Create Meaningful Connection and add Value to Your Network

When it comes to marketing, opportunity is another word for a problem to be solved.  But opportunity rarely knocks.  You have to go after it with the right intention.  In today’s digitally connected world, intention often does influence opportunity.  Let me explain.  We all have to “make a living”, and we’re all sales representatives when it comes to our businesses.  Connecting with each other can lead to opportunities to further our networks, and grow.  But how many of these connecting opportunities are either mass produced, or are built with the sole intent of creating a lead?

In this post we’ll talk about a new and different approach to connection and network building and it begins with intention.  I recently took the Sparkatype test developed by Jonathan Fields.  As I explored more about him, and his philosophies I found a podcast where he spoke about a practice he’s adopted that he calls “maximum sustainable generosity”. He explained it like this. “As I think about things that drive me, things that are important to me and that I’m working on, I approach them in a generous way, so that I provide value in every interaction.”  

As an example, he has a new book out, and would love for people to buy it and read it. It’s how he makes his living, and he’s spent a lot of energy, time, and resources into creating something that he’s passionate about and hopes will bring about change, and solve problems or create opportunity. He says … “I could approach my promotion by telling people to buy the book, or find ways to give away small portions of what I’ve learned so that even if my audience doesn’t buy anything, what they’ve learned will enhance their life in some way”. 

It’s in his DNA to be generous. He’s aware of this trait or desire. He’s also aware that he can’t say yes with every interaction or give everything away. He has to make a living and he also finds that his introverted side needs time to recharge. Boundaries are important. This is why he’s added the word sustainable to his mantra. Now more than ever being generous as we look for the opportunities is key. The friend that needs a hand, or even just to hear a familiar voice. The customer who needs someone to listen and understand. The Google review you give to help grow their business. The book tip or peice of marketing advice you give to help them in their journey. The article you write or webinar you do to share your hard earned knowledge. The mentorship and encouragement you provide to a colleague.

In a recent HBR Article “Don’t Waste your Time on Networking Events” Author Derek Coburn 

Says My definition of “networking” is any activity that increases the value of your network or the value you contribute to it. The best way to do this is to avoid traditional networking events almost entirely. “

This echos lesson #1 in Time Ferriss’s The 4 Hour Work Week

Lesson 1: Be effective, not efficient.

Tim suggests spending your time effectively: on the 20% of things that get you 80% of the results, and not vice versa.

As the Pandemic evolves it would be easy to go back to doing things as we always did.  Let’s take this opportunity to pause and assess each function we perform vs the effectiveness of the effort.

A few things to consider as you review your sales and marketing efforts using this lens:

Conduct a Brand Audit

A brand audit is a detailed analysis that shows how your brand is currently performing compared to its stated goals, and then to look at the wider landscape to check how that performance positions you in the market.

The methodology will therefore differ depending on industries and individual companies. Regardless of the exact criteria you choose to measure, an audit should allow you to:

  • Establish the performance of your brand
  • Discover your strengths and weaknesses
  • Align your strategy more closely with the expectations of your customers
  • Understand your place in the market compared to the competition

Brand Audit Steps

1. Create a framework

You should start by looking at your mission and strategic objectives to create a framework.

You want to consider who your target customers are, the marketing plan to reach them, and the layout of the business landscape you operate in.

2. Question your customers

It can be easy to rely on web and social numbers alone, but this will not give a complete picture. You can conduct surveys by telephone, email, Google Forms Survey, or as part of the sales process.

3. Review your web analytics

As 94% of B2B customers perform online research prior to making a purchase, the traffic to your website is an important, if obvious, place to start. Have a look at your web analytics program to discover how your website is performing.

  • Think in terms of landing pages
  • On-Page Optimization for the customer’s journey
  • Keywords  (solution and “Problems your audience is having that you can solve”  not product)

4. Review social data

Social data can help further flesh out the overview of your brand, giving access to audience data that is unavailable through other channels.

The demographic information available through social media allows you to better understand your audience. You may want to reposition your messaging if your actual audience differs from your perceived audience.

  •  Audit and update your Google my business
  • Monitoring and Responding to all reviews

5. Understand Dark Social

Dark social describes the “invisible” private shares that happen through channels like messengers, email and text messages.  It’s basically any share that happens within the social network. 

 This private sharing is harder to track than content shared on public platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, so many social media marketers don’t realize how big of a slice dark social has of the social media sharing pie.

It’s difficult to measure with a metric, however it’s becoming the most effective type of marketing because people trust their peers.  Think of this as digital word of mouth.

  • Figuring out the micro communities in your target audience.
  • Develop a content strategy that will work in these communities.
    • Develop a sense of community
    • Understand what people are liking, commenting on, sharing
    • From the above insight key on interests to develop keywords in your posts
    • Add value to the community with your content. It’s about generosity, and connection, not pandering for clicks.

6. Review sales data

Of course sales data will be at the forefront of your ongoing monthly reporting, but examining it in conjunction with the rest of the audit data will help to identify problem areas.

7. Look at your competitors

No brand exists in isolation. The final part of conducting a brand audit involves looking at your competitors to understand your place in the market.  Identify your strengths and weaknesses and where opportunity and risk exist.

8. Build your Plan

Put together a detailed plan of how to build your brand promise into your messaging, followed by a series of actionable targets, with a timeline of expected results and KPI’s you will measure for success.

Learn More

Today’s digitally connected world creates opportunity for influence, but requires a shift in the approach to take in your marketing efforts.  To learn more about improving your connections, adding value to your networks, and increasing your business opportunities including links and resources join the discussion at  

Episode 16 Marketing and Meaningful Connections