Using Social Networking to Build Professional Relationships – part 4

Here's the fourth and final part of the article that I wrote and was published in the January issue of CBA Retailers & Resources

Networking – Keep up with your customers so you
know what their immediate needs and hot buttons are. Stay in touch with
suppliers and keep informed of specials and provide them with feedback so they
know what is happening on the frontlines.

Groups – Join a
group.
You can join as many as 50 LinkedIn groups. Use these groups to
increase your knowledge through the expertise of others. When you join,
introduce yourself and your services. Consider starting a group around your
company’s core competencies and let your voice and expertise be heard. There
are some excellent groups dedicated to Christian professionals on LinkedIn that
offer business wisdom as well as encouraging fellowship. A few groups that you
might want to check out include: Christian Business Leaders Network, Christian
Professionals and Christian Retail 3.0 (full disclosure: I manage this group).

Questions and Answers
– This is a great area of the site that pulls on the brainpower of others
to help you identify solutions and gain insight. Be a part of the community by
diving into the Q&A area of LinkedIn. Offering insightful answers builds
your value and raises awareness of your expertise. You can also tap into the
expertise of others by posing your own questions.

Publish your LinkedIn
URL
– One of the easiest but often most overlooked tactic is posting your
LinkedIn URL. An example of a LinkedIn URL would be – www.linkedin.com/cmrainey. Make
sure you are publishing your LinkedIn URL on all your marketing collateral,
including business cards, email signature, email newsletters, web sites and
brochures, so prospects learn more about you and can easily connect.

LinkedIn Recommendations
Nothing builds trust and confidence like a recommendation and testimonies
from happy customers.  Offer
recommendations of others and then ask them to reciprocate.

LinkedIn eMail – Use
the email function within LinkedIn to notify your connections about business
news, store events or product releases within your LinkedIn network.

These are only a sampling of the tools that LinkedIn has to
offer so take some time to discover all that the website has to offer. Compare
LinkedIn with the others listed above and see which one works best for you. But,
whichever social networking site you choose just Let 2010 be the year that you
engage with social networks to build your professional relationships and
increase your business.

If you don’t know of anyone to connect with on LinkedIn and
need someone to start with hit me up at www.linkedin.com/cmrainey. Let’s
connect!

Using Social Networking to Build Professional Relationships – part 3

Here's part three of the article that I wrote and was published in the January issue of CBA Retailers & Resources

Here are
some quick and easy ways to begin leveraging the power of LinkedIn.

Your profile – Fill it out and give people good
reason to connect with you.

  • Make sure your profile highlights your areas of
    expertise, services offered and who and why you are looking to connect.
  • Please, upload a profile picture – it says you’re
    engaged and participating.
  • Get the branded URL – something like www.linkedin.com/cmrainey, as
    close to your name as you can get.
  • Look alive! Share your
    business news, store events, promotions and general information on a daily
    basis.
  • Updating your status
    appears across your network of connections keeping you top of mind with
    others.  I’ve attracted supplier and prospect inquiries
    when I’ve updated my status regarding certain projects. For example, a few
    months ago I updated my status letting others know that I was working on a
    postcard. Someone that I had recently connected with worked for a printer.
    He saw my update and reached out to me to ask if he could give me a quote
    on the project.

Using Social Networking to Build Professional Relationships – part 2

A quick
Googling turns up a number of outstanding social networking sites for
professionals such as:

  • Biznikhttp://biznik.com/  is an award winning community of entrepreneurs and small
    businesses dedicated to helping each other succeed.
  • Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/ is the world's largest network of local groups.
    Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of
    the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get
    together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of
    improving themselves or their communities.
  • Ecademy – http://www.ecademy.com/
    – A business network for creating contacts and sharing knowledge.
  • Jigsaw – http://www.jigsaw.com/ – Jigsaw is an online directory of free, downloadable Company
    information and more than 17 million business Contacts.
  • Others  – Fastpitch (http://www.fastpitchnetworking.com/),
    PartnerUp (http://www.partnerup.com/),
    Perfectbusiness (http://www.perfectbusiness.com/)

The most
popular and widely used site for professionals though is LinkedIn –www.linkedin.com – and will by the focus for
the remainder of this article. According to the LinkedIn website they now have
over 53 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
A new member joins LinkedIn approximately every second, and about half of their
members are outside the U.S. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are
LinkedIn members.

One of my
favorite marketing guys is John Jantsch. John is a marketing and digital
technology coach (www.ducttapemarketing.com)
and he says, “Social media participation has proven to be a great way to cast a
wider net, create exposure for your expertise and initiate relationships with
partners, supplies, prospects and customers.” LinkedIn is the perfect platform
for doing each of the things John describes.

Using Social Networking to Build Professional Relationships – part 1

Over the next few days I'm posting an article that I wrote and was published in the January issue of CBA Retailers & Resources

Like many
people you’ve probably ventured into the social networking waters of Facebook
or MySpace. Maybe you have jumped into the Twittosphere even though you don’t
quite “get it” yet. If you are a frequent reader of CBA’s R&R then you no
doubt have learned and gained some great insight on using these tools to
connect with your customer’s from one of my friends, Gunnar Simonsen – http://gunnarsimonsen.wordpress.com/. Social networking websites are not only a great tool for connecting with your
customers but they can be a powerful platform to connect with suppliers and
service providers.



In today’s
competitive marketplace professionals are looking to one another – online – to
gain feedback and insight on brands, products and vendor experiences. If you
want the low down, social network sites are the place to discover what you are
looking for in quick and efficient way. As more and more professionals are
charged with cutting costs during a tough economy social media rises as a
viable and extremely valid method for marketing
Web 2.0
tools are some of the most cost-effective set of marketing media.

While
connecting through the Web may be free, social media does require an investment
of time and money. But when you stack up the dollars you spend in traditional
media channels vs. online social media the savings are substantial.


In
a recent MarketingProfs – www.marketingprofs.com
– article, writer Christina “CK” Kerley continues to make the case for business
leaders to engage with social media. Christina says, “The B2B purchasing
behavior of performing extensive up-front analysis to limit risk has not
changed, but the way that professionals now conduct their research, and who
influences their purchasing decisions, has undergone dramatic transformation.”

Don't Lose Your Passion for What You Do

Comments from Rusty on my posting from the other day brought to mind something Megan Dorn over at The StartUp Blog said. Megan said, "If you find yourself in a rut, try thinking back on the reasons you initially wanted to start your own business and don't lose sight of them. If you need to, write them down."                                                                                                                                                                   

Stuck-in-a-rut

Image from Living Beyond Limits – check them out for a great article on getting out of ruts.

How do you keep yourself out of ruts? How do you stay motivated and passionate about your work?