Archive for networking
Success in this age of technology means networking in person, as well as online. A combination of both will increase your social reach exponentially. Plus, it’s fun to meet people at events and then continue the conversation online; or make connections with people in different parts of the world while aiming to meet them in real life one day.
“Social and live networking can be used together to build relationships like never before,” explains Babette Pepaj, Founder & CEO of BakeSpace, Inc and CookbookCafe.com. “When you meet someone face-to-face, you can stay connected and follow their endeavors through social media. Likewise, when you get to know someone through social media and then meet face-to-face, you hit the ground running and can quickly build an even more meaningful connection.”
Pepaj adds, “The key to success is ensuring that you have the same genuine persona both online and in the real world.”
So where to meet people? Online: through Twitter, groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and Google Plus communities. Plus, many conferences and panels put up the social links of their speakers, so you can connect before a big meeting.
Then, there’s the old standard – meeting through mutual friends. I’ve often heard it said: Twitter is for new friends, Facebook is for friends you already know. If there’s an expert in your industry you’d like to meet, start by seeing if you have a friend in common who can introduce you. You can also follow them on Twitter, send a message, and start a conversation.
Looking to expand your live network? Here are some recommendations.
Try to attend at least one or two events every month. I aim for one or two events a week. In Los Angeles, some nights there are more than three or four events competing for attention. Even those who live in smaller cities can find places to meet people in real life. Check with your Chamber of Commerce, local library, or Meetup groups to find events that meet your interests. You can even start your own group.
Every now and then, attend a meeting that’s a little out of your specific area of interest, in order to meet a different group of people. Remember, the people you meet may not be your audience, customer, or reader … but they might know the people who are. Or you might just make a new friend.
If feasible, attend one conference a year with other people in your industry, whether or not it’s local. Be sure to connect with them before the meeting and follow up after.
Speaking of which …
Before you attend an event, ask if anyone in your real and virtual network is also attending, so you can be sure to meet. Inquire via status update, tweet, or email, if anyone knows others who are speaking or who will be there.
After each event go through your business cards and connect with the people you meet on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. Not everyone likes to connect at a personal level on Facebook right away, but go ahead and support them by liking their fan pages.
Mutual friends – and mutual interests – are just conversation starters. The rest is up to you.
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According to a Harvard Business Review blog post entitled, “Three New Networks for the Digital Age,” just having an online network isn’t enough.
In this post, I’ll explore steps you can take to turn those online contacts to offline business relationships. I’ll use the thought of heading to a large event or conference as the stake in the ground so you have a “when and where” for connecting with some of your online contacts.
Here are 8 things you can do to turn social media contacts into offline business relationships.
#1: Get Clear on Your Goals
Start out by using a tool like Evernote to capture some of your thoughts.
Capture what you’re currently working on, your current goals, the people you think can help you move your goals forward and what you’re currently looking to learn. (You may or may not actually have a name for your direction, but a title will do—think of creating a networking persona.)
If you’re less of the linear type, you can use a mind-mapping tool like MindJet.
Being clear on your goals, the kinds of people who can help you and what you want to learn helps narrow down the list of people in your network with whom you would like to connect.
#2: Gather Your Contacts
Next, you have to set up a system that’s going to help you learn as much as you can about your soon-to-be-offline contacts.
Tools like Engagio can help pull together your contacts from Twitter, email, Facebook and LinkedIn and keep track of their social media activity in one location.
You want to know when your contacts get that promotion or when they express frustration with their new tax guy (really helpful to know if you are in the tax business).
#3: Meet Virtually
After doing the recon and getting a sense of what is going on with your target contacts, the next step is to go from text to video communication.
Video moves you from being another tweet or Facebook message to an actual person. Nothing beats being able to look someone in the eye and see their expression/reaction to something you just said. You just can’t get that with Twitter or Facebook.
Of course you can never tell if someone is dressed nicely from the waist up while wearing PJ bottoms, but that shouldn’t matter. The trick to video chat as you move your relationship closer to meeting face to face is a little bit of preparation and a whole lot of curiosity about the other person.
You want to learn their backstory, but for that first chat, don’t take too deep of a dive and ask them to tell you their deepest, darkest secret. Yes, someone actually asked me that on our first Skype call.
#4: Remember People
You’re a busy professional and one of the biggest challenges in keeping a network alive is to remember to reach out. There are several tools you can use to help you set up reminders.
Ming.ly lets you choose the frequency of your interactions with your contact and sends you a message if you haven’t reached out in the selected time-frame.
The idea here is to put yourself in a “set it and forget it” mode while still staying top of mind before actually meeting in person.
#5: Acknowledge People
Let people know that you’re looking forward to meeting them in person. You can leverage Twitter to send a quick message like, “Hey @Joe, great Skyping with you. Can’t wait to meet you in person at #SMMW13.”
