Jun 102012
 

Business Social Networking- LinkedinBusiness Social Networking: Build numbers or build relationships? You may have asked yourself after hearing all this stuff about connecting with your audience “How can I possibly create a relationship with all the friend requests?” Let’s get into a few strategies on how to do it timely and effectively.

Today it seems like everyone is concerned with acquiring one the many labels out there, which provide more and more false sense of accomplishment every day. There are the LinkedIn LIONs (Linked In Open Networker) with more than 500 1st generation connections, then the Twitter Gurus with tens of thousands of followers , and let’s not forget the Facebook Ninjas with their multiple thousands of “friends.”

Business Social Networking Guru'sDoes any of this really matter? Yes and No. Obviously you want a large audience and it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking all you need is more connections, but most of us sacrifice relationships for numbers. With all the marketing mediums changing everyday people DO NOT want to be sold to. Now think about the strategy of just building large numbers of connections, what are you going to do with them once you have them?

Your goal may be to add value, but you barley know anything about the audience so how can you possibly add value to thousands of people that you don’t even know?

The answer is: it is a massive hit or miss.

Quality over quantity. This is the difference between working smart or working hard. Obviously having a large number of contacts is great, you don’t want a small audience of only a bunch of people you know. “New blood” is the life-source any business, however time must be dedicated to interacting with select people you have deemed your “Hot Prospects.”

Business Social Networking Ninja!These are people you have personally looked into and have determined that developing a relationship could be mutually beneficial.

Ok, but what can I do to continue building a strong following, personalize select connections, and manage my time most effectively?

Here are 4 ideas to help you out:

1) Create Lists

You can create lists on each of the networks. (On LinkedIn they are called Tags) What is great about creating lists is it enables you to categorize your contacts. So instead of having just a big hodgepodge of people you have them organized into categories set to your specification so you can keep an eye on the key players you want to build a stronger relationship with.

2) Use Social Media Dashboards

Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are the first 2 that come to mind. There are quite a few out there here is a link to a great review site for many of others Click HERE. These help you organize multiple social networks in one place so you can organize your lists and communicate with everyone without having to log in to all the sites directly.

3) Talk to you new connections

No I did not use talk as a metaphor for email, dm, private message, or inmail. Actually use a phone for something other than taking pictures or going online and call someone! If getting away from your computer is too much of a stretch use Skype.

You will be amazed at someone’s willingness to talk with you. We are so accustomed to all of the digital forms of communication when someone we meet online asks to speak with us that it is a HUGE pattern interrupt and they almost can help but saying “Sure.”

Try to set just a few phone appointments with new connections a week and watch how your exposure, traffic, and credibility increase.

4) Exponentially expand your network

Two tools I enjoy are Toplinked and Tweetadder. It may seem like I am contradicting myself a little here, but I think having more friend requests to sort from empowers you to be a little more choosey when adding new contacts. Big numbers can really become more of an ego booster than an income generator if not utilized properly.

I would much rather sort through inbound connections than blindly search. At least these people potentially have some kind of interest in you. Although, every 2-3 weeks I do a personal search for some interesting people to start trying to connect with.

Pretty much what this all sums up to is plant the seeds now and reap the harvest later. I know kind of an obvious notion, but the success in using social networking for business stems from mastering the mundane.

Master the simple tasks over time and you will be astonished how your business’s social networks are going to begin spinning off income.

What is your favorite social networking tool?

May 302012
 

Become the Business Social Networking Terminator!“T” factor? Who do I Terminate? My business’s social networking plan doesn’t address this!

Think for a moment why people would come back to your site. Needless to say great content is a must, but are you creating a personal experience?

The “T” factor helps you terminate your competition and portrays you as a more approachable resource. What I am referring to is Transparency.

Transparency in your online and offline business networking efforts is what humanizes your audience’s perception of you. All of these “new” ways of marketing seem to have people thinking that; 1. They really are new ideas, and 2. The more money they throw at it the more ROI they will make.

Let’s clarify this and give you some strategies to implement that will help you become more valuable and expand your viral growth.

None of these new age techniques are new. The internet is a new player, but the game is still the same. I just started watching the show “Mad Men,” it is about the early stages of advertising companies in the 60’s. Very cool show, but their objectives are the same as today’s advertisers.

Get your audience talking and raving about you!

