Social Media, a Good List, and New Business Karma

Helping your network with no expectation of ROI
by Todd Knutson

karmaOne definition of karma is "actions that bring bring upon oneself inevitable results". I was intrigued by a recent conversation with Jane, a new business person, who claimed that this was the key to her success.("Jane" asked that I not use her real name.)

Jane's approach is simple: Give and expect nothing in return.

It has two well-integrated tactics:

  1. Grow and manage a large network
  2. Offer no-strings-attached help

Grow and Manage a Network

Jane is a networker. She uses LinkedIn and Facebook to grow and manage her large network. She combines that with The List, which she uses to identify people she wants to reach via her network, many of which she can't find on LinkedIn. She works hard to stay in touch with her contacts, connect people, and offer help.

Offer Help

Jane puts herself out there as a go-to resource for ideas on marketing (interactive is her specialty), finding a prospective marketing services partner, helping her network manage an existing agency relationship, as well as connecting her network with companies and people that may offer a service that will benefit them. She'll occasionally offer to do small projects free of charge through her firm, but this is rare. Normally, she operates independently, doing whatever she can to help her network.

The most interesting thing to me is that Jane appears to do this out of a genuine desire to help, with no expectation of getting anything in return, which is why she feels she is creating (good) new business karma.

Throughout the year she receives "blue birds" - calls out of the blue requesting her firm's help. They're almost always from "referrals and reputation" sources, which are the very best new business leads. People have heard of her through her network and call. She believes they do so because they've heard they can trust her.

Is this a strategy you can use? It's certainly not for everyone. The challenge of trying to emulate it is that it's unlikely to work if there's even a hint of disingenuousness in your approach.

What do you think? Is this a method you use or do you know someone who does it successfully?

 

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