— Cindy King (@CindyKing) February 13, 2013
There’s no doubt that there are people you would like to meet, but haven’t connected with yet. Put out the following message: “Who else is going to Social Media Marketing World in April?”
Once you get a response, you can reply and also take the opportunity to put your recon (see step #2) skills into action to learn more about the person who replied to you. Is he/she someone you would like to connect with in person?
Start following the person on different social media platforms, listen to his/her social media conversations and propose a 15-minute Skype session to get to know each other better.
#6: Connect People
This advice is valuable because you want to be known as a giver; someone who will help others solve problems by introducing them to people with the expertise they’re looking for.
Groups on different social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn serve as an excellent place to ask questions like, “Does anyone in our group focus on podcasting for beginners? If so, I’d love to chat for 5 minutes.”
Once you validate connections, ask them if they mind if you introduce them to someone who could use their expertise.
The introduction can sound something like this: “Joe, meet Sue. I thought with your mutual interest in podcasting, it made sense that you two know each other. I’ll let you take it from here.”
You may not have both parties’ email addresses, but if you’re all on Facebook, a private message to both is a great way to go.
#7: Have Fun and Capture the Moment
When I recently arrived early to a Seth Godin event, I ran into Seth himself in the hallway and quickly let my friends on Path know. One of my friends quickly responded, “With no pic, it didn’t exist.”
Be sure to capture the moment when you finally turn your online contact to an offline relationship, or as I like to call it, turn #HashtagsToHandshakes.
Path is a great way to share information and link it to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. Path serves as an excellent recordkeeper because of its search functionalities. It’s handy when you want to go back and research exactly when you first met someone face to face and at what event.
#8: Attend Conferences
An excellent opportunity to turn your online contacts to offline contacts is at conferences. They already serve as a natural filtration system based on the topic of the conference.
I’ll be helping facilitate in-person contacts at Social Media Marketing World. I hope to meet you there!
Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.
As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.
Watch this video to get a quick overview of Social Media Marketing World.
What do you think? What’s the next event or conference you’ll be attending? What tip(s) above will you experiment with? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Is it her magical vocals or her higher Klout score?
And if Seth Godin (Klout score: 0) chooses not to interact on Twitter, does that mean he’s less influential than Uncle Pete, whose Klout score is 35?
These are some of the tricky questions that are being asked since the emergence of new systems that attempt to measure people’s online influence through “social scoring.”
But the question is this: How exactly is “influence” measured? And how do those who make such personal yet inflammatory verdicts decide the scores?
You Have Become a Number
If you have a social media account, your value as an influencer is already being calculated based on how often you tweet, connect, share and comment.
The measure of your “personal power” is your Klout score. The higher your score, the more “powerful and influential” you are. A high Klout score (say 70 and up) will almost guarantee your chances of getting a better job, higher social status and maybe even better luck on the dating scene!
Believe it or not, there are people who are taking this number very seriously. Some have even started to question the wisdom of going on long vacations after working so hard to build up their Klout scores.
In his book Return on Influence, Mark Schaefer explores these controversial new developments, discusses why they’re important for businesses and why you should be taking notes.
If you want to become more influential—or just want to figure out who the influencers are—here’s what you need to know about Mark’s latest book.
Mark Schaefer wrote Return on Influence to help you understand how you measure up on the social web and what that score means to your career or your business.
“Why must I measure up?”, you ask. Because there appears to be a fascinating connection between unprecedented business opportunities and this new thing called personal influence.
For the first time ever, companies can now identify, quantify and even reward valuable word-of-mouth influencers who have the power to drive demand for their products.
While the idea of being rated by some obscure online system seems outrageous, the fact is you ARE being judged whether you like it or not! And so you need to educate yourself about this issue so you can make some important decisions of your own.
What to Expect
At 206 pages, Return on Influence (ROI) is a highly readable and provocative book. It introduces the notion of “personal power” on the social web, but it also cautions that influence is by definition elitist.
Through dozens of stories, interviews and case studies, Return on Influence will sway the way you think about your own power, how to leverage it, and of course, how you can increase it (if that’s what you want!).
Fair warning—If you’re lucky enough to have a high Klout score, you will LOVE this book! You’ll even pay closer attention to the care and nurturing of “your number.”
But if your score is low or mediocre (50 or less), then prepare to be thoroughly unnerved. In fact, you’ll probably be offended!
#1: The Citizen Influencer
When Virgin America opened their Toronto route last spring, they asked Klout to find a small group of influencers to receive a free flight in the hopes that they would effectively spread the word.
Calvin Lee, a graphic designer from L.A., was one of the lucky ones on that free flight simply because he was a prolific tweeter. Lee, who describes himself in his Twitter profile as a “social media ho,” is a human news service. When Lee tweets, people respond and his growing influence has won him celebrity-status perks.
