What Are Your 2011 Networking Goals?


It Is That Time of Year Again

We may reflect on the goals we set for 2010 and we are going to make our 2011 New Year’s resolutions for many aspects of our life. Another year has passed and it is time to ask not only whether you achieved your networking goals for 2010, but did you even have networking goals in 2010? Or were you like most people and just left the process to fate?

It's Time to Make Your Networking Resolution

I’m afraid that far too many left it to fate and fate did not shine kindly upon their efforts. Networking is a process that requires goals and a strategy. Without these two components your networking has no focus. Without a focus it is difficult to find a reason to network and most end up not networking or they end up connecting simply because they want something.

 

Networking Is More than Seeing Who Can Give You What

I recently wrote another article on networking and one of the responses that I received raised the issue that people only network with their own needs in mind. I think this is true, but not for the reason that others may believe. To me the issue is that we were never trained in the art of networking and therefore do not know what to do or how to network properly.

Networking is a give and take activity and it starts with the give portion. When you network it should be a win-win situation for both parties. If only one person is a winner; that is not networking. If you enter a networking situation with only your interests in mind; you will not be successful engaging the other person or at least not for the long-term.

Your 2011 Goals

For 2011 it is time to try something new: networking with a purpose. Having goals and a purpose as part of your networking allows you to monitor and measure your progress.

  1. What is your purpose for networking?
  2. What do you want to accomplish with your networking efforts?
  3. What is the value that you bring to the relationship?
  4. Who do you want in your network and why?
  5. How are you going to communicate with your network and what is the frequency of those communications?

For more ideas check out our free report to learn more about Networking with a Purpose.

———-

Tom Staskiewicz is a Social Media/Social Networking Coach helping businesses, 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.

Your Circle of Communities Are Your Key to Going Viral


The Key to Going Viral

Everyone wants their Fan Page or business for that matter to go viral, but for most it is a huge challenge to make that happen. This is especially true for local businesses. How do you get your word out?

For your Fan Page or business to be successful it must go viral to your target market. So what is your target market? Have you defined it? Do you know your target market?

Local Businesses

For the brick and mortar business – which includes businesses like restaurants, salons, medical practitioners, etc. – your target is your local community. The people that will be using your service are local and therefore you need to reach out to people within your community.

When I talk about your community; it is actually your collection of communities. You have many communities where you participate. There is the community at large where there may be some relative awareness of who you are; within that community, however, there are many smaller communities where you are well known.

Your Circle of Communities

These are the areas you must penetrate to be successful. These communities include your church or synagogue, your school where you or your children attend, your sports activities where you or your children participate, your work and volunteer efforts, etc.

All of these communities are important to your business objectives when it comes to a brick and mortar entity. This is where, as Malcolm Gladwell says in “The Tipping Point“, your connectors, mavens, and salespeople exist.

Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople

Your connectors, called that because they have lots of connections, put you in touch with the people you need or want to know. The mavens are those that spread your word far and wide. Your salespeople are those that promote your product or service to others.

As you successfully reach into your Circle of Communities and they become your fans; you need these contacts to be promoting you to the friends in their Circle of Communities.

The Power of the Ask

This is where the “power of the ask” comes in. You need to ask these friends to “like”, comment, or share what you have shared with them. You need them to be reaching out to others if you want your message to go viral!

Here is my power of the ask… If you like this Blog; please share it with your friends and others that you believe would benefit. Thank you.

Check us out on our Facebook Fan Page the UPPROACH Support Center and take a look at our Fan Page How Tos and Webinar schedule while you are there. Whether you are looking for the basics or advanced features we have or can have the webinar for you! Let us know what you would like to see.

You are welcome to use this information in your newsletters or Blogs, but please extend the professional courtesy of referencing UPPROACH as the source. Thank you.

Copyright © 2010, UPPROACH

Networking May Be Right Up There With The Fear Of Speaking


My LinkedIn Poll

I have an unscientific LinkedIn poll with a few results, but I am going out on a limb to draw some conclusions because I find it interesting.

The question I asked and the possible responses:

What is your greatest networking challenge?

  • Identifying possible connections?
  • Lack of comfort when inviting?
  • Available time?
  • Understanding networking value?
  • Believe it to be bothersome?

