11 Essentials of Social Networking – Repost

Back in November 2013, I was requested to write a guest post for my buddy Adrienne Smith. Whenever I agree to write a guest post for someone, I try to make it a pretty epic post; that’s why I don’t do it all that often.

At the beginning of this year Adrienne shut down her blog, so all her content disappeared, including this post. I’d totally forgotten about it until a link popped up somewhere reminding me that I’d written it. Since I got almost 300 comments over there, and since I’m the guy who said that I believe there are times when it’s okay to take content from another blog, especially if you wrote it and the other blog no longer exists, and since I think this was a pretty good post, I decided to repost it here so I can re-link it to some of my other posts where I mentioned it. Enjoy!

Can You Etch It - Social media refrigerator magnets - Laser engraved
Creative Commons License Alan Reeves via Compfight

A lot of people hear about social media and social media marketing, but you don’t often hear or see many people talking about social networking. In my opinion, if you’re not performing social networking properly, everything else fails because you’ve given no one any reason to pay attention to you.

Let’s define social networking. It’s really not that much different than any other type of networking except it’s networking done through social media activities. That’s my definition, and basically it means blogging, sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and even email. If you’re not willing to think about entertaining the idea of having a conversation with anyone online, even minor conversations, then you’re not social networking.

That’s what the topic is going to be on today. I thought about only doing 10 things, then I realized that everyone else always does 10, including myself. Since I want this to be a special post, we’re going to do 11. So without any further ado let’s get started.

1. Responding to blog comments

This one should be a no-brainer, and yet over the years you wouldn’t believe how many blogs I go to where there are comments on posts and yet the person who wrote the article doesn’t respond to those comments. The reason I say “person” rather than the blog owner is that sometimes the post is written by a guest poster.

Not responding to people who comment on blog posts is probably one of the most arrogant things I can think of that some bloggers do. I can understand when you’re a very popular blogger who might get hundreds of comments that it may be hard to keep up with every single one of them, but people appreciate the attempt to at least address some comments. For those of us who often get 10 comments or less, not responding to a blog comment is criminal unless it’s a lousy comment.

Please tell me this isn’t you, and if it is don’t own up to it just stop ignoring people who are giving their time and attention to what you write. If the comment is bad I don’t expect you to do respond to it, just get rid of it.

2. Responding to comments on social media sites

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Most people are connected to others on places like Twitter and Google Plus who put something out on those sites. What I find is that maybe 80% to 85% of the people who I write a comment to based on those posts, that I don’t interact with on a regular basis, won’t even acknowledge me, or might give me a general “thanks for sharing my post” and ignoring anything else I might have said.

Personally I find that offensive because for the most part people follow me first and then I checked them out to see if they ever talk to anybody. If they don’t talk to anybody I don’t follow them, but if they do then it’s my impression that if I write them directly based on something that they’ve written or shared that I think is interesting enough to comment on, that they will write me back.

Once again, it’s all about social networking. If you’re following 500 people or more I don’t expect you to say hello or comment on every single thing you see. However, unless you’re a media star you’re probably not getting that many people who are writing you directly or including you in on conversations of almost any type. I hear some of you saying that you don’t think you’re getting everything out of social media that you should be, yet I’m betting you’re one of those people who picks and chooses what you’re going to respond to, if you respond at all.

If you’ve ever been to a regular networking event you know how hard it is to go up to someone you don’t know and start talking to them. Social media makes it easier because you don’t have that person standing right in front of you, therefore you shouldn’t be intimidated. If you don’t have any plans on ever talking to anybody on social media except people you know, then remove all those other people from your stream because you’re wasting peoples time, and you’re being disingenuous to the purpose of social networking.

3. Commenting on links or articles that other people share

So you’re one of those people who actually sometimes shares something that you’ve seen that someone else has put up. I’m proud of you for that, but I have to ask if you’ve gone the next step of commenting in some way on what you’re sharing. For that matter, I have to ask if you even looked at what you’re sharing.

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Whereas it’s a great thing to share things that other people put up on different social media sites, including blog posts by the way, what you might be trying to dodge is that you are basically endorsing whatever it is you’re sharing. Those people who claim not to be endorsing what they share are basically committing fraud right in your face because they could care less what kind of content they’re giving you and they’re trying to dodge responsibility for putting it in your stream, no matter what site you happen to be on.

I’m not going to say that I comment on 100% of the links I’ve share anywhere, but I comment on at least 50 to 75% of what I share where I can. Even if it’s just a link to an image I may say a word or two letting people know whether I like it or not. It’s hard to say a lot on Twitter when you only have 140 characters, and sometimes the original message is so long that you can’t comment, but those are the exceptions and not the rule you should follow. Does it really take too much time to share your thoughts on things that you share? Wouldn’t you like people to do that for you?

4. Slow down on the marketing thing

I get it, you’re hoping to make money online and you know you can’t make any money if you don’t market or advertise. Let me ask you a question; when you watch TV, would you be happy with only five minutes of programming and 25 minutes of commercials?

