Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, Vice-President of Content and Engaged learning for WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast…
Before we get into today’s question - which I love -- but I’m a simple man, and love mostly all questions I get.
Quick pitch for Wednesday’s episode -- coming up later this week is David Plati, Associate Athletic Director and Sports Information Director at the University of Colorado. That right there is an impressive title and a good reason to listen if you are considering a career in college athletics, but let me give you a little additional perspective on the legend David Plati.
Now, let’s get to today’s question from Tyler in Missouri.
“Hi Brian, I love the new Work in Sports Academy -- I just recently purchased all 4 modules as part of the bundle and I’m just blown away by the information and resources you provide for such a reasonable price. My favorite section so far is the coursework on networking. I am not a natural networker, but your advice is making the process easier for me. One question - you talk a lot about networking on social media, but you primarily focus on LinkedIn...what about Twitter, is it possible to network on Twitter? Thanks for all you do -- Tyler in Missouri.”
Thank you, Tyler! For all of you who haven’t heard, what Tyler is mentioning is our new online courses. I’ve created four different online courses as part of our new Work in Sports Academy, which are all geared towards making the participant an expert in getting hired for sports jobs.
You can purchase individual courses - or bundle them together for huge savings. Tyler likes the course on Building and Maintaining your Network, and I have to say, I really like that one too. I had to put a lot of deep thought and introspection into it because I am not a natural networker either. I teach the course from the perspective of, everyone needs to network, so how can we make this as painless and productive experience as possible. Oh and if you are interested in the Work in Sports online courses -- check out WorkinSports.com/gameplan
Tyler makes a good point, I talk about LinkedIn a ton for networking efforts but didn’t put as much emphasis in other social networks. Here's the cool thing about the Work in Sports Academy courses -- once you purchase you have lifetime access, and that includes all updates. So if I decide to add a section on Twitter networking next week, but you bought it last week… no worries you get it too! For life!
So let’s talk about this issue. Twitter networking.
I’ll admit, I’ve sat back and watched and waited for many of you to show me how you network on twitter. I’ve waited and watched to see some great ideas on how to leverage Twitter… but to date, I haven’t seen it.
I’m not scolding you -- but I’ll tell you what - no one has taken the ideas I talk about on LinkedIn, and tried to use tweak and manipulate them a little to fit other platforms.
For example - I always talk about networking being based upon finding a common thread, an ice breaker, some common ground, and utilizing that to start building a relationship. That can be a really strong thread, like, we attended the same school, or it can be a more abstract threadlike, I heard you on the Work in Sports podcast.
I know from my guests you guys and gals are great about connecting with them on LinkedIn and sharing that you heard them on the Work in Sports podcast. That is awesome - nice work.
But many people don’t use LinkedIn that often...so your request isn’t being ignored, it just may not be seen. Most people use LinkedIn when they are actively job seeking, or if they are deeply connected to business and are looking for thought leadership. I love LinkedIn I use it daily and I’m not job seeking, but others aren’t like that.
Your job as the person seeking to network is to go where your target is!
For example -- sports agent Nicole Lynn is one of my all-time favorite work in sports podcast guests. For those of you unfamiliar, she represents Quinnen Williams amongst other top talents and is an impressive woman. She is all over Twitter and is an incredible follow. She is not on LinkedIn at all. So if you listened to that podcast, tried to connect with her on LinkedIn, couldn’t find her and gave up -- that is not good enough!
So how do you make this work? Let’s talk problems first.
Here are the two problems I see, and why I don’t usually go hard after Twitter as a networking platform - people generally look to do the easiest things, and call the task done. With Twitter… it is super easy, no one has to accept your invitation to connect, there is no work to be done. People just click a button to follow someone and consider that mission accomplished.
Sorry people - following someone on twitter is not networking.
The other problem I see is that many of you have silly or let's say creative Twitter handles, that you may or may not want to use in a business style relationship. That’s fair. For some, business is business, and twitter is for fun.
Ok, if you want to segment your world like that, can’t argue, but can tell you, you are missing out on some opportunities to interact with people on their dominant platform. And you may want to consider keeping your handle a little more plain.
Now let’s get into how.
If you just follow someone and expect them to follow you back, that’s not a plan or a strategy, that’s just hope.
Again, we need to rely on the thread of connection. In this instance, we’re going to use our podcast as your thread. And this is going to take some effort.
When you listen to an interview on our show -- take some notes. Write down a quote they shared, or a concept, or a follow-up question you may have. These are conversation starters.
So now you follow them. AND you tweet out something like
“Being a sports agent is about aggressively pursuing relationships and building trust” - great advice from @AgentNicoleLynn on the @WorkinSports podcast.
Or maybe it’s
Just finished listening to @AgentNicoleLynn on the @WorkinSports podcast and was blown away - one follow up Nicole - how did you get your first client?
Or maybe it’s
Sports @AgentNicoleLynn on the @WorkinSports podcast just explained how difficult it is to be a woman in a predominantly male field - so refreshing to know I’m not alone.
The aim of these tweets is simple -- be genuine, be inquisitive, flatter your subject a little and attempt to get, or better yet, earn, a response.
This isn't just a follow and wait -- this is taking action.
When they retweet or respond, now is the time to keep going. Ask a question, point out something else you loved, wish her good luck, -- it’s not about you, this isn’t the time to say “I want to be a sports agent too, what can you do for me?!”
Make it about your subject and keep the conversation going. When you start asking for things for your own personal gain, that’s when people shut down.
Remember the example I gave above for a question you could ask - it wasn’t “I want to be an agent, how do I meet people?” it was “How did you land your first client?”
Subtle difference here, but you are talking about THEM, but still getting useful information for you.
Now, I believe in a multi-pronged networking approach. Target the people who are most important for you to connect with - again - not a quantity game, a quality game. Connect with them onLinkedInN, follow them on Twitter, engage with them on multiple platforms, keep up with what they share, join in the conversation, respond to what they are saying.
Be present! Be noticeable!
Emily Hall has been retweeting and sharing my content for years. I feel like I know her without knowing her. Many many other people do that same -- and when you are visible and complimentary, and active and engaging, you will learn things from your networking subject, and you can start to ask more probing questions that are self-serving.
For example, if Emily reached out and asked me a question today, I would answer, because for multiple years she’s been a visible supporter of our content.
Networks are earned, they take work, and while you’ll need to adjust your approach depending on the platform, every social media channel has their pro’s and con’s.
Alright Tyler, hope that helps you out…
Tune into Wednesday’s podcast with David Plati -- thanks for listeing people.
Time to get back to work.