How Well Do YOU Manage Your Contacts?

the-brand-you-50.jpgWith the host of online networking platforms and sites (Linkedin, Facebook, and of course Link to Nashville) and the number of so-called friends that we have on each, we have to “manage our Rolodex,” as author Tom Peters says in his book The Brand YOU50. Because he wrote this book before the turn of the century, Peters failed to address the challenge of managing our networks of online contacts. But if he were writing a book now,you can bet he’d devote at least one (and probably several) chapter(s) to managing contacts online.

While we are trying to build “Brand US,” we must manage the contact lists we have. Brand YOU (or ME, for that matter) is a living organism: it must be nourished, nurtured and cared for in order for it to survive.

The Relationship Economy demands that we maintain our connections with relationship capital – people who provide OUR networks with value of some sort, though not always monetary compensation – while we are growing our networks.

If your network is not growing, it is dying.

We all know a few people from the online networking platforms who look like they’ve just fallen off the map. Sure, they have two or three contacts, but their activity level – after the initial rush of creating their profile – is almost nil. Those people – who can honestly say “Yeah, I’m on Facebook (or Myspace),” just don’t get it. With the number of people online, on virtually any network, we have to reach out and connect to people with whom we’d like to do business or we don’t already have a relationship. Peters drives the importance of this fact home:

Reach out! Rolodex Communities must grow to be vital. Schedule at least one breakfast or lunch – per week – with someone new.

Even though he doesn’t mention the online networking platforms, Peters’ wisdom must be accepted and put into action. Granted, most of us can’t fly every week to a major city like New York to have breakfast with someone new, but at the same time, we need to find some way to grow our circle of influence to those whom we don’t already reach.

Another point we take from The Brand You50 is that we need to perform, at least monthly, an inventory of our Rolodex (contacts and connections list). Peters suggests that we “score” each important entry (1 = Hopelessly neglected. 10 = Absolutely!). Everyone has lost touch with members of the online social networking scene. Some to neglect, some to busy schedules we cannot control – leaving us stretched too thin.

The connections which are most important to us and to Brand YOU/ME are the ones which should have the highest ranking on the above scale. It’s a hard process to manage your entire client list(s). There are only a handful of connections with whom we can honestly say we are “Absolutely!” connected. Most connections we have are anywhere between three and seven.

How do I earn my connections better scores?

The best way to stay in touch with others is through email. We find it un-intrusive if we get a message in our in-box which states, “Your connection has sent you a message,” or something along those lines. Facebook does have a birthday reminder application, which can prove to be useful. The idea is that we take the information (reminder) and act upon it. Who cares if Billy is turning 21, 40, or 50 if you don’t do something about it? Nurturing the relationship by sending a virtual card or a simple email goes a long way to establishing YOU and your brand as thoughtful, kind and caring.

Though we think that we manage our client lists well enough, there is always something more to be gained in this exploding world of The Relationship Economy!

How ’bout it?

Explore posts in the same categories: networking, personal branding, relationship economy, social networking, social web, The Communications Factors

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