Networking Vs. Leading
Are you merely networking or are you leading? There’s a big difference: and it seems like far too many stop short at networking, while a select few companies and people choose to take the next step and lead.
Those not yet mature at social media marketing obsess over networking. They friend and follow others. They share someone else’s content and ensure that person is tagged so the original creator might see social proof and connect back. But they don’t implement anything original or unique themselves.
Networking is the type of activity brands not yet fully embracing digital relegate to an intern to build up fluff KPIs as they don’t yet grasp getting to conversion.
On the other hand, leaders are out there creating. They’re the ones forming meaningful communities with true organic opt-in. Leaders have opinions and take sides. Their content and ideas always pass the all important “so what” test of their category because they aren’t parroting others, they’re defining what’s next. Their niche forms around them.
Those leading are platform agnostic, they transcend ever-changing user preference of the web by being unique and worthwhile.
I’m not denigrating networking. It’s perfectly okay to start somewhere, especially if you are given a task to build a community in a category you’re totally unfamiliar with. But you have to evolve past networking and begin leading if you want to become one of the definitive voices in your industry.
I think so many fall into the trap of perpetual networking without going beyond it because it’s easy (and somewhat predictable) to trend up metrics that make a dashboard look good. Unfortunately those metrics don’t really impact a business.
Making the decision to lead isn’t one to take lightly. It takes time, effort and dedication that few will put in work necessary to achieve. But easy is the opposite of any inbound marketing effort. Just the opposite, it’s difficult. And that’s exactly why it’s valuable.
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