October 16, 2008

The Importance of Setting Goals To Grow Your Network

By Corvida Raven of SheGeeks.net (FriendFeed/Twitter)

A short while ago, I was granted the opportunity to guest post on ChrisBrogan.com, who you must subscribe to if you are remotely interested in social media. In the post Decreasing Connections While Increasing Our Networks, I talked about the problem that occurs as our network of friends grows and the quality of conversation and connections decreases. The post was well received by Chris’ audience and some great comments were left. One comment that really stuck out was a comment by Steve Cook that stated,
In the end doesn’t it come down to goals? As your network has grown bigger adding people relentlessly may no longer fit your goal.

If your main aim is to increase awareness of your own brand, then it may be worth continuing to add everyone (possibly worth outsourcing this to someone who can click the links for you and let you know if there are any particularly noteworthy new contacts).

However, if your main goal is having a high quality network with a high signal to noise ration, then adding everyone will eventually become a problem.
I think Steve really hit the nail on the head with this comment. So let's seriously considered his question: what are the goals for growing your network?

Let me first start by stating that goals can help you to better manage how you want to grow your network as Steve nicely provided examples for. So to some extent they’re important to have when your network starts to grow.

Brand Awareness
In the beginning of blogging career, this was not one of my goals. However, since I’ve rose in ranks it has become one unintentionally. Why? I want more conversation. Conversation = Thoughts = Blogging. At least that’s part of the equation for me. So increasing my network should allow for this to happen. However, to some extent it’s backfired, which was the point of my post.

High Quality Network
Who doesn’t want this? However, how can you know who’s high quality and who’s not unless you add them to your network and engage with them? Once again, the same problem occurs. I think this goal would require more energy than brand awareness in order to keep a good signal to noise ratio.

No Goals May Be A Better Goal
Can anyone have the best of both worlds? In the end, you have to take the good with the bad. You can’t always have your cake and eat it to. Sometimes, you can only stare at it or share pieces of it. I don’t think the end goal really matters because those goals will change as you and your network grow. People will shift interests or drop off the face of the planet all together. Your network is ever-changing. Therefore your goals have to be just as flexible. In the end, I have no goals Steve. I’m just in it for the ride (and some of the conversation). What are your goals?

Read more by Corvida Raven at SheGeeks.net.