The Power of A Weak Connection

The Power of A Weak Connection

Today we’re talking about the hidden power of a weak connection and why it’s so key to powerful networking. 

A weak link is a second degree connection. It’s a friend of a friend. And you might think that a strong link, a direct link, a first party link is going to be powerful, but let’s examine how this really works. 

The average person has 200 friends. It might Facebook friends, LinkedIn friends, friends that you hang out with, etc. And if they want to get a job, then they might tell these 200 friends, “Hey, I’m looking for a job” “Or do you know somebody who can fix my car?” or, “Do you know someone who can give me advice on a particular kind of thing?”

Those are strong links, but it’s a smaller pool and your close, close friends, maybe it’s 10 people that’s even smaller. Those people are less likely to know of the particular person that you need to meet, of the particular company, of the particular opportunity. 

A weak link is a friend of a friend. So each of those 200 people may know 200 people. So that gives you a wider pool of 40,000 people. Those 40,000 people will come from a more diverse set of social economic circumstances, because people tend to hang around with other people in their same kind of circumstances. 

So that friend of a friend might be able to make that real estate connection that you need or introduce you to somebody that you didn’t even know was in your network. And the funny thing is that when you look at things like John Guerra’s.Six Degrees of Separation, saying that everybody on the planet is connected. Any two random people is no more than six degrees connected from someone else, it shows you how far away you really are from other people. 

Facebook published a study eight years ago, showing the number of degrees of separation between you and the average person on Facebook. And I think Mark Zuckerberg was a 2.9. I was like a 2.8, meaning I was only 2.8 connections away from anybody on the social network. I think Sheryl Sandberg was like a 3.1. (She’s the COO.)

We live in a world where you’re never more than two or three connections away from someone you really want to meet. 

That’s not to say that you should try to get as many followers or friends or LinkedIn connections as possible. But what it does mean is that when you nurture your friends and they know what you are looking for. When you have a clear headline in your LinkedIn bio, when you have a clear purpose in your blog or your personal brand website saying I help X achieve Y through Z, when everyone knows what you’re looking for and what you’re trying to do, it’s a lot easier for them to be able to make connections on your behalf, to be able to make introductions. 

My friend, Caleb Guilliams wrote the book, The And Asset. And I know that he’s one of the world’s best financial advisors. And because he’s done that and he’s put a stake in the ground, he has a YouTube channel, when I know somebody who’s selling their company, or they need some really smart tax strategies, or they want to be able to invest and save at the same time. I know to put them in touch with Caleb Guilliams. 

Think about how you can leverage the power of weak connections. You do that by making sure that your personal brand is visible on all channels, and that your friends know about what you’re doing in a non douchey spammy kind of way. You’ll be surprised at the number of connections that you make. 

It’s those weak connections, which are referrals. They are people that you meet at a conference, or at a dinner party. They provide more value, more business opportunities is going to be the source of your employees. 

When you think about it, everything that is a referral is a weak connection. It could be a Yelp customer that leaves a review for you. It could be somebody that’s a existing customer of yours and they say something nice about you on Twitter.

And if you think about an even weaker connection, a third degree connection, a friend of a friend of a friend, that’s when you do something so awesome, maybe you speak at a conference, you publish a book, you do something that makes TV or media news. Then the ripple effect of the stone being dropped in the pond.  Those ripples go outward and more people know about who you are.

So this is not saying you should try to go viral, but it does say that the connections we need to make, to meet someone, it could be anybody, it could President Obama or Elon Musk, you’re never more than actually two or three connections away. 

And that’s the hidden power of having a strong personal brand. That’s the hidden power that professional networkers know, they people who are really good, that seem to know everybody, that seemed to be able to figure things out. 

It’s the power that weak connection. I hope you’ll take advantage of that. 

And then let me know in the comments, what do you think about this weak connection and how has that influenced how you think about networking? 

Because you never know if you’re just one connection away.

If you liked this, check out this Marketing Millennials podcast I did with Daniel Murray, where we talk about networking, and how to leverage the power of a weak connection. And read this blog post that accompanies it.

And here’s an easy, cheeky way you can jumpstart your weak connections.

This one guy hits me up 6 times a day trying to sell me fake Instagram followers– 5,000 for only $750.

It’s the best price I’ll get anywhere, he exclaims.

I tell him that I want REAL followers who resonate with my content, believe in my mission, and want to be in a community of like-minded people.

