“NetCRED”….. How Much BLING Do You REALLY Have?

by / ⠀Personal Branding Startup Advice / June 12, 2022

Did you know that spammers are the real pioneers of social media?  I am serious – they really are.

They were here way before all of our favorite social media platforms!  These “spammers” build huge connection lists and then send out their “status updates.” Today, I received 89 emails from “fling,” “free-viagra-before-buying,” “horny-matches,” requesting that I indulge in their friendly request to “learn how to create a lifetime of unlimited wealth..”

Similarly, this morning, I woke up to find twenty connection and friend requests on my various Linked-In, Facebook, and Ning accounts.   Oh, and we can’t forget all the “helpful” people who felt they needed to tweet “@phillyinnovator”  to share with me new ways to get Twitter followers.

Who are you people!? We have never met, will never meet, and you have done nothing for me!   I will not be your Facebook friend, your Linked-In connection, follow you on Twitter, or do anything of a sort.  And if somehow we are e-connected, believe me; I am not going to help you accomplish anything.

And so I have established, “NetCred.”  It is a personal measure of what distance I will go to assist an e-connection, or if I will even connect to you in the first place.  If I don’t know you, NetCred is all that’s between you and my SPAM folder.   Essentially, NetCred is my personal phrase for “Internet credibility.”

When I talk about how to network in real life, I say you have about ten seconds to make a first impression.   If you haven’t read the article, know that 7 seconds of your first impression comes before you ever meet someone in person.

Guess what’s awesome about the digital world?  You get to establish NetCred prior to the first “meeting!” You can, very literally, dictate your own first impression!

The first thing that you need to know about NetCred is that your connection numbers on any social network can immediately hurt you.  Both extremely low or high number of connections immediately are scary.  A high number of connections says you will link up with anyone and don’t have a real interest in creating any type of relationship with people – which makes you look phony and unreliable.  A low number of links to people says you’re not really interested in making connections, you’re lazy, or you don’t know how to use Internet tools to network – all detrimental to your NetCred.

Unless you are a superstar, I’m already positive that requesting a favor from any of these connections is as good as asking your sixth uncle’s third cousin to give you free tickets to the Super Bowl.   Honestly, I don’t want to be put in the position of being asked so I probably won’t even connect to you.

There are two ways to build your NetCred:  social credibility and personal credibility.   Let’s look at each:

Social Credibility:

Obtaining social credibility is your key to making great connections on the Internet.  And the cool thing is that it’s really simple to do!  You just have to do “net favors” so that someone might remember you when the time comes for someone to help you.   Basically, karma is key and it comes back to you.   Keep in mind that you don’t have to know someone personally to scratch their back on the Internet.

Linked-In: There are so many things that you can do on Linked-In.  Send someone a job opening that might fit them. Comment on the articles in discussion groups if you like them. Use your status messages to share others accomplishments, and comment when someone leaves a new status message.  Join others groups and start thoughtful discussions and participate in others. Answer questions in your area of expertise in the “question” section. Be an active user and others will remember you.

Facebook: If a person has a Facebook fan group that you like.  Join it!  But..  make sure though, that you don’t cross your personal interests with your business.  Keep it private.  Facebook was designed to help real friends share real details about their lives and it is GREAT for that purpose.  But if I don’t know you well enough to tell you personal details of my life in person, you should not be my Facebook friend.

Twitter: Retweet articles!   Comment on other’s tweets.  Do “Follow Fridays.” Comment in #hashtag discussions.  Publicly share others appropriate accomplishments.  Be an active user, and you will get noticed.  If you are there just for your own interests, you will be passed over for somebody who isn’t.

Blogs: Comment on them if you like an article!  It took someone a lot of time to write a high quality piece so give them the common courtesy of letting them know your thoughts. Or even if you don’t like the article or agree with it, let them know that too! It helps them improve or see something through a different lens.   Do you see that “share this” option at the bottom of an article?  Do that too!  Get familiar with sites like Digg, StumpleUpon, and Technorati, and submit things that you like to them.   And if you are writing a blog, link to other articles that you like!  Being a passive reader and not commenting, sharing or showing your appreciation could hurt your potential to make a connection.

E-mail: There is never anything wrong with a congratulatory or a thank you email.   If you hear of a promotion at a company – send that person a quick congratulations note. If you appreciate someone’s work, send them an email!   I have made a number of huge connections on the Internet simply by sending an “Hey I think you are awesome” e-mail.

Websites: If you have a website, and you know of an expert that has a great opinion on something that you are talking about, link to them. For example, if you write or blog about one of my articles on your blog or newsletter and then link to it, I get a pretty cool little notification that you have quoted me or linked to me (this is called a pingback or trackback).   I make a point of knowing EVERY site that links to me and I usually send the author a thank you. So guess what happens when THAT person needs a favor?

Personal Credibility:

A lot of personal credibility on the Internet deals with your ability to build your own brand.  There are hundreds of resources out there on each of these points, but let’s quickly summarize….

  1. Linked-In –  Have a Linked-In profile that is catchy and detailed.  Your headline is EXTREMELY important.  You MUST have a professional picture as well.   Quality recommendations from colleagues, customers, and supervisors are a must as well. Listing interests and joining groups are very important too as they increase the likelihood that you will share an interest with a future colleague.  You can get MAJOR credibility by starting a linked-in group and growing it to a respectable size.
  2. Facebook – Facebook can REALLY hurt you.  Be careful.  I am serious.
  3. Twitter – Do have a twitter account – if you can stand it.   Simply be yourself and talk about what interests you.  You will build followers that way if you have interesting content.  If you can’t come up with interesting content, simply share what you find interesting from other people.
  4. Google – Be number #1 when you search for your name on Google.
  5. Website – Build a website for yourself.  Many people choose to blog.  Simply pick a topic that is interesting to you and run with it. Then generate traffic by getting people to read, spread and comment on your blog entries and articles.   In order to gain credibility you need people commenting on your page.
  6. Social Networks – I really don’t participate in too many of them. Social networks are sites like Ning, and Friendster.  The rule really is if it is useful to you, then use it.  If you are just registering to register, though, and you won’t contribute in the way you should, this is not very credible or useful.

Conclusions: It is becoming an every day experience to make new connections through the Internet.  And as you do so, it is of the UTMOST importance that these new connections get the best first impression possible.  I hope you find this useful, and will make the necessary changes!   Oh, and for a laugh, here is a graphic representation I made of the NetCred process.


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About the Author: Sam Diener is an up and coming entrepreneur in the Philadelphia area. He writes and maintains the Sam Diener Blog where talks about “Stuff for Success,”  including how to professionally network, and other skills you can use to change everything in your life. Look for more from him soon!

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.