online networking Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Dr. Ivan Misner®

Don’t Wait for a Reunion to Network with Former Classmates

After graduation, classmates seem to spread out to chase individual professional goals without any context in which to keep in touch.  Fortunately, the internet now offers a multitude of options to help you reconnect with old school friends and acquaintances and convert those relationships into useful tools for your business.

In this short video, I discuss several of these online networking options that will help you effectively connect with your former classmates so you don’t have to sit around waiting for a reunion to give you the opportunity.

After watching the video, I encourage you to connect with one of your former classmates during the coming week by using one of the online networking options I mention and then come back and leave a comment about your experience.  I’m willing to bet you’ll be glad you connected and you’ll continue to connect with more and more friends and acquaintances from your school days.

Five Steps for Getting the Most from LinkedIn

I’ve been following the development of online business networking for several years now; particularly at the inception of sites like Ecademy.com and LinkedIn.  That said,  I’d like to state for the record: If you’ve had any lingering thoughts that social media is just a fad, you may want to lose them.

Are you aware that LinkedIn’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) has a valuation of 4.3 billion (USD)?  That’s right, I said BILLION.  If you haven’t been taking social media seriously, perhaps it’s time to start.

While there are indeed many competitors to LinkedIn, it has certainly–for now–risen to the top when it comes to sites devoted primarily to business networking and social media.

In this short video, I offer five valuable tips that will guide you in the right direction when it comes to using LinkedIn and getting the most from the efforts you put into networking online through this particular site.

Do you have additional tips for using LinkedIn, or other networking sites, which you’ve found to be highly effective?  If so, please share them in the comments section so others can learn and benefit from your experience.

Online Networks Lag Behind Other Networking Efforts

As part of the survey for the book, Business Networking And Sex (not what you think), my co-authors and I asked several questions which weren’t used in the final manuscript.  The survey was open to the public and was conducted with over 12,000 business people from every populated continent in the world.  One of the questions we didn’t use in the book was “What types of organizations do you belong to?” (note that respondents were able to pick more than one).

We also asked a question that was used in the manuscript in various places: “Has networking played a role in your success?”  We got some interesting findings when we cross-tabulated these two questions with one another.  We expected casual contact and referral networks to do fairly well, and they did.  However, we were surprised by some of the other results in the survey.

Don’t shoot the messenger however – online networks did very poorly, with only 27% of the respondents saying that networking has played a role in their success!  Women’s business organizations did even worse, with 17.7%; and service clubs came in last, with only 17.2% of the respondents saying that networking played a role in their success.

What does this mean?  Overall, people who got the most results from their networking efforts seem to participate in “face-to-face” casual contact networks like a Chamber of Commerce, referral networks like BNI, and to a lesser extent professional associations (like any professional body or society representing a particular industry), while online networks, women’s business organizations, social/business groups, and service clubs rated very low in success results relating to their networking.

Even though they didn’t fare well in this survey, I’m actually quite an advocate of online networks, women’s business organizations, and service clubs – and I will continue to be so. I did some thinking about the results of the survey, and why these groups came in with such low percentages compared to the casual contact and referral networks.

I’m inclined to believe that the women’s organizations and service clubs didn’t do as well because they both have another important purpose that take precedence over networking.  Women’s business organizations often provide a place where members both support and educate each other. The mission of service clubs focus primarily on providing service to the community, with networking opportunities being more of a “by-product.”  Seeing tangible success in members’ networking efforts is much more subtle in groups like these, and that may be one of the main reasons why they didn’t do as well in the survey.

Because I was really surprised by the results, I spent a lot of time thinking about online networks and their disappointing standing in the respondents’ ranking of successful networking efforts. The results are indicative of a comment that I hear quite often by business owners who have begun to market their businesses via the growing number of online social and business networking sites: “I’ve got a profile page and a thousand connections…now what?”

Many entrepreneurs jumped on the “social media marketing” bandwagon and spent a lot of time and effort building their online social capital (through LinkedIn “connections”, Facebook “friends” and “likes”, and Twitter “followers”), but without an actual plan of how to turn this growing number of contacts into actual customers. This is one area many entrepreneurs struggle with as online networking continues to come into its own.

Another issue is that the addition of Internet marketing (including online networking) has exponentially increased the number of marketing messages the average person sees per day – to literally tens of thousands. While online – whether chatting on Google Talk, or looking at friends’ photos on Facebook, watching a celebrity’s Twitter feed, learning about a connection’s promotion on LinkedIn, reading a blog for business or pleasure, or doing an internet search – a person is inundated with entreaties.

Read this!

Buy this!

Try this!

Connect with me!

Like my business!

It’s easy to get distracted by these messages, particularly because those who have the time, staff, or money to put out the most messages tend to drown out any messages from smaller businesses or single individuals also trying to get their messages to be “heard.”

As I’ve already mentioned, I like online networking.  I am active in online networking. We may someday figure out how to make it work even better; however, the results are the results and – still a surprise to me – they’re not very favorable for online networks. I certainly don’t think that entrepreneurs should stop finding ways to improve their success in the online networking arena. However, as we have learned in our recent multi-national study, online networks still have a way to go before they can begin to compete with the effectiveness of the more traditional, face-to-face networking opportunities available.

 

Using a Blog to Build Your Brand?–Top Tips for a Better Blog

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itXnDlr33mE&feature=player_embedded[/tube]

In this video, my good friend Jarret Gucci, who is also the web expert credited with building this BusinessNetworking.com blog site and helping me to “make it work,” explains the two most powerful ways to make your blog better.

If you’re one of the many businesspeople around the world who utilizes blogging to build your brand, don’t be shy . . . after you watch the video, leave a comment letting the rest of us know what you’ve done to make your blog work. I get really inspired when I hear creative new ways of improving things to get better results and I know the rest of the readers of this blog will be inspired by your ideas too!

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