Why Your Teenager and College Student Must Network Now!


I Think Your Teenagers and College Students Must Be Networking with Professionals

Your teens and college students are missing a tremendous opportunity if they are not networking with the business people, instructors, teachers, administrators, employers, youth leaders, scout leaders, charitable organization leaders, etc that they meet and those that get to know them. These people are their references and recommendations of the future. These people are you and/or your child’s connections to opportunities.

One of the most important things you can do in networking is connect to people that know you: It Is Who Knows You that Counts! The individuals identified above are people that know you and can attest to your character, abilities, and other characteristics.

The Reality Is

When your student wants to apply to a college, apply for a scholarship, find an internship, look for a recommendation, etc creating the necessary connections today will make their lives easier in the future. It is a fact that connections are important for people to succeed, so now is the time to start building them.

College Applications

If you or your child are attempting to get into a prestigious college; having an inside connection is of tremendous value. When you or they have access to alumni they have a leg up in the process. Alumni and college representatives are critical to the acceptance process. College entrance is just like getting a job an insider is a key asset.

Internships

During the college years if you or your child are seeking an internship, connections are crucial. Your connections will know about or know people that know about opportunities and again the connection is key.

The truth is that people like to help people and people with the important connections like to see those they help succeed. Most want to be mentors it is their way of being able to give a payback for their success.

Target Your Efforts

As you go through this process target they need to target their efforts. If they want to go to Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Michigan, or wherever; they need connections to any that are on their list. If they do not know someone currently by starting the networking process now, today, they can build their connections and then start searching for “THE” connection that can move them forward.

If you/they know what is wanted; the opportunities for success exist. No, it’s not a given, but with effort it can happen.

Don’t wait, start your networking now; then your network will be in place when you need it!

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Tom Staskiewicz is a Social Media/Social Networking Coach helping business, organizations, and individuals to establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

Social Networking – Are You Afraid Your Connections Will Steal Your Customers


Do You Need to Fear Your Connections Stealing Your Customers?

There are a lot of networking wannabees that are worried about competitors stealing their customers. They allow this fear to keep them from inviting or accepting connections and friends. Their belief is that by not inviting or not accepting they will prevent competitors from stealing their customers.

I understand what they are saying and where they are coming from; but is this really a legitimate concern or are they doing more harm to themselves than good? The reality is that being a networking wannabee with a few connections makes you more susceptible than if you had a large number of connections.

This may sound ridiculous, but let me explain. Whether you are on LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other Social Network, as far as I know, your connections do not have the ability to directly or indirectly search or sort your connections. This means that someone wanting to search your connections or friends list must go through your connections one-by-one looking for possible customers.

A Large Network Makes Searching Time Consuming and Virtually Impossible

If you have just a few connections, this would be an easy task; if you have a large number of connections this would be a very labor intensive process. To me, this says that the larger your network the more protected you are.

Currently I have over 800 connections on LinkedIn, for someone to identify one of my customers would be a lot of work and I do not know anyone that would have the time to undertake that effort. I doubt that your connections would have the necessary time or inclination to undertake that type of task either. A large network can should include Network White Noise.

Creating Network White Noise

What is Network White Noise? This is a new term that I have coined and is the process of building lots of people into your network individuals that may or may not have an immediate networking value. Some of the people that you can add to create Network White Noise include family members, friends, former classmates, former teachers and professors, and others without a current business connection.

I call these connections Network White Noise because if someone is searching through your connections or friends list; these individuals will not have the value the searcher desires. Adding these people is one of the best things you can do to rapidly add Network White Noise to your network and therefore hide your clients and customers.

One of the best ways to continue your networking efforts, while still protecting the identify of your clients and customers is to create Network White Noise. Are you inviting friends, family, former teachers and professors, and other non-business related connections? If not, then why not start now?

Can Your Organization Afford to Ignore Social Media?


Is Social Media a Phenomena?

