Years ago Facebook was not a local advertising service and it was even less of a networking service. To be very honest, we all thought it was a dating service with the amount of poking going on.
Like all thing in life, except the cast of The Simpsons, Facebook did mature and with it the way we make use of its offerings. In my view it is currently more local community orientated than the friends and family platform it used to be. It really comes down to how you use it I suppose.
My group that I am part of are almost all focussed on communities and sub-communities of the area I reside in within Pretoria. So it stand to reason that I would see more posting from these groups and less of those from family and friends as I interact more with the groups lately.
Over the last two months I started to notice two particular individuals who keep on using the same form of postings to draw attention. The first want to know if your business is on the Pretoria App and getting noticed, while the other want you to share your company in the comments and get you to start networking. The latter calls his website e-Flyer something something. First of all it irritates the white crap out of me due to the repetitive nature of their postings. Secondly, their offerings are ugly as hell.
The one that really bugs me is the one asking you to share under the guise of networking, and later on you can get additional services for a monthly fee. Fair enough, we are used to the freemium model across various aspects of business, but networking???
The term networking to me suggests a one-on-one interaction. There is a two-way communication and within the converse between the two parties there is a form of personal advertising taking place. Placing your add on Facebook in the form of a comment is not networking. It shamelessly borderlines on prostitution, which would make the original poster the equivalent on a digital pimp. I expect networking to be more of a “in person” experience that involves a cup of coffee at the very least. When I started Brand Barn I attended a WordPress networking event and that served a purpose. My original motivation was to attend in the hopes of maybe picking up some business and contacts that could assist me in growing my footprint. Even though I did not walk out of the event with those goals achieved, I still got something out of the experience that I could use to grow on a personal level.
I don’t think that you can achieve that online. I also do not think that you should use the term networking to cat fish people into your local advertising scheme. It gives networking a bad reputation.
Brand Barn is officially just over a year old this past month since we started to seriously work on it as a business and we are blessed in the sense that word-of-mouth and our quality of work has been our main growth driver. In the digital space so much of what we do is behind a laptop, Mac or PC and we get lost in that reality at times. The goal for this year is to get out there and network a bit. Not to gain new customers or new business, but to just share experiences and learn from others.
We will of course wait till summer. Winter just doesn’t work that well with us.