This Week’s Networking Boomerang

What is the value of investing in building a great network of people? I think it was Chris Brogan that recently pointed out the distinction between thinking of ROI (which, in my opinion, is a fine metric for a specific tactical business approaches) vs thinking of the overall value of social networking.

One huge value of social networking is that, when you add value to others and build bridges with them, good people will add value back. It’s the boomerang effect.

Sounds nice in theory, right? But here’s the value in practice, just this week:

Example 1: We had an oven that died. While my wife attempted to find a source in the traditional way, I tossed it out on Twitter, which is now my default Help Desk.

Result? Immediate response by a friend, pointing a semi-local dealer he knew of on Twitter – which company responded immediately by Twitter and phone, and got the business in minutes.

How cool is that?

Example 2: This week, I confirmed a speaking engagement as a panelist discussing social media for automobile dealers. How did I get approached for this? Peter Shankman (who became an Ironman last week – good going, man!). Peter and I got together a few months back just to chat and get to know one another. He recommended me for this opportunity. Then, in order to help with my preparation, I put out a blog post and linked it on Twitter, asking people for links and resources on social media and automotive dealers. Within a few hours, I had everything I needed via crowdsourcing for a post-event list of resources and case studies.

Example 3: I met this week with someone from a healthcare agency interested in having workshops for social media and project management (two of my sweet spots). I didn’t know these folks from Adam and Eve, but they approached me because someone else in my pharma network passed my name along and recommended me. This is the second time in the past 6 weeks I’ve had an agency approach me this way via a third-party recommendation (thanks, Rich and Jon!)

Example 4: We’re about six weeks into our weekly #LeadershipChat on Twitter, and this past week’s on Passion was wonderfully helpful and lively. How did LeadershipChat come about? Lisa Petrilli reached out to me via social networking this spring, we met at SOBCon Chicago, and have been collaborating since. Also, via networking, Lisa got to know Tom Martin, and together with Lisa Diomede, they put together this week’s CocktailsforCauses event in Chicago.

Now, that actually isn’t everything that happened this week. And I’m not even listing the boomerangs that went out for others, which will bear fruit in their lives and businesses. Or the important, sometimes life-saving things that happen via social networks totally outside of “business value.”

When people obsess over the “ROI of Social Media,” I’m forced to smile somewhat. Who can trace the actual ROI of all the hours and effort that have gone into building an opportunity network? But, is there value? – oh, yes! The boomerangs have only just begun to fly…!

Build your network. Feed your network. Be ready for the boomerang.

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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

3 Responses to This Week’s Networking Boomerang

  1. Deb says:

    Steve –
    At the 140 Character Conference Becky McCray talked about how we in small towns do networking better than most people. We have to network, it’s the only way to get things done. You get out, meet people, refer to each other, ask a lot of questions, answer even more and business gets done. It just makes sense that networking IRL would work just as well online. Online you can be anyone you want to be – I hope most choose the high road. Be the best you can be – stand for good and right – and you’ll be surprised at how you start to live up to that. Create and develop relationships. Make friends. Make associates. Make casual acquaintances. Learn from everyone. Then share what you’ve learned.

    Global is the new local.

    You rock!

  2. Steve,

    I always appreciate you including me in your posts, and never more so than now alongside Tom and Lisa! I almost think we need to change the word “networking” to something more appropriate like, “life-changing relationship building.”

    Thank you, dear partner,

    @Lisa Petrilli

  3. Lisa Diomede says:

    Steve,
    Thanks so much for including me in your post. It was an honor to host the charity event last week with Lisa & Tom. And yes, remarkably, we all came together through social networks. When I tell people how we met, they are generally in awe that such opportunities and relationships are formed and executed this way. And not only have great business opportunities presented themselves this way but I feel so extremely fortunate to have met some really smart and genuinely wonderful people who are only 140 characters away.

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