Some people think that Social Media is just a passing fad; many are the same people that thought the Internet was a passing fad in the mid-late ’90s. Whether Social Media is a passing fad or not; you cannot afford to ignore it, because it will not ignore you!

You Cannot Ignore the Power of Social Media

Companies large and small are learning the lessons of Social Media. What they are finding is that Social Media provides happy and unhappy customers, clients, and patients with an opportunity to comment about products and services.

Participating in Social Media provides organizations the opportunity to respond to customers, correct misinformation, clear up confusion, and resolve issues. Left to its own device; Social Media can create major problems. Organizations must have a presence and monitor the information on the Internet that pertains to them.

I just read a Blog article by Augie Ray, a researcher for Forrester Seven Things Your Organization Must Do Because of Social Media. The article starts with the statement that when the Internet started businesses asked the question: What can the Internet do for my business? The question they should have been asking is: What can the Internet do TO my business? That second question must be asked today in regards to Social Media: What can Social Media do TO my business?

What is YOUR attitude toward Social Media? Do YOU look at it as a waste of time and a passing fad?

Passing Fad or Not Social Media Cannot Be Ignored

The reality is that Social Media cannot be ignored. Organizations whether they like it or not, have a Social Media presence. That presence can be created by the organization or the organization can leave it to be created by someone else.

If left to someone else the presence may or may not be what the organization wants. If it is not what the organization wants, they must take action to counter the negativity or correct the situation. Being on the defense does not allow an organization to work from its strengths; it is now playing by someone else’s rules.

An intelligent organization wants to play from its strengths and therefore must be proactive in the Social Media arena. Organizations cannot wait until they must respond, they must be building their presence from the beginning.

The world is changing rapidly and organizations must be changing along with the world. Look at the situation with Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video or Blockbuster. These are example organizations that have not changed with the times and have either lost the battle as in the case of Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video or are losing the battle as in the case of Blockbuster. Although these failures are not directly related to Social Media, they are the result of the Internet and new technologies.

Current failures related to Social Media include BP with the Oil Disaster in the Gulf; Nestle/Greenpeace over Palm Oil; or the potential disaster for Toys ‘r Us and the fact they ignore customer comments on their Facebook Page. The cost to these organizations in actual dollars, publicity, and public relations is huge; can you and your organization afford those problems?

LinkedIn Recommendations


Are You Giving and Receiving LinkedIn Recommendations?

Recommendations on LinkedIn are important additions to your profile and completing your story and the stories of your connections. We can say all kinds of great things about ourselves but when we have others giving a testimony about us and what we have accomplished; it is far more valuable.

Recommendations from former managers and supervisors, co-workers, and even subordinates add significantly to your story. Hiring managers and recruiters like to see recommendations because it adds to your credibility and increases the recruiter’s and hiring manager’s confidence in the choice they are making.

Where Some Go Wrong with Recommendations

There are three primary areas where people go wrong with recommendations.

  1. Inviting someone to LinkedIn, solely for the purpose of a recommendation.
  2. Giving and receiving a recommendation simultaneously.
  3. Giving and receiving gratuitous recommendations.

Inviting someone into LinkedIn for the purpose of a recommendation is easy to spot. The person giving the recommendation has only one connection: YOU! Obviously if the recommendation is important you want to get it, but help the person establish themselves on LinkedIn in the process. Provide them with suggestions as to with whom they should connect. Help them through the process and follow their progress.

Simultaneous recommendations look staged and in many cases they are. It is the old adage of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. You give me a recommendation and I will give you a recommendation. Realize that when you do that it will show up as part of the current status with your connections and the connections of the other person.

I do not know how many times I have seen the so and so was recommended by this person and the next entry is this person was recommended by so and so. Do you get my drift? It looks staged from beginning to end. Yes, you may want each other’s recommendation, but at least separate the process a little bit.

You can even do the reciprocating process, but one of the two should hold off on approving the recommendation until a few days have lapsed.

