I’ve talked about this before, but recent events have warranted a revisiting of the topic.
When I connect with somebody or somebody connects with me on social media, I thank them and ask how their latest project is coming along. I ask because I actually am interested, and just think it’s cool to hear about what other people are working on.
There are several types of responses:
1. They describe what they’re working on, and end by asking me the same question. This happens the most frequently, which is great. It actually feels like a conversation, and I’ve made some great connections this way.
2. The cut-and-paste boilerplate response that reads exactly like one. “Thanks! Check out my video/like my Facebook page/donate to my Kickstarter, etc.” While I can understand this approach, it comes across as “I’m only connecting with you to get promote myself/my stuff”. I’ve never clicked through, and suspect a lot of others don’t either.
-An exception to this has been the rare combination of the above two. Someone described their project, included a link, and asked about me. The fact that they apparently made the extra effort to do a little of everything, without overdoing it, actually made me interested in checking out their link (which I did).
3. No response whatsoever. Perhaps you’ve not exactly grasped the concept that ‘social media’ includes ‘social’, as in ‘interacting with others’? Will I ever ever hear from you? It makes no difference to me that you dropped the ball on this, but if you’re not going to follow through on your end, then why bother doing this at all?
On that note…
3a. After sending my standard initial response, and getting no response, once in a while I’ll receive something like this (as I did earlier this week) from someone who’d asked me to connect several months ago: “Hey how’s it going? I’m what you call fresh meat to the industry so maybe you can help me”
My wise friend Bob sums it up quite nicely here, but I’d like to add my two cents.
You came to me, remember? Apparently not.
I responded, because I like to be polite in this scenario.
Then it was your turn, but you didn’t do anything. Now you’re back after a prolonged period of time with a very straightforward “I know we’ve never interacted before, but this is what you could do for me”.
I could, but I sure as hell ain’t gonna. (I’d be astonished if this person got even one response saying “Sure!”)
I hate to break this to you, but your networking skills suck. I’m more than happy to help somebody out if/when I can, but you have to earn it first. Popping out of my distant past with a generic plea for help isn’t going to do it.
I’ve put a lot of time and effort into building and maintaining my network of friends and trusted colleagues, and many of them have done the exact same thing.
Why haven’t you?