new connections per month. That doesn’t seem like a huge number but it adds up. If you market consistently those small monthly numbers over time add up to big gains in the depth and breadth of your professional network.
I did begin the article with making sure the goals I set are not “colossal wastes of time,” yes?
Has it been completely worth it to have all these social connections? In order to save you some time, in the next post I’ll outline exactly how I LEVERAGE these 10,00012,000 connections and both what has and has not been worthwhile.
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