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5 Effective Networking Takes Commitment and Clarity

These days the word networking has any number of meanings and context.

There’s social networking, the kind of networking you do wherever two or more of you are gathers and of course that pesky wiring together of far flung computer nodes that might come up in a random search on the term networking.


I’m at SXSWi this week in Austin and hidden in all those tweets and posts from giddy geeks gone gonzo is the fact that this event is one of the premiere networking events for people in the online and interactive world.

But, networking in your world, no matter where that takes place, is still one of the most important elements of small business relationship building. Like many elements of marketing, however, it’s even more effective when you learn how to blend good old “hi, tell me about your business” with “Let’s connect online.”


  • Networking takes commitment because:
  • You’ve got to actually get out and go where people are
  • You’ve got to take some time to learn about who might be at the event
  • You’ve got to make an effort to get uncomfortable
  • You’ve got to actually care about what the new person you just met is saying
  • You’ve got to hold off launching into a sales pitch
  • You’ve got to commit to meeting everyone in the same way
  • You’ve got to accept that people need to meet you
  • You’ve got to be willing to approach anyone


  • Networking takes clarity because:
  • You’ve got to know exactly how you add value
  • You’ve got to know exactly whom you can help
  • You’ve got to keep your business card from becoming a reflex
  • You’ve got to have an online connection plan
  • You’ve got to have a follow-up plan
  • You’ve got to know who else needs to meet who you meet

Today, pick an event and make a plan to make it amazing. Stuff this list in your pocket and then move fearlessly around the room making meaningful connection with every single person you don’t already know.

17 Two Ways to Make Social Networking Really Pay

First off I want to apologize to anyone who came to this post expecting to hear about some new secret tool or approach for gaining Facebook fans.

The reality is that you make social networking pay the way you’ve always made networking pay – by focusing on two things – who you can help and who can help you. (If you find that you initially recoil a bit at the bluntness of that statement, I’ll explain it in a way that may help.)

Image linus_art via Flickr CC

Now, if you accept that my basic networking statement is true, then you must surely also come to the realization that it’s not a numbers game – well, actually it is, but it’s not a “get lots of followers game.”

If you are going to limit your networking to those you can help or target and network with someone that can help you, you’ve got a real capacity problem.

See, in order to do either or both, you must actually get to know something about the hopes, dreams, goals and objectives of the person you’re trying to network with and you can’t do that with a “follow” or a “like.”

The surest way to make social networking pay is to build deeper relationships with fewer people. Likes and follows and witty tweets may create awareness for your brand and open doors for actual networking, but nothing can deliver the payoff of actually helping someone else get what they want or connecting with someone who can help you get what you want.

But here’s the really interesting thing about this point of view – you accomplish both – helping people get what they want and connecting with those that can help you get what you want in exactly the same way – and that’s by giving.

Here’s your 2-part assignment for the next month.

1) Identify five people that you know you can help and that you would appreciate your help and reach out and offer to do something very specific to help them with your only goal being to raise them up a bit and start to build a relationship based on giving.

2) Identify five people that you know can help you achieve an objective this year and reach out and offer to do something very specific to help them with your only goal being to become a resource and start to build a relationship based on giving.

Sure, all that helping people get what they want might cut into your tweeting, but by building fewer, deeper, stronger, authentic relationships in this very manner you can make your social networking efforts pay off royally.

26 Does Promotion Work on Twitter?

So, if you’ve made it here from twitter you’ve probably concluded that this is either a brilliant ploy or I’m an idiot, but either way, there will be learning. If that’s not how you got here you should know that I tweeted this today [Please click my junk ->< – and RT, *PLEASE* you know you want to] I couldn’t think of a more obnoxious promo tweet, but it did seem to get the desired effect.

salesmanAh, but to my real point today – Can you use twitter to promote? To that I say absolutely, but only to the same extent you can use any platform to promote. Selling something in any environment is a function of trust and/or expectation – you can sell almost anywhere you have established trust and your efforts to sell are in line with the expectations of those who receive your message. While this varies depending upon what you are trying to sell, it’s essentially true of TV, radio, direct mail, in-person sales, email, and on twitter.