There’s nothing wrong with an advertisement here and there, or marketing when you have something new that you want to promote. But if that’s all you’re about then people are going to tune you out because you haven’t done any real social networking. As any real marketer will tell you people aren’t interested in your product, they’re interested in what you can do for them. But people don’t trust you if they don’t have any idea who you are, and if all you are to them is a constant commercial, they’re going to move on to somebody else who’s talking directly to them.

For those people who get mad because you’ve thrown in an advertisement when you’ve given them nine or 10 great articles or ideas they can use to make their lives better in some way, those people aren’t who you need to worry about in the first place. Online or offline, it’s all about relationships, and when you learn that lesson you’ll be a success.

5. Slow down on perpetual links, quotes, and general status updates

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Some people think that keeping their name consistently in front of everybody else is the best way to brand themselves. The truth of the matter is that being in front of people often enough can help brand you, but only if you’re giving people something they either need or want.

I love the motivational quotes, but if you’re putting one out every five minutes 24 hours a day and I know that at some point you’re sleeping or away from your computer, I’m going to get irritated and so is everyone else. The same goes for consistently posting links at a pace that doesn’t allow me to get a breath, or posting updates every 3 to 4 minutes of your day telling me things like you’re drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, or getting ready to go to the bathroom.

I’m not one of those people who likes a lot of automation, and it might be holding me back as far as spreading my message to the masses. Except for the first posting of most of my blog articles because I write them ahead of time, if you see anything that shows up on any social media site and you know I’m the one who posted it then you know I’m actually around for you to talk to. In my opinion that’s very important because if someone responds to something I’ve put out within 15 to 30 minutes they can pretty much guarantee I’m going to say something to them, no matter what time of day or night.

This gives me another chance to network with people who I might not know all that well, and there’s no better way of building a social networking presence than actually talking to someone once you’ve got their attention. If you’re just posting links all day long, even if they’re not your links, what reason have you given anyone to actually talk to you?

6. Actually liking or commenting on videos

Did you know that there are over 1 billion views a day on YouTube? How many videos do you watch? How many videos do you create?

I have two video channels. On one of my channels, my business channel, I’ve had some videos that have gotten over 300 views. However, I not only do not get all that many comments, I also don’t get many likes or dislikes, although nobody really wants dislikes.

So let me get this straight; you will watch a video anywhere from 2 to 30 minutes, and when you’re done you don’t think it deserves any kind of acknowledgment whatsoever? Sure, you’ve helped build up the viewer numbers, but do you realize what you’re missing by not commenting?

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Likes are a different story, because people like me, who does like or dislike most videos I watch, don’t allow tracking of which videos I like or dislike. Therefore, unless I comment on a video no one is never going to know whether I liked it or not. I don’t comment on all videos, although I’ll comment about half the time, whereas if I actually like the video I will click the thumbs up button at least 80% of the time.

People like being acknowledged for the work they do, whether it’s blogging or making videos. At the same time, you actually get the opportunity to promote yourself by leaving comments on either blog posts or videos, and if you leave good comments people are likely to follow you back to your channel or your blog. Once again, it’s great social networking and the chance to grow your follower base.

7. Having an image for your comments and your social media sites

Who are you anyway? Are you a cartoon? Are you a logo? Or are you a human being? Do you look like the Elephant Man?

If you’re human, and I know that you are, you should be using an image, aka avatar, aka gravatar, showing your face no matter where you are on social media. True, there are some pretty prominent people who use a logo instead of their image, but most of those people created those things a long time ago, before video started to take off and viewers and readers started to care more about the people who were creating content.

I know that some people won’t accept comments from anyone who doesn’t have an image or avatar. I’m not quite that bad, but any comment that comes to this blog without one goes into moderation first. I also won’t follow anyone who doesn’t have some kind of image on their Twitter or other social media profiles.

What are you afraid of? If you’re worried about your privacy when it comes to your own image you shouldn’t be on social media in the first place. People like to converse, work, and buy from those who they feel comfortable with, and if they don’t know who you are or what you look like it’s just putting up another barrier that not everyone has the opportunity to bridge. Just something to think about.

8. Linking to and occasionally promoting someone else in a blog post

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When I have written about things that people can use for inspiration and writing blog posts when they have writers block, one of the things I offer up is to write a blog post based on something that they’ve read, either a news story or a blog post. If you’re going to write a blog post based on an article you’ve read, it doesn’t hurt to link back to that blog post, and it doesn’t hurt to mention the person’s name and the name of their blog while you’re at it.

I’m lucky to rarely have writers block, but I have never worried about sharing my space with someone whom I can quote or share while writing my articles. Imagine how good people feel when you’ve been able to write something positive and attach their name to it. Think about how you would feel if you found that someone benefited from something that you wrote and is giving you accolades for it. Talk about the start of some great social networking. 🙂

9. Giving others credit when it’s due

Nobody likes plagiarists, but this isn’t exactly talking about them. Instead, it’s writing about something where you got the idea from someone else and not mentioning them. It’s retweeting something from someone you know who originally retweeted it, and not trying to find a way to get their name on your retweet.

