As you expand your personal and business network, you will inevitably decide whether you are more interested in casting a wide net or building in-depth relationships with fewer people. The two strategies are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I suggest that you do both simultaneously. Social media allows us to literally build a world-wide network if we choose to do so. However, sites such as Twitter might allow us to have thousands of “followers” but we might not really know our followers at all. At the other end of the breadth/depth continuum lies the strategy of getting to know fewer people deeply and to have significant face-to-face contact with them. For example, how many groups do you join and how much time do you spend on each of them?
The two approaches are complementary. For example, many organizations have chapters. You might belong to one chapter and attend the monthly (or weekly) meetings on a regular basis. By only attending your home chapter, you meet a limited number of people. If the organization allows you to attend other chapters as a guest, you can expand your network and meet many more people. You might not get to know all of these additional contacts very well, but you can “go deeper” over time.
I recommend a kind of happy medium, wherein you get to know a certain number of people more intimately, but also continue to expand your network beyond that. Ultimately you have to make certain choices and make referrals and introductions to people that you know, like and trust. Loyalty is important, and you shouldn’t let the broad network preclude sharing business contacts with people with proven records. The decision about whether to primarily establish a deep or wide network will depend on the nature of your business and the amount of time you allot to in-person networking and social media. What is your strategy and is it working for you? What is your position on the breadth/depth spectrum?