In the article titled “3 Benefits of Mapping Your Network” by Karl Stark and Bill Stewart, co-founders of Avondale, the authors discuss how creating visual depictions of their social media networks showed them ways to grow their business through relationships, referrals, and recommendations. The authors hired a social media expert to map out their networks in order to find the best contenders to conduct business with.
They were able to use this information to build a business plan, and to know what key relationships they should invest in for the best long-term results.
“When Bennett analyzed our employees’ networks, he looked to the strengths and weaknesses of our connections and the interrelation between those connections. He was able to locate the gaps, or people that should be connected but are not, and identify the “bridges,” or people that connect the groups. In creating a healthy and strong network, Bennett emphasized we need to look at the bridges within the firm as well as individuals outside the firm who can introduce us to a new collection of relationships.”
Below I listed free tools that you can use to map out your own social networks within Linkedin and Facebook. You can use these to find “hidden gems” in your network to collaborate with. Twitter is noticeably missing as I was not impressed by the quality of free tools offered online. I believe that a paid program like Sprout will offer better analytics for visualizing your followers.
1. Linkedin: I used a great tool called socilab to map out my connections. Using the clusters, I could see my integral networks from my different communities. I can easily discern my strongest connections, and discovered surprising relations between Linkedin friends that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.
2. Facebook – For this visualization tool, I used the website http://www.yasiv.com/, which allows you to view a visualization of your Facebook friends and see how people are connected with one another. Its a fun one to play around with and see your strongest connections.