Word-of-mouth is and always has been the strongest form of advertising known to man. How does this relate to being transparent? Well, would you be more likely to refer someone to contact, website, or business that has a persona of being stuffy, serious, always business, and almost seems scripted in conversations?

Probably not.

You would however, refer someone with personality, friendliness, and an openness to help? In a heartbeat!

Even the standard term “business networking” has evolved into “business social networking,” or “social business networking.Social is the key word.

How are you incentivizing and socializing with your audience to make them raving fans? Spending more money on banner ads and commercials will continue to show a smaller and smaller ROI. Investing in customer communication and customer gratitude will exponentially increase your earnings.

Top secret tip of the day:

Ok, I just implemented this and it has already shown to be an easy, and awesome way to grow a group or fan page virally. It starts on your website.

1. You have your opt-in box giving something of value on your website. (If you have one and nobody is taking advantage of your offer… Change it!)

2. The next page, for me, is an email confirmation page.

3. Once email is confirmed you are sent to a “Welcome and Thank You” page that has a contest with instructions that most people will take advantage of.

My page looks like this:

Welcome and Thank You for subscribing to BNL’s email list!

Every month we are giving away a $25 Visa Gift card!

Please see details or watch short video tutorial below

To get involved all you need to do is:

  1. Become a fan of BNL on Facebook
  2. Tag BNL in a post sharing this link http://businessnetworkinglife.com (To “tag” someone put the @ directly before typing someone’s name)

If you need a little visual watch the video.

When completed your post should look something like this:

Business Social Networking Resource Tag

Now I have captured somebody’s email with an offer of value, and made a secondary value offer for a chance at $25 to share something they have already seen value in. Even if you have 1-3 people a day doing this is it worth $25 a month for 30+ people talking about why everyone should check your site out?

Business social networking will continue to evolve and it is imperative for you to share your personality and humbleness to your audience while providing incredible value.

Let us know one super awesome strategy that has helped you in your business.

May 222012
 

Guest Post By: Katie Krienitz, COO or The Wealth Building Annex

Being passionate about your company is a vital component of every successful business owner. It may not always be the product or service you’re passionate about. It could be the marketing of that product or service, the systemization of the company, the management of the team, the execution of the sales process or even the development of new ideas that get your juices flowing. Wherever that passion lies, it’s crucial to constantly stay in contact with it..otherwise, it dies. And then, your business becomes WORK.

I was definitely in WORK mode a few weeks ago. Exhausted and burnt out, I sat in a fog during a team meeting as our marketing plan was discussed. One of the ways I experience joy in our business is in the details of our processes…making sure that our company is as systemized as possible. Apparently, my passion for this had served its purpose because there was no longer a need for the majority of my time to be spent on our systems. I have an incredible team that I can hand these systems over to, so my time was now free to market and bring in new members. And because I was not in touch with a passion for marketing, our business was now WORK to me.

Until...a brainstorm.

Chris, Mark and I sat at the table while committee meetings, events and networking ideas were discussed, none of which made me very excited. To be honest, my stomach began churning as I anticipated walking into each of these scenarios. While I love to connect with others and form strategic alliances, networking, committee meetings and events are not my strengths. I slumped in my chair and felt defeated. I saw the looks on their faces – business owners who loved to get involved in the ways that made me cringe. Frustrated and feeling lost, I suddenly blurted, “what other ways, besides joining committees and networking groups, can I get out there and connect with other business people?” Thoughtful stares, but nothing. The conversation resumed and went in different directions. A few minutes later, Mark brought up the Centre Club golf membership and suddenly, I sat up straight.

“Golf! I can golf with people!!!!” A seemingly easy concept had hit me hard. “It makes perfect sense! I’m an athlete. I love sports. I can incorporate my athletics into my marketing!” All the tension and pressure that had been building up over the past few weeks were immediately gone. “And I can pick up tennis again too!” There it was…my passion. Once again living in the same space with me and my business.

I know this sounds ridiculously simple. But as your relationship with your business matures and changes, the smallest of tweaks can have the most powerful effects. I felt horrible for a long time that I didn’t want to be a part of 20 committees and join 15 different networking groups. But with a simple twist of how I can embrace marketing in a way that excites me, I’m not WORKING anymore…I’m playing business builder. And I’d say my 227 yard drive on my first time out on the golf course says I’m playing to win! (yes, it was straight on the fairway).