I have grown to trust many people on twitter and their attempts to directly promote their blog content, products, and events are often welcome reads for me. I’ve also found some folks that only use twitter to promote special prices and promotions and I follow them expecting to read about deals. I know that there are those in the twitterverse that cringe at the thought of using the platform for anything blatantly commercial, but that’s just silly – almost every business or person engaged in some business enterprise on twitter is using it for things blatantly commercial – it’s some are way better at the subtle art of building trust and setting expectations.

For illustration I’ll pick on the master of the trust building approach – Chris Brogan. Chris is amazing at engaging his following on twitter. Anyone could learn by watching how active and authentic he is and how willing he is to give. Throw on top of that the fact that writes an incredibly useful and thoughtful blog and you’ve got a dynamic duo. Chris has built an asset on twitter that creates direct commercial value for him, but he’s done it in a way that’s all about building trust. (It’s just a side benefit that the twitterverse is a better place because of him) Now, I don’t know that he thinks about it this way and I’m not quoting from his business plan, I’m merely observing reality – this is one rockin way to sell on twitter.

I call this approach the 3-step shimmy. It’s the ultimate in permission based marketing and very effective in social media settings. Back in the day, marketers learned to effectively use 2-step ads: step 1 – get them interested with the lure of valuable info and step 2 – deliver that valuable info along with a sales message. In the social media model it’s: step 1- build awareness and trust 140 characters at a time, step 2 – allow folks to find a treasure trove of content on your blog, and step 3 – overwhelm them with so much expertise and engagement that they simply can’t do anything but ask how they can employ you and your products and services at a premium price. That’s the 3-step shimmy.

So, what about direct selling by way of expectation? By now you’ve surely heard about @delloutlet. When you follow Dell Outlet you are signing on to receive ads, you expect to get great deals tweeted at you. Because that’s what you agreed to and expect, Dell has your permission to promote directly through twitter. (It, of course, doesn’t hurt that you may already trust Dell too.) What about pizza though – you may not be as aware of NakedPizza in New Orleans but they have over 5,000 twitter followers who anticipate their 2 for 1 tweets. In addition, you can always use filtered search to find people who are asking for specific solutions in their tweets and thereby kind of broadcasting for an expectation. All great ways to tap trust and expectation to promote on twitter.

And special shout out to AmberCadabra, from whom I borrowed the click my junk riff . Amber’s points and mine mesh nicely, just from a slightly different view.

Image credit: griffhome

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21 Seesmic Desktop for Twitter Management

If you’re even a semi frequent twitter user, you’ve probably heard or maybe even use a 3rd party desktop application to manage your twitter account – I mean, going to to tweet is so very last month.

I’ve been using tweetdeck so far because it allows you to create groups and searches as columns and then effectively respond to twitter from a dashboard on your laptop. I can’t really imagine using twitter any other way now. tweetdeck, however causes some folks some heartburn because it seems to be a bit of a resource hog.

This week I started to play with another desktop entry called Seesmic Desktop and I have to tell you there are some features I think I’m going to like.

seesmic desktop

Click to enlarge image

Here are some of the features that I think make it stand out.

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5 LinkedIn Joins the Application Craze

LinkedInLinkedIn announced publicly that they are adding a great deal of functionality to their platform by offering a directory of applications. Applications allow user to extend the usefulness of their profiles and networks and allow third-party developers the creative freedom to leverage LinkedIns very large user base.

Facebook has used this strategy very effectively.

I believe this is not only a necessary step for LinkedIn long-term, it will make individual use much more powerful.

Some of the examples of the first round of applications include:

Work collaboratively with your network.

  • Box on LinkedIn: Share files and collaborate with your network.
  • Huddle on LinkedIn: Private workspaces to collaborate with your network on projects.

Share information and keep up to date with your network.

  • Amazon on LinkedIn: Discover what your network is reading.
  • TripIt on LinkedIn: See where your network is traveling.
  • SixApart on LinkedIn: Stay up to date with your network’s latest blog posts.

Present yourself and your work in new ways.

  • Google Docs on LinkedIn: Embed a presentation on your profile.
  • SlideShare on LinkedIn: Share, view and comment on presentations from your network.
  • WordPress on LinkedIn: Promote your blog and latest posts.

Gain key insights that will make you more effective.

  • Company Buzz by LinkedIn: See what people are saying about your company.

If you are a LinkedIn user already, you will find lots more to do here. If you haven’t tried LinkedIn, now might be a good time.