Getting started is simple. The hard part is figuring out who you want in your network, and where they “live” online. It’s a waste of time and energy to join a network if your target market isn’t there.

First, define the characteristics of the perfect customer, then find out where they are already talking. Then take what you’ve learned and decide which networks are the best use of your time and resources, create your profiles on these networks and stick your toe in the water to start the conversation.

So who is your perfect connection? What do they like to talk about besides what you want to talk to them about? You need to define these demographics to get a picture of the personality profile, age group and interests of your potential friend base.

Do some surveys to find out what else they are interested in, but remember the demographics of surveys can be tainted by being only answered by people who answer surveys! Do some research online as well. You want to gather as much as you can find out about who they are and what their interests are before going on to the next step.

In an earlier case study we heard about David Armano’s plea for help. David has a very carefully nurtured network full of people who know him at some level and like and trust him. The people in his network reached out to their own network and those people trusted the person they heard it from. If it had simply been a broadcast about a family in need and we didn’t know anything about the person requesting, would we have made a personal connection and donated? Maybe, but there would have been far fewer passionate calls to rally the network, and the groundswell of aid would have been slower to occur.

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