If you’ve built your swipe file in Your Inc Part 4 , then you have a nice list of people who are crushing it in whatever you plan on doing. Now it’s time to start building relationships with these people.
Think of Networking as Personal Brand Association
There’s a famous quote by motivational speaker and businessman Jim Rohn that says “ You are an average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”
I’ve taken that quote and applied it to my digital relationship-building strategy. I am the average of the 5 people I interact with most on social media.
When I started to apply this theory, the following happened:
I stopped following 90% of personal friends. I had no need or desire to spend my time on social media consuming their personal drama. I even quit Facebook for personal use altogether in May of 2015.
I started following people more selectively. I started following people in my niche who were creating valuable content. I curated a Twitter stream of nothing but successful people tweeting about things that made them successful.
I saw myself make huge leaps on the path towards my career goals. I went from a ghostwriter with no bylines to having over 70 byline articles in the millennial space on 3 different sites.
The Benefit of Personal Brand Association: A Case Study
I’m going to recent developments in my career as a case study proving the benefit of personal brand association.
When I made my initial list of people killing it in my niche, one of the people on my list was Chelsea.
I found Chelsea when I first created my professional Twitter account last summer by searching “millennial”.
I saw that she had over 100,000 followers, but it wasn’t the vanity metrics that impressed me. It was what I saw when I checked out her website that made me realize this was a person whom I wanted in my network.
I remember thinking: “ wow! This girl is a year younger than me and has been on all of these media outlets, has represented major brands, and has been booked as a keynote speaker…I better get my ass in gear!”
Instead of being intimidated by someone so much further than me, I asked myself something everyone should ask themselves when it comes to networking: What do I have to offer this person? Why would they want me in their network?
When I saw that Chelsea accepted guest posts for her blog, I knew that I had my answer to that question.
I had my first article published on ChelseaKrost.com on October 30th,2015 on Post-College Depression.
During this time I was also had a paid gig with a new career advice blog in the millennial space. I had a couple articles on side-hustles planned for that gig , as well as this 10-part series on personal branding, but I decided to write them and give them to Chelsea to post on her site instead. The free exposure was more valuable than the monetary compensation.
How can that be, you ask? I used the fact that my articles on Chelsea’s site aligned me with her brand to parlay that exposure into a business partnership with my mentor and career coach, Jay R. Lang.
It was around Thanksgiving last year when Jay and I ended up working next to each other at our local Barnes and Noble. He saw I was reading a book on resumes and asked if I was looking for a job, and when I told him I was a blogger in the millennial space and a digital marketer, his ears perked up.
I showed him a couple of my posts on ChelseaKrost.com, and next thing you know we were scheduling another meeting to discuss building a marketing strategy for his book.
That meeting has lead to a career coach apprenticeship, as well as an opportunity facilitating a workshop on teaching unemployed Gen Xers and Baby Boomers on how to leverage social media and personal branding in today’s post-recession job market. I never would’ve had the leverage to get these opportunities without my personal brand association strategy. If it worked for me, then there’s no reason it can’t work for you too!
To wrap up this article, I’d like to modify Jim Rohn’s classic quote:
“Your personal brand is a reflection of the 5 personal brands with whom you associate most”
Now go through your swipe file and start some conversations on social media with those you plan on emulating. Happy networking!
P.S. Be on the lookout for Your Inc Part 6: Creating Your Personal Brand RoadMap