To some, Lady Gaga is the ultimate poster child for personal branding success – and to others, she represents a perfect example of taking it too far. Gaga is truly a polarizing figure, and her tendency to do things like wear dresses made of meat ensures she will remain that way.
Yet, one particular lesson learned from Lady Gaga isn’t extreme or shocking – in fact, it is quite simple and rooted in common sense. During a recent concert (which I attended, insert jokes in the comment section), Lady Gaga hinted at her upcoming album and a few early critiques she has received. The critical consensus is that the album might not appeal to those who aren’t fans of hers already. Her response… “Who cares? Nothing matters more to me than my current fans.”
Thus, I give you the Lady Gaga Rule of Social Networking:
Appreciate the importance of your current network. Finding new connections should be secondary to maintaining existing relationships.
Admittedly, this can be a difficult rule to remember – especially across the social web. With your number of Twitter followers, Linkedin connections, Facebook friends, etc on constant display, it’s easy to get caught up in the “hunt for more”.
And of course it is true that Lady Gaga likely has about 200 million more “connections” than you. No matter. This principle applies whether your network totals 4500 or 45. As with most things in life, successful networking is “quality over quantity”.
What are a few ways by which you can show your appreciation for your current network? We are presented with endless opportunities everyday, really. Here are a couple of easy ones:
- Dig through your old Rolodex or contact list and dial up a few old connections with whom you’ve lost touch.
- Monitor your Linkedin connections for recent profile updates. Profile updates show when a connection may have been hired, fired, or promoted – all instances in which you’d likely want to reach out.
- Make a Twitter list of your favorite tweeters (especially folks you know “in real life”) and seek opportunities to retweet their articles or individual tweets.
- Check your email inbox – any messages from your network that have gone unresponded to for far too long?
None of the action items described above are rocket science. (Unless you are a rocket scientist who has lost touch with your fellow rocket scientists…) But, tasks like these are essential to nurturing existing relationships.
So, while the lure of the “new connection” and unseen opportunity around the corner can be enticing, keep the Lady Gaga Rule of Social Networking in mind. Show each friend or current/former colleague how much you value them – and avoid turning a solid relationship into a bad romance.