Back when I was a Financial Planner we used to talk to clients about two types of capital. Financial Capital, the amount of money you have available to invest for your future. And Human Capital, the skills, talents and physical capacity you bring to the objective of providing for yourself or family.
We would talk about Financial Capital being a resource you built over time, for the day you were no longer able to rely on your physical or mental capacity to generate cash flow.
Social Capital was a topic we’d engage in with our wealthier clients and business owners. With the accessibility of social media today, we must all be cognisant of how much social capital we have saved, invested or spent, in the event that we continue to have relevance in an ever changing business and employment environment.
It is no longer good enough, to turn up, work as hard as you can and go home. You must now be providing much more value to the world around you, including those lives you touch on a daily basis.
In a world where clients, business partners, or employers can find all about you from the phone in their pocket, we can no longer rely on professionally edited resumes or slick marketing to get our desired message across.
The need to build a large deposit of social capital exists whether you are someone else’s employee, are self-employed or even a network marketer.
Social Capital is the profit of networking.
How then can someone who finds it difficult to find the time to socialise, build social capital? Here’s what I’ve done;
- Be extremely valuable in groups;
No matter, what your career or hobbies are outside of that career, your favourite social media platform will have groups dedicated to it’s pursuit.
Join them. It’s much easier to get involved in discussions with people that you share a common interest with.
I’ve spoken to lots of people who don’t like to comment in groups for fear of being less knowledgeable than others in that group.
Remember though, that the purpose of networking is to make connections, not promote yourself as a genius.
When someone posts in a group, they themselves are often nervous that others will think less of them. Social Media, is after all a form of public speaking and we all know how debilitating that can be.
When a group member posts something you didn’t know, be quick to state that and to thank them for sharing. They’ll be glad their contribution has been viewed as valuable and will remember you for doing so.
You’ve now earned a deposit of Social Capital. With the original poster and other members of the group. Many of whom are group lurkers, and now you’re seen as being a group contributor. A massive difference.
- Detailed connection responses;
Someone sends you a friend request, and after satisfying yourself it’s not a hacker, you accept. But what if you could make this connection much more powerful.
You only get one chance at a first impression they say. Someone has been impressed enough by you, that they’ve asked to connect with you, so why not take this opportunity to really leverage their opinion of you.
It could become very beneficial to do so.
Before you accept their connection request, have a read of their profile.
- How many groups, do you share with them?
- Do you have lots of mutual friends?
- Do they live in your town?
- Do they have considerable influence in your profession or hobby?
Look for 2 -3 key points on which you can make comment on in your response message to them. You do send response messages, don’t you?
Making comments or asking questions relating to a person’s profile will show that you’ve taken an interest in your new friend’s life and will buy you massive social capital.
Ignore your phone.
This one is a little counter intuitive and one I’d forgotten about until I saw someone else do it recently. It’s very powerful and is great for building stronger links with people who might normally be second or third tier connections.
We all have those friends or family, that call us all the time. Our best friends, our spouse or even your mum. We pick up straight away because they’re part of the fabric of our daily lives.
But what about those people we don’t speak to everyday? What about clients?
If their number is in your phone, it implies you already have some connection with them already, so you’re probably connected on Social Media as well.
Why not use this to your advantage?
When someone calls me, I haven’t spoken to in a while. I let the call go to message bank. This allows me time to have a quick look at their Facebook or LinkedIn profile to see if there’s been any changes in their lives that might be topical to our friendship.
There might be an event relating to our professional relationship in which my knowledge or skills might be helpful. Knowing this in advance has been very helpful in generating extra revenue for businesses I’ve been involved in.
Other times, it’s just the relationship that gets strengthened, and that should be the true purpose of social media.
Building social capital doesn’t require a full time effort. It’s just being mindful of how you use your time and energy that you’re already investing in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al.