If you’re doing business in today’s market, you know how small the world of business is getting. You can join hundreds of new sites, get new tools and, most importantly, build a community that works for you. These communities will bring you new business. Here are a few things to consider when looking for new social networking projects.

A Harvard professor, Dr. David McClelland, took on a 25-year research study into factors that contribute most to ones success. He stated that, holding constant for education, age, opportunities, and occupation, the most important factor in anyone’s success is their “reference group.”

Who am I to argue? With that in mind, let’s visit some of these aspects.

Have a Plan and Maximize Your Potential

We’ve all read and know enough about social networks, that it’s understood you can build outstanding communities. I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen to join social networks; while most are already doing so, many are not maximizing their true potential. Most will also lie about who they really are. We all embellish a little bit here and there, but after it’s all said and done, the real you will surface.

One thing we often forget to do when we network is to have a plan – a strategy. It seems everyone is joining networks because that’s what they’re supposed to do. Remember, however, when you join, it’s because your goal is to meet people who know more than you do.

  • Your goal is to meet people that you are proud to associate with
  • You goal is to meet people that can be your friends, associates and mentors
  • Your goal is to meet people who can nurture and provide positive feedback
  • Your goal is to meet people who are not afraid to tell you your ideas suck

With these ideas, you can now place people into categories: non-ambitious vs. ambitious, non-helpful vs. helpful and going nowhere vs. going places. The groups you choose to join will ultimately determine your success.

Stay Away from Mass Social Networking

If I had to sum up everything I’ve learned so far about social networking, I’d say stay away from the masses and the buzz. Some would argue, “How can you learn unless you join the big guns”, but I’ve noticed something about the big guns. After the love affair and awe is over, many lack the fundamental qualities I look for in a person or community. You become part of the sheep, being herded into buying their books or manifesto.

I’m not sure why or how it happens, but fame seems to do something to people, whether they’re in the political arena, entertainment or, yes, social media. They reach a certain status and something happens that turns me off. Maybe it’s their ego or their promises start to fall by the wayside. Either way, it’s my personal opinion that you should join mainly fresh and intelligent groups with credentials rather than famous-overnight telephone repairmen.

I know a lot of you are probably thinking I’m being very judgmental, but I have to admit, intelligence turns me on. Not fame, not whom they know, but what’s deeper than their marketing department has thought up over the weekend.

I happened on a blog over the weekend that really touched on this aspect. I’m not going to get into it, but suffice it to say, everyone reading their blog thought they came up with this “genius” idea. What was sad and, yes, frustrating, is they didn’t. They merely copied someone else and didn’t have the decency to give credit where credit was due.

Social Networking Done Right

A good example I can share with you is Jeffrey Daniel and Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. For years, the world always thought it was MJ’s creation; it still gives Michael Jackson credit, in fact. Guess what, people? Jeffrey Daniel created the “moonwalk”, which he called the “backslide”. Granted, if it weren’t for Michael the world would’ve never seen this dance step, embraced it or tried to copy it. My point, however, is that I would have liked to know the origin. It’s the right thing to do.

Social networking, when done for the right reasons, can fulfill your societal needs. Not only will you get to know some great people but also, they’ll get to know you. It can broaden your perspective and ultimately open doors of opportunities you’ve never considered. It can increase the number of people who respect you and recommend you. It gives you more control of your business goals. It fulfills your basic human need for social interaction and establishing friendly relationships.

Ultimately, social networking can become one of the most fulfilling and beneficial aspects of your job.