Online Business Networking in 30 Minutes a Day

Online networking for business growth is the thing to do these days. But it can be time consuming.  There it is best when you can condense this activity into a small period of time so you don’t get sucked into Facebook, Twitter or other distracting social media sites. Thirty minutes a day is really all you need to do a great job of boosting your network when you know how to do it.

Here are a few steps to help you cut down on networking time but still getting a lot done:

1. Work Your Connections

Keep a list of people with whom you want to build a connection then locate them on Twitter, on Facebook or on LinkedIn.  Focus your activities on being in touch with these people. Check for updates from these people on a daily basis. Comment on their Facebook updates and @reply or retweet their tweets. Build up a connection with them gradually, using social media connections.  In time, you’ll be able to reach out to them for introductions, to schedule a meeting or even to close a sale.

2. Post Specific Tweets and Facebook Updates

If you’re using Twitter or Facebook professionally, then post an update on either or both of these sites. Make your posts as relevant to your audience as possible. Use these sites to build your credibility.  Keep the posts short and too the point.  Make them informative and use links to get people back to your website or blog.

3. Make a New Friend

Try to reach out to someone new every day. When you reach out, your goal is to help by offering something of people need.  Look for ways to offer value to people you know or people you don’t know.  One great way to do that is through LinkedIn answers. Answer questions for people, then see if you can connect with them.  You can also hop on Twitter and look through the people who are on hashtags that you also follow. See if you can connect with them. Look through your pile of business cards and see if you can find some of the people you’ve met in person on social media sites.  In other words, be proactive about building your network.

4. Ping an Old Contact

Look through your old contacts and look for people that you haven’t touched base with in a while. Shoot them a quick message.  If you get in the habit of doing this regularly, you’ll have a much stronger base of contacts than most people. Instead of letting your contacts die off, you’ll keep them alive and well.

5. Move Online Connections Offline

After you’ve built up some goodwill with someone online, see if you can meet them for lunch sometime.  Online connections are one thing. It’s great to have a lot of online B2B connections. But in order for those connections to amount to anything, they really need to be converted into offline connections. Try to meet  with someone different as often as possible.  As the renowned networking expert Keith Ferazzi says: “Never eat alone.”

Doing strong online networking doesn’t have to take up your whole day. Follow these tips and in just 30 minutes a day you’ll strengthen your network, meet new people and lay a solid foundation for any kind of professional support you need.

Increase Your B2B Social Networking Effectiveness

Do you work with other business owners in your business?  If so you are engaging in Business 2 Business operations often noted as B2B.  As a B2B business, it is important to understand how to properly network in this arena.  Business to business networking is a skill. Unlike traditional social networking, which anyone can pick up in moments, learning to be a great B2B social networker takes a bit of practice.  Take time to learn how to be a better B2B networker and make more effective connections with businesses using the power of the internet.

1: Get Personal: Don’t Just Broadcast

Good networking techniques means getting personal with some of your activities.  If you are only focused on broadcast styles of communication, chances are you’re going to miss out on a lot of valuable connections.  Instead use social networking to develop a relationship with other businesses.

Don’t just post updates on your wall or send out tweets en masse. Make one on one connections, @reply to people individually or send people personal messages on LinkedIn.  In other words, build a real connection.

2: Know Your Metrics

There’s a common misconception that social networking results can’t be quantified. This simply isn’t true. Most people just make the mistake of not picking metrics early on, which makes it very tough later to measure the success of a social networking campaign.

Choose a metric to measure your success.  It might be the number of in-person meetings you can get, number of retweets, number of Facebook likes, or something else.  Pick one that makes sense for your business.

3: Find Real Life Networking Opportunities

Don’t limit your B2B networking activities to just the internet. You can use online B2B networking to increase your in-person networking opportunities,  to connect with people and find events. Once you find out what’s going on by using the internet, get out a meet people.   Attend in-person minglers, networking events and mixers. Ask people who you meet online out to coffee or lunch.

Real life connections are infinitely more powerful than online connections. Use your online connections to get more face to face opportunities.

4: Become a Specialist in One Network

Don’t try to be an online jack-of-all-trades. It’s much better to master one social network than to be mediocre at several. In other words, let’s say you are a partner at an investment fund. You’re always on the lookout for potential investment opportunities.  Instead of trying to create a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn profile and a Google+ page, just pick one. For instance, LinkedIn.

Get really, really good at that network. Answer questions in the Q&A section and build a reputation. Get a ton of recommendations.  Become an authority.  Your one fantastic feed will draw more attention from people than several mediocre ones.

