Many people contact me for networking advice, asking me for specific recommendations on what they should do. Sometimes, I wish people would ask me about what they shouldn’t do.
See, I’ve seen networking from all angles. I know how the newbies, the gatekeepers and the influencers feel. Sometimes, there’s a disconnect between what people have been told that works and what actually works.
This post isn’t a personal attack on specific people, as everyone makes mistakes. This is give you an insight into the mind of the people you are trying to connect to.
Asking how you can get on a list
Here’s a thing: if I’ve been aware of you for a while, and you didn’t make the list, then it’s unlikely you’ll ever go on it. Wanna know why? It isn’t about you. It’s about everyone else who reads the list, and the feeling they get afterwards.
I write lists for clients. I write it for their readers. There are so many reasons why you may not go on:
- It may be too commercial for that demographic
- There are too many people from that niche
- Your marketing is too aggressive
- Your blog doesn’t fit the theme
- I ran out of energy to add more people.
I get that you want the recognition. I get that you’ve invested time into creating a small friendship. But asking about a list feels like asking for sex. It feels like you only see me for one thing and I lose respect for you. It means with every follow up request, I feel used. Especially when I’ve shown interest in your latest project and you don’t really talk to me except to ask me to share it.
The best stuff I do isn’t the stuff I do publicly. It’s worth keeping that in mind.
Only contacting me when you want a connection
We haven’t talked since a conference. We really only talked then so you could hang out with my client, who you subsequently sucked up to. There’s a good chance they were mocking you afterwards, you know.
You contact me randomly, asking about a guest post connection. You make small talk, making me think you were just busy. I chat and help you. Once you have what you need, you disappear.
Your work is amazing and I appreciate you explaining your marketing. But I’m not going to feel comfortable recommending you if I feel this icky after every contact I have with you.
Snark is warranted in some situations. There have been many situations where people have hated on me and it has been understandable. But giving me shit because I don’t respond in time?
You know what? If you piss me off, because I didn’t reply quickly enough when you were trying to get connected to someone else, I’ll tell that person. Especially if I’m working for them. They’ll sometimes tell their friends to avoid this rude kid that is mean to the gatekeepers. I’ll also warn other gatekeepers
The gatekeepers often have more power then those they work for, when it comes to who they know. They’ll work for the big guns because it gives them opportunities to experiment and explore creative pursuits without everyone watching them. But you know what? One they, they’ll be a big gun. You may have grown up and have more sway. But I’ll NEVER forget the jerks that were so mean they made me cry.
Making demands on twitter
Yeah. If you ask a question publicly, you are really likely to get on someone’s bad side. Beyond making demands, the following actions piss me off:
- Calling me out on twitter for not following back. It’s never personal – twitter is just my primary listening post. You have my email, use that rather then saying something that ultimately makes me feel shit
- Sending me content that obviously has no relevant to my work or interests.
- Asking for favours via auto DM. I’ve unfollowed many people because of this.
Here’s the thing: I’m busy. I’m always after cool content that is relevant to my audience, and LOVE it when people go out of their way to send it to me. In that case, I don’t mind.
If you are sending me stuff that’s not relevant to my life, you are ADDING to my workload.
Only talk to me when it’s convenient
In 2011, many facets of my business life exploded – rather publicly – when a former client of mine did some stuff and went through a PR crisis. People abandoned me, many of which have only started talking to me now that I’m no longer a ‘liability’.
One of my favourite things about the stuff that happened was seeing peoples’ true colours. There were a number of people who were sucking up to me for those specific connections and then dumping me as soon as it could reflect poorly on them.
There was also a number of people who emailed me privately during a time when my client was the subject of some nasty blog posts. They knew that I was upset, and wanted to reach out to see how I was going. I have so much respect and would do anything for those people.
I don’t mind being used for my connections and knowledge. It can be quite beneficial to trade advice or tips for launch intel; this saves me time going through the public feeds and helps show that I’m ‘in the know’.
It’s just… being abandoned when my professional life is falling apart? That sure makes a girl feel great.
It can be easy to dismiss this post as the ramblings of someone who thinks that everyone should be friends online. That’s bullshit.
This post is about the lack of respect for my time and skills – especially from people that should know better.