Jim Cody has 62,000 followers on LinkedIn and 6,500 on beBee, which makes him one of the most connected in the world on business social media platforms. While I can't say for sure, I believe he is the most connected Baby Boomer worldwide.
Regardless, I think it's safe to say that most people don't have that kind of following, especially in Jim's demographic. Jim's personal social media network exceeds those of many well-known companies.
He was kind enough to share with us how he built such a massive network on social media.
In the Navy, Jim was a machinist on the USS Bryce Canyon AD-36 a destroyer tender that served in the Pacific Fleet during the Vietnam War. After the Navy, he spent his career in management positions in the manufacturing industry.
I met Jim on LinkedIn, at a time when I needed help with PR for my startup company, a social media marketing firm. He doesn't fit the demographic of a social media power user and most jobs in social media go to younger Millennials.
While it may have been an unusual hire, after meeting Jim, I knew I needed his help. Luckily for me, he accepted my offer, and we've been working together ever since.
Here's why I hired him:
Jim's massive network on social media presented a unique opportunity for my company. I engaged Jim to help me with my campaigns on social media. When he shares content to his profiles, many people click on it.
The result has been a substantial boost to my SEO. Traffic to my website, blog, videos, and photos has skyrocketed.
Before hiring Jim, I was curious to see what type of influence he has on social. I know what some of you are thinking, "Who cares about quantity. It's all about the quality of one's connections."
After following Jim's work on social media, I could tell that he was influential. After many years in management, Jim had apparently developed a voice that people listen to.
With a social media marketing company, most of my employees and vendors work remotely. So, hiring someone with integrity to do what they say they are going to do without being supervised is a must for me.
After just one conversation with Jim, I could tell he was a man of his word. His record in the Navy as a veteran and his career in management speak for themselves. I knew that when I needed Jim to do something, he would do it without me having to worry or following up to make sure it gets done.
I asked Jim to share some insights on how he built such a large following on social media and to share a few tips for others who may want to monetize their networks.
Here is what he had to say:
Always be genuine and helpful to your connections. While self-promotion is big on social media, it's not a one-way street. People are more open to your promotional content when you engage on theirs first.
Don't stay in your little circle of friends. It amazes me that LinkedIn suggests you, "only connect with those that you know well." If I wanted to do that I would just go to the grocery store down the street or stop by church. I've built a global network of some very interesting people that I would have never met if I would have followed LinkedIn's advice.
I'm not saying connect with spammers, but be open to connecting with people from different backgrounds, cultures, and professions. You just never know when an "unknown" will become a difference maker in your life.
Hiring Jim wasn't a textbook hire. But it has worked out well for both of us. Jim has some extra money on hand he can use to play around with during retirement. I have a trustworthy partner whose robust social media network has made a huge difference in the success of my startup.