Friends With Benefits: Social Media for Business

This week I was fortunate to spend some time with author/speaker Darren Barefoot at the Workopolis Talent Symposium events.

Darren is the author of Friends With Benefits and provides a compelling keynote on leveraging social media for business that is full of valuable insights.

A few of my favorites included approaching social media strategy like a cocktail party.  Meaning, if your contribution to the conversation is all about you it just isn’t all that interesting for everyone else.  He is right.  Give value first and focus on listening before contributing is simply great advice!

We also talked a bit about the Facebook friend request for business.  When is it appropriate?  My conclusion is that is you need to proceed with caution.  This is personal space.  If you are a Vendor, Sales Pro, Recruiter or Manager it’s wise to consider the strength of your relationship before you send that friend request.  While I am personally partial to open networking (and many people that friend request me know this) there are a lot of people who don’t want to share their lifestream with somebody they just met in conference room B. When it’s about business it’s best to avoid socially awkward networking. Facebook and LinkedIn are different and it’s a good idea to treat them as such.  Lance Haun offers some good thoughts around this in his post Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Companies continue to consider the merit of allowing access to social media at work and we all need to consider how to expand our professional network effectively.

A closing point Darren makes related to social networking for business is about being remarkable – “doing work that is worthy of being remarked upon.”  Borrowed from the playbook of marketing guru Seth Godin, Darren challenged all of us to make Purple Cows.  That is what it takes to build a Tribe.

Below is a video excerpt of my conversation with Darren.  We are not friends on Facebook…yet.

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