Archive for LinkedIn

What The Heck Is Onffline Networking?

We all want to build our businesses and we know that networking with other professionals and business owners is a great way to ‘get the word out’.

You’ve heard of online networking i.e. using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so many others. You’ve heard of offline networking i.e. face to face networking. The kind you get through joining networking groups, chambers of commerce, and attending formal networking meetings or business conventions.

As with most things, there are pros and cons to each.

With online networking you have access to a huge number of individuals. I have found that LinkedIn is one of the best resources for professional online networking. You can locate people within a specific line of business, in a certain demographic, in a particular geographic location, with a specific skill-set, etc. You can connect with them and develop relationships that can lead to improving both your and your connections’ career and/or business. The main problem with online networking is that it takes longer to reach that ‘comfort level’ with another person because it’s done primarily online through messaging and email.

With offline networking, you meet people face-to-face. You shake their hand. You look them in the eye and you can get that warm and fuzzy comfort level much more quickly. The problem with this approach is that your access to these individuals is limited to the groups and events that you attend, and the people you are associated with.

Onffline networking is a combination of both online and offline networking. You look for someone online that meets your preferred criteria. You connect with them however that particular network allows. In the case of LinkedIn, you connect through an associate, send a direct connection request, send an in-mail, or join a common group. Once connected, you get better acquainted initially through email or even a phone call and then, when it makes sense, you set up a time to share a cup of coffee and take the online ‘connection’ offline. This provides the best of both approaches, giving you access to the broad spectrum of people, as well as the warm and fuzzy feeling you get with a face-to-face meeting. This approach is not without its shortfall though. In order to take advantage of this technique, you are typically restricted to only those individuals that are in traveling distance from you. However, it does open the door to many more face-to-face meetings than you could probably arrange through only offline means.

You don’t have to stop connecting the traditional online or offline ways, but add this to your networking approach. Try it and see for yourself if it works for you. It’s worth the effort.

5 Simple Steps to Online Success: What Every Small to Mid-Size Business Must Know

If you are a small to mid-size business with more energy than cash to get started in the online arena, this is for you. These actionable tips can be done on a reasonable budget and are the bottom line necessities for any small to mid-size business today. This article is stripped of heavy techno-lingo and allows most anyone a jumping off point whether they go it alone or are about to meet with their agency and need a guideline of must-do’s.

  1. Have a Website. While you might have a Facebook page, and that is important, it is not a substitute for a Website. Your website must be well-constructed and up-to-date (see step 4). It is important that your website is visited (see the rest of the steps) and visitors stay once they find it.
  2. Be on Social Media. Though it takes time, getting known and building “social” relationships builds a solid market where once there was none – and you can drive those followers to your blog or website to build even more activity for your business. I suggest Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. And to manage your time, try Buffer, which allows you to delay your links and other information to be posted to each of your social spaces when your readers are most likely online for the best impact.
  3. Be Graceful. All of your actions should not be self-promoting. Take time to promote others’ work and business as well. Link to others. They will notice and be more likely to treat you well in return. Also be sure to provide superior customer service to keep everyone talking about you.
  4. Blog and Create Content. You’ll keep your website higher on results pages with updated blogs because search engines tend to pick up the quality content found in blogs. Moreover, because your blog regularly changes, you have an excellent way of keeping your website fresh and up-to-date. No time to blog? Ask your staff to submit short articles, or hire a writer specifically for this task.
  5. Connect Your Way to Success. Your website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever social channels you choose, must connect to one another. Don’t forget to point your offline and online marketing efforts to each other as well. These connections make up the smartest, most effective way to impact your market.

As you apply this information, keep in mind that sometimes less is more. Be certain that your information is not only compelling, but that it is clear. Have someone outside of your business try out your website for ease of use and clarity. Be sure your customers are getting the best care you can offer. Here’s to your success and be sure to share this with someone you know.

(Parts of this article from 5 Tips for Boosting Your SEO on a Tight BudgetBusiness 2 Community by Ken Mueller)

Are you a LinkedIn Spammer?

Are you a LinkedIn user? I am and I love the site. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded individuals, share ideas, solve problems and help one-another.

You can form relationships that are critical to your success, but remember, effective networking requires reciprocity through developing and nurturing win-win relationships. Through LinkedIn, you have opportunities to help those in your network by answering questions, providing relevant leads, and helping them make connections to further their goals.

In the guide to using LinkedIn for business and career management, I’m on LinkedIn–Now What??? (Third Edition): A Guide to Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn, Jason Alba explains that there are six major benefits to LinkedIn:

  • The ability to be known and enhance your personal brand
  • The ability to be found by recruiters or other hiring authorities
  • The ability to find others and make important connections
  • The opportunity to learn and share
  • The ability to connect with group members
  • The opportunity to show you are plugged in to current technology

These are great benefits. There are more but these comprise the top six, in my opinion. All the interaction on LinkedIn is based on respecting your connections. If you treat them with respect they will do the same.

What I DON’T like is when someone uses LinkedIn inappropriately to market their own products and services. We all know that using social networking for business is about building relationships and helping each other grow and improve, but the obvious “Spammers” just don’t seem to get it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone respond to a group discussion with a statement that had nothing to do with what was being discussed. They just wanted to get as many people as possible to click on their website link, and they will respond with that identical post to as many discussions as they can. Do they really think that the people in the group don’t know exactly what they are doing, resulting in the opposite outcome the poster hoped for? Now they have angered the members of the Group, gotten reported as a “Spammer” and forever tarnished their LinkedIn reputation with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

And by the way, when I see these types of blatant misuse, I do report them. You should too.

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