Lee says, “I tweet at least 200 times a day… I look for interesting links from my friends and sift them through for good stuff… I think people feel that I’m a real person who is part of their lives.”
These days, you don’t have to be George Clooney or Lady Gaga to get an invitation to the exclusive world behind the velvet rope. Brands are turning to regular folks (like you!) to tell their stories. Instead of spending millions of dollars on television ads, they’re inviting thousands of people—citizen influencers—to talk about their products and influence their friends.
#2: Klout, Social Proof and Reciprocity
Social proof is the idea that if you have a high Klout score, thousands of followers or hundreds of retweets on your blog posts, then you’re worthy of people’s attention. But let’s talk this through, shall we?
There are those in the online world who appear to have power and influence, even without a shred of experience, intelligence or accomplishment.
Matt Ridings, founder of MSR Consulting, has a slightly lower Klout score than the mayor of his hometown of St. Louis. Both of them, however, have a lower Klout score than one @common_squirrel, a (spammy) Twitter account whose content consists only of posts such as “acorn,” “sniff” and “jump, jump, jump.”
While he (Matt) engages on a one-to-one basis with his followers and tries to deliver useful content, the other account doesn’t engage, network or do anything for anyone—it simply doesn’t care.
So the question is, how did Klout assign this spammy account a higher measure of influence than an authentic person?
Mark concludes this section by reminding us that true and lasting influence is not the ever-changing badge of scores; rather, it’s about humanity, credibility, meaningful content and an engaged group of followers.
Reciprocity too is another thorny issue.
That’s because much influence on the social web is built on a promised return of favors; for instance, “You retweet this and I’ll retweet yours” or “I’ll like your page if you like mine.”
The trouble with reciprocity, as we know, is that it’s not always clear if you’re leveraging your relationships or just using people. Doing favors so that people owe you favors should never be the motivation behind developing relationships. But who knows what someone’s true intentions really are?
#3: Increasing Your Klout Score
Increasing your own Klout score boils down to three practical steps:
1. Build a relevant network that includes a content strategy and a network strategy.
Provide content that delivers some kind of personal or business benefit to a targeted audience that is interested in you and what you’re doing.
Have more people following you than you follow on Twitter. However, the size of your network isn’t as important as having those people react to your content.
Don’t just accumulate followers or only send links. Followers who never interact with you will not help your score. Neither will sending out links 100% of the time because it says that YOU can’t be influenced into acting.
2. Have a strategy to provide exceedingly useful, helpful, interesting and entertaining content.
You can either curate content or generate original content. However, creating original content from your own blog is a key element for success with Klout.
Create the kind of content that will survive longer and be passed along for several days—this really rocks your Klout amplification.
Finally you must be consistent. This is one of the most controversial policies of Klout, but if you stop participating in the social web for even a few days, your score begins to drop!
3. Systematically engage influencers who are most willing to distribute your content.
Klout has made it clear that engaging with people with higher scores will tend to increase your own score as well.
If you’re able to engage with influencers and they in turn respond to you, this is a validation of your potential power.
Try to connect with your offline friends and turn online connections into offline friends. In both cases, these people will be more willing to engage with you and share your content along.
When networking offline, make sure people know how to find your online platforms so that they can engage with you there as well.
Mark’s latest book has definitely earned itself a space on your shelf. It’s highly significant, extremely relevant and you’d be ill-advised not to read it. But the subject matter is not pretty—quite the opposite, frankly.
Consider the evidence:
- A system that cold-heartedly defines “the valuable” and “the irrelevant” members of our online society
- The same system proceeds to encourage you to hob-nob with the former and toss aside the latter
- This system can deem you influential and powerful, even without a shred of experience, intelligence or education
- That one can devote so much time, effort and even brain cells just to increase a silly number that has no bearing on the quality of real life is remarkable
- And when you consider that Klout is still in its infancy, you wonder how anyone can take such a flawed system so seriously
But to Klout-less rebels such as myself, Mark would argue that it has some value: Companies can now (cost-effectively) identify the people they should be interacting with, Klout helps to monitor and filter engagement and it opens up new marketing channels.
Mark presents a fair and balanced perspective on this hot button issue and he doesn’t sugar-coat the problems with Klout either. He is not saying that Klout is good or bad—just that “it is what it is” and that people are taking note of it.
In the end it’s your call, but Mark wants you to answer this question for yourself: What is true and lasting influence? After all, Seth Godin had clout even before Klout was Klout.
Social Media Examiner gives this brilliant and extraordinary book a full 5-star rating.
Over to You
What do you think? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Back in October we introduced you to Israeli startup Bizzabo, the smartphone app designed to help professionals discover new business opportunities at conferences and event organizers to promote and engage directly with attendees. Today, Bizzabo has announced that it has secured $1.5 million in funding from leading angel investors.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.