Do you remember the game six degrees of separation? Maybe you, like me, played it in middle school to pass a bit of time. The player determined how one individual is connected to another (such as how I am connected to you, the reader or listener), within six relational connections or fewer. Today’s middle schoolers have social media as a cheat, as mutual connections are much more easily identifiable.
As six degrees of separation exposed, we are a pretty connected people. You already have a social network, rather or not you’ve paid it any attention.
This social network you have, it has benefits. Not just for business-persons: for school-aged children, for stay-at-home-parents, for college students, for retirees, for all employees, and for all job-seekers.
Here is an overview of those benefits:
- A portion of your social network is your family and close friends. FAMILY. FRIENDSHIP. COMPANIONSHIP. LOVE. Enough said.
- You can exchange payment for services provided to you from people in your community. You can get lawn care, housecleaning, and clothing laundered. Now you can focus your time on that what you need or want to focus.
- You can exchange payment for services provided to you from people in your business-network. You can pay for the services of an event photographer, a website designer, a systems analyst, a branding expert, etc. Now your business has improved because you’ve utilized experts.
- You and members of your peer-network can create and refine ideas together.
- If you’re a job seeker, a member of your network can provide you with a job lead.
- A member of your network can recommend you to a hiring manager.
- A member of your network can provide you with mentor advice.
- A member of your network can inspire you to continue creating.
- A member of your network can inspire you to improve as he continually sets the proverbial bar higher.
- A member of your network can introduce you to others, further broadening your social network.
- A member of your network can recommend you as a service-provider.
- A member of your network can provide constructive criticism.
Now, my fear is that I share ‘benefits of a strong social network’ with you and I leave you with the impression that your social network is all about benefiting you. With this mindset, you will only seek relationships with persons who seemingly help you. Don’t make this mistake because you will miss out on friendships, honest and authentic relationships. You will also miss the joy of helping others.
So keep in mind, just as you receive benefits from your social network, the individuals in your network should be receiving the same benefits from you.
Therefore, I present to you the final benefit of a strong social network…
- You get the honor of helping others in your network. You can meet needs, provide mentorship, help folks build connections, and inspire others.
…which is the final and, in my opinion, most important benefit of a strong social network.