But so-and-so has 17.5 million followers and is doing a celebrity giveaway.

You could get another 100,000 followers if you are one of 20 people who each kick in $10,000 to sponsor a tweet.

Not interested, I tell him.

And he proceeds to tell me how little I know about social media, how I’m so dumb to miss this opportunity, and how I need to learn how to use things like video.

I ask him whether he’s seen any of my content– since he’s solely trying to sell me followers, incessantly.

His response is that he’s just trying to help me. And asks me to refer him to my friends, so he can spam them, too.

Friends– go for quality over quantity. If you wanted to destroy your enemy, hire this guy to buy the enemy fake followers.

Their engagement rate (especially comments) will plummet. And there’s no easy way to shed fake fans, much like holiday pounds gained from eating a bit too well. As the algos get tighter this year, quality is what stands out.

How to instantly recognize the experts from the amateurs

Know how to instantly tell an expert from an amateur?

The expert spends 90% of their time practicing the fundamentals and only 10% of their time doing “pro” stuff.

The amateur spends 90% of their time trying to do the “pro” stuff, while ignoring the fundamentals.

  • The amateur marketer chases tricks and hacks.
  • The amateur golfer wants to hit from the black tees.
  • The amateur health nut focuses on fad diets and pills.

The amateur author/speaker/coach dreams of speaking on the big stage, instead of quietly honing their craft.

Their attention is seeking out celebrities to snap “validation” pictures with celebrities, instead of letting the experts testify to their competence.

  • A true expert has massive depth– like an iceberg with 90% below the water, unseen.
  • A true expert publishes because they are compelled to serve and share, with publicity as a necessary evil.
  • A true expert has a loyal following with demonstrated proof of their published how-to process.

Are you focusing on merely how you look or on truly improving who are you?

The fundamentals of digital marketing are getting your GCT (goals, content, targeting) right. That’s what we teach and what I spend most of my time working on.

It’s not flashy, but highly profitable.

I’ve taught over 500 workshops in the last 20 years.

And nearly every time, the ones we list as “expert” with the “latest” tricks and secret algorithmic updates are the ones that pack the room.

But when we actually deliver that material, we lose the audience and they are unhappy– especially the ones who represent themselves as pro (a clear sign that they are not).

Yet when we teach the fundamentals, people say their minds are blown, largely because these are pieces they’ve been missing all along. And then this drives results.

Drive for show, putt for dough, as the golfers like to say.

I am enamored with folks like Ryan Deiss, Michael Stelzner, and Shawn Collins who teach based on their own execution.

They focus on the step-by-step HOW TO, like expert chefs that have time-tested recipes for the most requested meals.

Why you need a good mentor to succeed, and how to get one

Do you feel as though you’re working tirelessly with little to no progress being made?

You want to succeed so badly, but it’s very difficult if you’re relying upon your own knowledge and your own network.

Luckily, there’s another person who wants to see you succeed, and who can help you grow and realize more of your potential much sooner than you dreamed.

That person is a mentor.

Mentorship is the reason I am where I am today. My mentor was the former CEO of American Airlines, and without his influence in my life I would likely not be doing what I am now in my career.

The great thing about having a mentor in your life is that it’s proven expertise– they’ve achieved what you want to do. A mentor can provide you with the money, connections and experience that you would otherwise have to gain through many years of failure and painful lessons.

Some good practices I have found in seeking after a mentor, if you’re interested:

  • Follow people who do what you want to do. If you don’t know what it is you want to do, you’ll never be able to boil the ocean to fry the fish. You’ve got to zero in on the people you want to be like.
  • Study their content. When you can show that you’ve done your homework and know how you want to contribute, you are much more likely to gain their respect.
  • Demonstrate gratitude. Coming from a place of gratitude and humility will increase your chances of eliciting a positive response.
  • Offer a small favor. This could be simply asking in what ways you could help them, and you may be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves.

I get hit up constantly by people seeking favors or advice, but the people who take the above approach are often the only I’ll take the time out of my day to respond to.

Now, understand this isn’t me suggesting you to immediately reach out to Richard Branson or Tony Robbins for mentorship, but what you will find is that there are many other people who you can seek after that can help you do the things you want to do– IF you’re specific and know exactly what it is you want to do.

Does this make sense to you?

Listen to this podcast I did on how mentorship can enhance your life, income, and impact to gain deeper insights into this subject and learn more in-depth strategies.