4: Look for Ways to Help People

Remember that B2B social networking is a long-term proposition. You’re not necessarily going to reap the benefits from your actions immediately. But it more than pays off in the long run.  The best way to cultivate your online business network is to help people.  Look for ways to connect people.  Share valuable content.  Answer questions in your field of expertise and help people whenever you can.

Build up goodwill and eventually it will come back to you in the form of referrals, clients, deals, job opportunities and more.

Take these few tips to improve your B2B Social Networking techniques to increase your marketing effectiveness.

Becoming a Marketing Consultant

Christian business women might want to use a marketing consultant at some point to assist with getting the word out about their business.  In fact, some business women will become a marketing consultant as a part of their specialty service area.  If that’s your choice, you have many ways to enter into the marketing industry.

Marketing consultants come in many shapes and sizes so it’s essential that you know what kind of consultant you plan to be. That understanding will shape the way you brand yourself, the way you look for clients, and the way you work with clients.

Here are five common types of marketing consultants.

1: Entrepreneurial and Small Business Advisor

Some of your clients will be small businesses that have a physical location such as small restaurants, spas, hair salons, grocery stores and other small businesses.  Your duties will include helping to identify new ways to bring in customers and helps clients plan and execute marketing campaigns.

Common marketing tactics you might suggest include coupon mailers, coupon packs, newspaper advertising, cable TV advertising and joint ventures with other local businesses.

2: Client Acquisition

If this is your niche, you will work with individuals or organizations that deal with higher end clients. For example, investment advisors, lawyers, doctors and real estate agents.  The goal is to bring in more clients. In this realm, however, the tactics are quite different. Common tactics might include web advertising, PPC marketing, buying leads, and magazine or newspaper advertising.

3: Pay Per Click or SEO Consultant

In this area you will focus on the online aspect of marketing to help clients maximize their Pay per click (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) returns.  Actually, markeitng consultants in this area usually specialize in either PPC or SEO but not both as these are very specialized skill sets. Clients can range from mom and pop stores to Fortune 500 companies.

4: Branding Advisor

If you work with brand marketing you will specialize in helping companies figure out their brand and core message.  You would help shape both the visual message as well as the intangible message.  A part of your job would be to help figure out things like logos, banners, posters and multimedia and help make sure that everything the company puts out adheres to a coherent message.

5: Social Media Consultant

As a Social media consultant you can help companies in a number of different ways.  You might  specialize in helping companies set up social media in the first place.  You help design Facebook covers and Twitter backgrounds, help register pages, help get a feed going and so on. They help take a company from no social media presence to having one.

Another focus might be to actually help run the social media campaigns.  You would take over the reins and post tweets, post status updates, run contests and create infographics.

Still another  specialty could be in crisis management.  With this specialty you will monitor the social media feeds and jump in to take care of things should negative press start spreading among the social sphere.

These are just five areas that are common in the marketing consultant industry.  You could find your specialty here or in one of many other new and useful areas that would be helpful to others in business.  Each area targets very different customers and uses very different skill sets. Make sure you know which category you fall into before you jump into the industry and you will be able to expect great success in this needed area of work.

Amazon Mechanical Turk: Is it What You Need in Your Business?

In an effort to keep you updated on the latest in available technologies to assist your business, I’m letting you know about a new service provided by Amazon call Amazon Mechanical Turk.  This service is being pegged as one of the most radical inventions in online outsourcing.  According to the site information “Amazon Mechanical Turk is a marketplace for work that requires human intelligence.  The Mechanical Turk web service enables companies to programmatically access this marketplace and a diverse, on-demand workforce. Developers can leverage this service to build human intelligence directly into their applications.”

I’m not positive about all of the features or usefulness for the very small entrepreneur but it certainly looks promising.  It seems that large companies can also benefit from the system.  Apparently, it allows you to outsource tasks to other human beings for pennies.  Amazon Mechanical Turk is great for all those tasks that aren’t quite highly paid enough to bring on a real outsourcer, but are still too complex for a computer to handle.

So what kind of tasks are appropriate for use wtih Mechnical Turk?  A few examples are:

  • Look at a picture and determine if it’s uplifting or depressing.
  • Look at a name and determine if it’s a man or a woman.
  • Look for any words in this picture.
  • Look at an advertisement and determine what the core message is.
  • Look over a Yellow Pages scan and identify all the phone numbers.

Basically, these are all tasks that you would want a person performing rather than a computer. Amazon calls these “Human Intelligence Tasks” or HIT for short.

