The Importance of a Social Network
 In Social Media Tips

The importance of a social networkIt may come as a surprise that many of our clients are not very technical, and some even go as far as to pride themselves on their resistance to using LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites to stay connected.

Some of these people do it the old fashion way, being diligent about manually keeping up with personal and professional contacts over the years. They immediately send an email after meeting a new acquaintance, add the person to their contact list, and send cards or articles of interest to that person upon occasion. I admire that practice, but most people who eschew the use of social media don’t even do that.

Some people just aren’t focused on adding new contacts to their social networks. People who are currently working for someone else are especially prone to taking a lackadaisical approach to collecting, and keeping up with, contact information from new friends, clients or customers.

This approach to technology and communication works until it doesn’t. It all falls apart when you actually need a database of all of your contacts/clients for some reason, like when you are starting a new business or want to change jobs.

These situations seem to arise quickly, and people who have been lazy social media networkers discover themselves scrambling to find, and get in touch with, people they have know for years. Let me tell you, it is not easy to pull together a social network when you have not been doing it all along. It is a big challenge to get the ball rolling.

On the other hand, there are people who are super connected like my friend, Grant Henry, proprietor of Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong Emporium here in Atlanta. Grant’s bar, Church, as it’s called for short, is wildly successful and was recently named by BuzzFeed as the best theme bar in the world.

Grant has mastered the art form of keeping in touch through social media. His super power is to be so authentic in his dealings with everyone in person and online so that everyone thinks they are one of his 14 best friends. Grant is somewhat of an anomaly in this area, and not everyone can do what he did by starting at ground zero

When Grant was building out the space in our friend Joe’s building, he kept his 5,000 Facebook friends updated on every little aspect of the progress, and how he felt about it. When he had a soft opening three days before Christmas, three and a half years ago, his bar was packed and has stayed packed ever since.

Grant was able to pay for his entire build-out and start-up costs within 3 months of opening. In addition to those of us who consider ourselves one of Grant’s fourteen friends, Church now attracts celebrities such as Ben Stiller, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence.

If you are someone that has no need to rally your friends to “like” your business, refer clients or help you find employment, then go ahead and keep a low profile. But, down the road, you may find yourself in a position where a network comes in handy. So you might want to go ahead and update your bio, add your photo to LinkedIn and rethink your resistance to Facebook. You don’t have to be a “hyper-sharer” like Grant Henry, but keeping up with the emails and phone numbers of people in your life could come in very handy one day.

If you recognize yourself in this situation, and want to begin to change, here are 4 tips for building your social network:

1. Sign Up For Gmail & Import Your Contacts:
Many people who are social media/technology resisters are often still using Hotmail, or AOL email accounts. Take this occasion to get with this century and sign up for a Gmail email account. Export your existing contacts from your old dinosaur accounts into the contact list of your new Gmail account.

Go to your Gmail settings and import your old email addresses into your Gmail account so you can read all of your emails there in one easy to get to place.

Set up the “from” email to be your Gmail email address; or, if you have an email associated with your domain name you can set that up as the “from” email address by using SMTP. Soon people will start using the new email address that is in the “from” field to contact you. When people email you it will appear in your Gmail account, add them to your contact list.

2. Get Started With Facebook:
Set up a Facebook account, set your privacy features, add a profile photo, customize your profile page with a “cover” photo, find friends, add status updates and comment or like other people’s content. Read this information from Facebook to find out how.

Mashable has posted a nice article walking you through details that help you get started with Facebook.

3. Join LinkedIn:
Set up and fill out your LinkedIn Profile completely. LinkedIn will walk you through the process and tell you how complete your profile is.

Fill in all of the bio, resume, and special projects areas, and most importantly, add a recent, nice looking headshot. Once your profile is filled out, find connections.

Learn how to give and receive recommendations. Ask some people to write recommendations for you. Join some LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your profession or personal interests, and participate in the conversations.

4. Update Your Contacts Using Evercontact:
Use Evercontact to update your contact list in one fell swoop. Evercontact will search through your emails if you are using Gmail or Outlook, and will update all of your contact information for you.


Are you a social media resister? Tell us what’s holding you back!

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