have been using LinkedIn for a couple of years now and Facebook for
about 6 months. While I have found both interesting and have played
with an array of Facebook applications, I haven’t found either
extremely useful from a business perspective. In comparing notes with
others, most tell me that they use them but neither has led much to new
sales, key introductions, etc. Why is this?
On the LinkedIn side, the issue seems to be that the benefits are
asymetrical. When I contact someone, I am always asking for a favor. I
am not building up goodwill through other interactions and then drawing
down on this. No, I am simply pimping friends and one off relations for
direct intros. While I can see six degrees away, I can really only
access two degrees (maybe three if I work hard). It’s awkward and
doesn’t usually lead to an effective intro when I ask a friend to
solicit a favor with his/her friend for an intro. The third degree
doesn’t know me from Adam and, at best, takes an email as a courtesy. I
am hesitant to hit the network hard (as are most of my friends) as I
don’t want to be the guy know as the favor "spam" guy.
Also, the chance of finding a nearby hit depends upon how many links
I have. However, for those people with 10,000 friends, how close can
those connections really be?
At least Facebook give me an array of reasons to interact with
friends or people. I can get an updated view into what friends are
doing and have several ways to engage ranging from books, travel and
such. However, as I add friends, the noise in my feeds grows
exponentially. There are so many applications and ways, one is at a
loss on how to best interact. At least, I can pick my closer
connections and use FB to tighten my bonds there. However, finding the
intro to the head of Cisco’s bus dev group is not so intuitive or easy.
I need a full time associate whose job it is to figure out our business
(and personal needs) and to figure out which apps help us get there.
So, as I click away on the various accept link or friend offers, I
wonder if it is going anywhere or am I just adding more noise to my
world. For now, I’ll probably focus on bringing good friends and
acquaintances into FB and use it to stay closer to them. Still not
certain what I’ll do with the growing LinkedIn web.
If anyone has figured out best practices that are common sense, low
overhead (e.g. Not a second job) and effective, let me know…