I was and still am asking about your biggest challenge to networking (go to my poll to participate). I am suprised by the responses I have received. The results are split 50/50 between small and large organizations, 33% women and 67% male, 33% C and VP-level, and all respondents were between 35 and 54.

As to response all but one indicates a lack of comfort when inviting people to connect and one of the non-C and VP level individuals indicated time constraints.

As I said above 50% of the current responses are from C and VP-level respondents and these individuals all identified the lack of comfort inviting as their biggest challenge as well. This really surprised me. I expected time challenges to be their reason.

What Do the Responses Mean

Although I received just a couple of comments; those comments and my experience lead me to the conclusion that the problem is a fear of rejection. The fear of rejection is powerful and it stands in the way of many successes. Successful people, however, do not let this fear stop them. They continually move forward.

When you invite people you do put yourself out there and invite a potential negative response, but that is a risk you must take; if you are going to be successful. If you are still laboring over a no response; you must really question your commitment.

The reality is that the worse that can happen is someone says: no. At that point you just need to dust yourself off and move on. Don’t dwell on it when someone says no; keep moving forward to your next invitation.

Your level of success can be measured by the size of your rolodex. The truly successful realize that they cannot do it on their own, it is with the help of others that they will continue to move forward.

I would appreciate it if you would take a minute to respond to my poll, so we can build better results.

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?

Networking Referrals and Recommendations


Networking Referrals and Recommendations

Referrals and recommendations can be a slippery slope for the person being referred, the person doing the referral, and the person to who the first person was referred.

Is the Person Doing the Referring Reliable?

For the person being referred is the person doing the referring trustworthy and does that person have a good reputation with the target person? You never know; the person referring may be over estimating the relationship or could even be totally in the dark on the relationship. Having this reference may even cost you the opportunity. You never know for sure, so before getting the referral you need to do your research. Find out:

      How long has the person doing the referral known the target person or company?
      When was the last time they had contact and what type of contact?
      What is the frequency of communication between the person referring and the target individual or company?
      Has the person doing the referring done any referring previously to the target individual or company?
      If so, what was the purpose of that referral?
      What was the result of that referral?

You cannot be too careful; it is your career or your business that is at stake.

Is the Person Being Referred Reliable? Is the Target Person or Company Reliable?

If you are going out on a limb and referring someone to a target individual or company you are truly in the middle of the situation. You must be concerned about both sides of the referral. Are both sides reliable? If you refer a reliable connection to an unreliable target individual or company; you may lose a friend or at least your credibility. The same goes if the individual you are referring is not reliable.

As the person doing the referring you must know both sides well to truly feel comfortable with making the referral in either direction. Here are the questions for the referrer:

      What is your relationship with the person you are referring and the target individual or company?
      How long have you known each party?
      What and when is your recent experience with each party?
      With the target individual or company; what recent changes have taken place that may change your knowledge or attitude?
      What was your last exchange with each of the parties?
      Have you made any previous referrals for either of the parties?
      What were the results of those referrals?
      Is there anything in either of those referrals that would make you hesitant to refer again?
      How risky is this referral from either the referring or target sides for you?
      Are you willing to put your reputation on the line for both the person you are referring and the target company?
      What caveats or warnings do you feel you should provide to either side?

As in the last situation your career and business are at stake; be sure that the situation is worth the risk to your reputation.

Is the Person Making the Referral Reliable?

If you are the target individual or company and someone is being referred to you; what must you consider:

      How well do you know the person making the referral?
      How do you know the person making the referral?
      Has the referrer ever made a referral to you in the past?
      If so, what was the result of that referral?
      Have you ever hired someone off a referral in the past?
      What has been your experience with past referrals from any source?
      What is the risk if the referral does not work as expected?
      What is your exit strategy if the referral does not work as expected?
      Are you willing to put your relationship at risk over the referral?
      Do you know others where this individual has made a referral?
      What was the outcome of that referral?
      Are all parties happy with the outcome?

These are some of the considerations that should be made so you go into the decision with your eyes open. Even though all parties may check out properly; there is still the matter of personal chemistry to be considered. Just because it all looks okay from the outside; does not mean it is okay. Referrals help with the decision process, but they should not make the decision.

I am a huge proponent of the “Who Knows You” concept. When you are truly known by the people that are involved in the referral process the confidence of all that the right things are being done will rise proportionally.

All parties in the process have their brand involved and it can either be strengthened or weakened by the choice.