Business Networking vs Social Media…

Written by Scott

Topics: Archives, Social Media, Work

business networking
Been plugging along on this post over past week or so…hope it’s at least somewhat coherent.

For years, even before starting my own business, I’d been invited to and even visited different business networking groups. And as a disclaimer, I will readily admit that I have not been to all types, and that some groups work really well for some people. But as you can tell from that disclaimer, they’ve never been a good fit for me…and here’s why:

1. The members: I’ve met some very nice people at these groups, but too many times they’ve included Mary Kay reps, Tupperware reps, other MLM members and the like, which don’t tend to be the kinds of full-time businesses with servers and networks. In other words, not a great fit for my business. Not to say these businesses don’t have value–they do. But there tend to be very few of the types of professional offices that I normally work with on a regular basis.

2. The categories: some groups limit membership within certain categories of business, which makes a lot of sense. However, when an IT-related category spans everything from software development to networking to hardware sales and every possible thing in between, well, that’s not so good, since IT really has become specialized.

3. The quotas: some groups have quotas and rigid rules about attendance. Quotas, are you kidding me? I started my own business to get away from other people’s artificial quotas. And in a service industry, attendance during the workday can’t be guaranteed.

4. The most disturbing issue: membership in these groups can give a sometimes false sense of legitimacy. Case in point, the recent story of Skyler Norris, the Spanaway man that scammed his business networking group after the Japan earthquake and pocketed donations. I’m only referring to the story and not getting into it, but my point is this: people trusted him not necessarily because of getting to know him personally or in business itself, but because of his involvement in this group. I’d even seen a video in which the group’s founder was promoting Norris’ business.  How well did the people of the group really know him though?

The flipside: social media. Not all are like this, but people in social media tend to be quite open, comfortable, personable…and I try to be the same, despite venturing into politics, economics, religion, and other sometimes divisive areas. Yet in spite of that, or perhaps because of it, I’ve gained several clients, and haven’t driven any away that I am aware of…

So, tell me…is it just me? If I am wrong, how? Would love to hear your thoughts…

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