To know how HIT’s work, well, you set a price for each HIT to start.  For example, let’s say you want someone to look at a picture of a person and determine if they’re male or female.  You might set the price at 5 cents apiece. You figure a human being could do one task per 15 seconds and earn 15 cents per minute or $12 an hour. People who can work faster than that can earn even more.  For a lot of outsourcers, this kind of work is a dream come true. For many businesses, paying a few pennies for data is much more cost effective than developing software to perform the task.

Setting up a task is said to be pretty easy.   Begin by setting up one of the pre-made templates provided by Amazon to use as a base or you can create your own template from scratch.  You then upload your data sheet. This contains all the data that you want to sort.  For example, let’s say you’re having people look over your list of emails to determine if the names are male, female, undetermined or if they look like fake emails. You’d start by creating a template with four options: male, female, undetermined or fake email. You’d then upload your list of email addresses.  Mechanical Turk will present outsourcers with each email. The outsourcer will be awarded with a HIT every time they finish sorting an email for you. Once you’re satisfied with your results, you can pay all your outsourcers at once.

It’s said to be that easy! If you have tasks that need to be performed on a mass basis and you don’t have the software to do it, consider using Amazon Mechanical Turk to handle all your Human Intelligence Task needs. Find out more about Amazon Mechanical Turk at the website.  It could be a great way to get some help in marketing your business.  Meanwhile, I’ll see if I can get more information to share with NACWIB members during one of our monthly coaching calls.

Even an Introvert Can Network Effectively

Are you an introvert who prefers to have one on one conversations instead of talking to a whole group?  Do you often feel shy when it comes to networking or meeting new people for your business? Does it take a significant amount of quiet time for you to re-charge yourself and to think and reflect?

Well,  if you are an introvert don’t give up on being an effective marketer.   From personal experience I can tell you that being introverted don’t stop you from getting the word out about your business.   When people find out that my personality is more introverted than extroverted they are surprised because I’ve learned to speak up when necessary and even do a lot of public speaking.  Yet,  there are times when I feel very “shy” or just feel more comfortable sitting in a corner reading a book in the quiet.

Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of being an introvert and see how to use this personality trait in business.

What Does it Mean to be an Introvert?

According to The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) assessment,  introverts are motivated internally. They are thinkers and can seem to be locked inside their own head most of the time.  Sometimes, an introvert can seem to be cut off from others.  If you’re really into just being on your own, these can be tendencies that can make it difficult for you to meet people, establish connections, and do some necessary networking. Yet maing connections is necessary to build a business.

Developing business connections means you  …

* Can find talented people who can help you build a team of experts to support you to succeed
* Can develop powerful partnerships that assist the increase of profits and success
* Develop relationships that can be leveraged through good business strategies
* Become a leader within your organization
* Build a community of followers, prospects, and customers

In short, relationship building is essential for success. Yet your introverted personality might mean struggling to meet people and forging these powerful and profitable relationships.

Here are a few tips to help you out if you need to meet more people even if you’re an introvert.

How to Meet People and Build Connections

1. Determine Networking Goals

To get yourself out of a rut, set a goal to meet a certain amount of new people over a certain period of time.  For instance, decide to meet someone new at least once a week, if not more often.   Since you probably do a lot on the internet, why not make a new connection online?  Do this through a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter.  You can also meet someone when you’re out conducting your daily business or social activities. Keep business cards with you at all times.  Make the effort to engage the person in conversation and learn more about them. This is manageable because introverts thrive in one on one situations. The challenge here is to find the motivation to actually meet more people.  Remember, relationships build a business.  The more people you know, the more opportunities you’re exposed to.

2. Build On Those New Connections

As you begin meeting people, start asking the people you really connect with on a personal or professional level to introduce you to even more people.   If they belong to a group you’re not involved with, ask if you can go to a meeting with them.   You can leverage five connections into twenty-five if each person you meet introduces you to five new people.   Soon you’ll see your network begin to grow as you start to meet many new like-minded people.  It’s a wonderful way to build a support network.

3. Take Time for You

If you’re introverted you need down time to relieve some stress.  I know I need to get away by myself sometimes just to start thinking straight again.  I have to take quiet time to read my Bible, pray, go for a walk and just chill out.  Set time aside to recharge and refresh.  This is particularly important if you’re are actively getting out and meeting new people.   For example, if you spend an hour networking online then schedule some quiet time into your day to.  That will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and burned.

Now here’s the really good news.  As an introverts we have a spectacular ability to brainstorm,  problem solve, be innovative and build a business. Yet the ability to meet new people and leverage relationships is a challenge. Appeal to your ability to connect with people on a one on one basis and start meeting more people in a relaxed and comfortable manner.  Believe me, it gets easier as you practice this.  Don’t force yourself into a public speaking situation or into a large-scale networking group right away.  Just take it one step at a time and work to your strengths.