The last issue is the recommendations that say “He is really a great guy and if I had the chance I would hire him again immediately.” That may be the case, but as a reader of the recommendation I want to know why he is a great guy and what he accomplished to earn my accolades.

Be like Julius Caesar; use the Veni, Vidi, Vici approach…

  1. He or she came.
  2. He or she saw.
  3. He or she conquered.

Tell the reader the situation the person encountered, the actions that were taken, and the results achieved.

Recommendations must have meat to them!

If you have written the meatless recommendations in the past, go back and do the person a favor by writing a meaningful recommendation. Show them that you care and they WILL reciprocate with a meat filled recommendation for you. (Just do not do it the same day.)

The Truth About LinkedIn Network Statistics


Your LinkedIn Statistics

Everyone that is on LinkedIn has statistics accumulating pertaining to their connections. The larger your first level connection list gets, the faster your overall statistics grow. There are questions as to the reliability or accuracy of the statistics and can you depend upon them.

Is the Accuracy Important?

The question I ask is do we really care? Are the statistics going to change the way you do things or the way you act? If you find out that when you add a LION to your network, but your statistics go down does that mean that you are going to quit LinkedIn? I seriously doubt that.

Neal Schaffer wrote a recent Blog article LinkedIn Network Statistics. Do You Believe Them? that was answering a question on this topic. Neal makes excellent points about the reality of these calculations and the processing demands that would be placed upon the servers to maintain and respond accurately to member requests.

Is Anything More Than an Estimate Necessary

The fact that LinkedIn even gives us an idea as to the total reach of our network or our sphere of influence provides us detail that we would have never had in the past; even if it is only an estimate. As I see it these numbers only matter to those that want to lay claim to being the “most connected”, the “most referred”, or the most anything else. Does it really matter? Whether I am the most connected or the second most connected; does anyone really care? I believe the only one that truly cares is the person making the claim and those that are attempting to refute that claim.

As Neal’s post discusses sometimes the numbers go up as expected and other times the numbers go down when you believe they should go up. I still say; Who Cares?

You Must Be Building a Quality Network for Long-term Success


You Too Can Add Thousands to Your Twitter Followers or Whatever Other Service

Have you seen this message or similar ones? I see them almost daily and if you examine the message further; it is probably true.

The question though is what have you added? Is there any quality or selectivity in the process? Have you added any recognizable or measurable value?

Here is the deal. If you are selling a product or service and you believe that the bigger your reach the greater your success; you are probably right. That is as long as you have quality products and services.

The problems that I see with this process are:

      What is the quality of this audience?
      Do you have any ability to measure the quality?
      Do you have any ability to measure the reach of your message?
      Do you have any ability to truly measure the quality of your message?

The answer to all of these is a resounding NO!

This audience is truly just a bunch of drones that have signed up for some service, details of which are relatively unknown, that creates connections. Not quality connections, mind you, just connections.

What Is the Quality of This Audience

That is a great question. The answer is that you really do not know. You may have the greatest product since sliced bread for a specific group of customers, but you do not know if those customers are in this audience. You may have super sales for your product based upon projections, but with the correct audience they would be far better.

A quality audience is comprised of people with similar interests and desires. It is extremely difficult to sell ear muffs to someone living in the tropics. Sure you may get a couple of sales as someone’s prank. But the reality is that this is not where your true customers would be found.

Building Your Network Requires a Strategy

If you want to successfully build a network that offers true potential to your business you must have a strategy. You must understand the dynamics of your prospective customer. What are their interests? How do they respond? What are their complimentary interests? How can you entice them to try and buy your product?

Just like anything else in business once you have a strategy, you must identify how you can measure your penetration and success. You must have a means for assessing the effectiveness of your campaign. A means for determining whether you continue on the current path, make minor adjustments, or start all over.

Plan your network strategy and then identify where you can find your target market. Make sure your results are measurable and can be extrapolated to your entire audience. Do not fall for the build your network fast sales pitch, unless you truly do not care about quality.

This is not an overnight success story, it takes work and commitment, to be successful.