Over the past couple of weeks, I have received more “how to monetize your network” than in the months before. And frankly, at times I am just amazed of how short sighted people are. The writers of the pieces often talk about how much money they managed to make in a very short timespan. However, this is social media. This is not a lemonade stand.
Social in social media means that you are connecting to people. Whatever way you are going to look at it, if you are connecting to people, you are going to be building relationships. A relationship is probably the most valuable thing you can have. It is the mutual sharing of your life with others. A fantastic phenomenon that we as humans can enjoy. And if you see how easy we do it and how much we love it, you could say that we were made to do it.
Monetizing on your network as most of these mailers see it, is getting as much money out of your social network as you can in the shortest possible timespan. Great. After all, the world is all about money, isn’t it? Wrong. The world is about your relationships. Of course there are relationships which have been made for the reason of being useful for business. And as a default, money gets involved there. LinkedIn is one of the networks that is mainly focussing on business contacts. Here you often connect to people that you have done business with, or that you hope to do business with in the future. However, if you are only about pulling as much money from them as you possibly can, you are connecting to wallets instead of people. And no relationship is going to last if it is only about the money. After all, nobody is going to be very enthusiastic about you if all you care about is their wallet. Relationships are meant to be mutual.So, is there no way to make money off your network? Sure there is.
Cater for the needs of your network. If you are truly connected to people, you know what they are looking for. You know what they need. Or you are able to find out. Then, offer them what you can do. If you can not do what they are looking for, recommend a friend who can. If they are not looking for anything, tell them loosely what you can do and get back to talking about them. For me, that is how I work. Do I make the most money ever on my network? No. Would I like to make more? Sure. Will I do whatever it takes to do it? No. Not in a million years. After all, my network are my friends. I don’t bother every friend I have with what I want to make. Honestly, I don’t. Hpwever, I do know that as people need the services I can provide, they will get in touch with me because of our relationship. After all, who better to realize something for you than someone you know.
Social networks are about being who you are. At LinkedIn you will be more about your business. At Hyves, Facebook and MySpace you will be more about old friends and catching up. At Twitter you will be more about sharing the here and now. How personal you are will vary with these services from superficial (LinkedIn) to very personal (Twitter). But whatever way you look at it, you need to be sharing you. It is about yourself getting out and connecting as you. And thinking about them. Thinking about your contacts and being genuinely interested in what they are all about. That is social media in the long run. Because it all is about the long run. Quick money is nice, but nobody would like to wake up with a couple of grand and a heap of lost relationships to look back upon. Get social. Be yourself. The money will come. Really, it will. But it should not be your main goal.