It’s sharing something you saw on Facebook or on Google Plus and not ever mentioning where you might have got it from. Have you ever heard the term “quid pro quo”? What you find is that when you do something for someone that they didn’t ask you to do, often they will end up doing something for you in return. That should never be your motivation for doing something nice for others, but it’s not a bad benefit for you if it occurs.

I’ll add this though; there are a lot of people writing things that aren’t helping you help them. It’s easy to paste in someone’s name, but if they don’t have social share buttons to link to on these platforms, then you get a break in not helping to hype them; they’ll just have to rely on the links you share to help them out instead.

10. Don’t ask for anything without being willing to give something more

There are many celebrities on social media. There are also some social media celebrities that we all know. They’re always getting asked for favors by people who really don’t know who they are, and haven’t been willing to do even the simplest things such as commenting on their blog posts or sharing their articles. In other words, they’re looking for something for nothing and trying to tell these folks how it will benefit them.

The same goes for guest posting requests. I have one blog that I accept guest posts on (I don’t any longer), and the majority of people who write me send me a form letter telling me how many words their post will have and how it will benefit my blog by having new content.

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What they’ve missed is that I have a guest posting policy on the blog (now an advertising policy) that I know they haven’t seen, therefore I dump their emails without any kind of response. True, accepting guest posts can help a blog grow, but nobody sends guest posting requests to blogs that aren’t ranked well, therefore the benefit is really more for the guest poster (even when the poster has been requested to write an article) than it is for the person whose blog it is.

Years ago I wrote Guy Kawasaki and asked him if he would list my business blog on one of his Alltop pages. I did this after helping him edit one of his books, writing a blog post about it when it came out, and writing a review of the book on Amazon. It was a simple request, and I didn’t insult his intelligence by telling him how wise it would be to list my blog on his page, but I did remind him of who I was because after all he’s Guy Kawasaki and I’m me. And he listed me, and my link is still there; that’s pretty cool. I also got editing credit in the book; that’s even cooler! 🙂

Don’t ever expect to get something for nothing. If it happens, then maybe you’ve been blessed or you caught someone on a mentally weak day. Always be willing to go that extra step if you’re hoping for things to go your way later on.

11. Be as nice as you possibly can

I think this is imperative, but you notice I didn’t say always be nice. Every once in a while you have to take a stand for something you believe in, and even though you don’t have to be a jerk, you don’t have to be as nice as, well, being nice. LOL!

With some forethought you will find that you can disagree with someone and not be insulting. You will find that people will be more apt to listen to what you have to say if you can present a point of view without too much negative emotion. You will find that more people will be attracted to you when you treat them with kindness than with derision.

When you can positively motivate people you end up positively motivating yourself. Star Wars got it right when they warned you about the dark side. The dark side is powerful, but being nice can overcome the darkness. Always be truthful, or at least as much as you can, but be nice, kind, warm, accommodating, comforting, inspirational, and as much as possible make people smile. Make them think, and make them feel good as well.
 

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Reinvention Weekend With Melinda Emerson

On October 15th my wife and I participated in what was called Reinvention Weekend, which was hosted by Melinda Emerson, also known as the Small Biz Lady. We had a nice time and a great experience, and I decided I was going to write about it like I wrote about the Blogging While Brown conference. This means I’m going to give you the good and the bad of the entire weekend in story form; you’ve been warned! 🙂

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Let me get this out of the way off the bat. My wife and I drove down from central New York to Alexandria VA, which was a 7 1/2 hour trip not counting stops. I woke up Friday morning, the 14th, feeling extremely dizzy. I was dizzy the entire weekend, although things started calming down late Sunday afternoon. Overall it didn’t stop much of what we did, although I did fall out of a chair once. I was fine when I was sitting but not standing up, which is why I could drive… as I didn’t tell my wife I was dizzy until we got to Virginia… like most males would have done.

The ride down was pretty wonderful for a couple of reasons.

One, the scenery was fantastic. Seems we picked the right weekend to be on the road, as the flora was absolutely stunning and eye popping, and fell apart pretty much the week after we got home.

Two, we got to stop at Exit 194 on Route 81 in Pennsylvania to visit the Krispy Kreme store, where they still make them before your eyes. Turns out my wife had never had one; what the hey?!?!? :-O In any case, she’s now had them, likes them, and I got to have 3 for the first time in 7 years, since we don’t have one here anymore; sniff!

A video posted by Mitch Mitchell (@mitch9359) on

We had to make a lot of detours on the trip because of construction, and let me just say that Google Maps is a lifesaver. We saw areas that I never knew existed, let alone ever thought about visiting, and let me say that small town America is still greatly intriguing… and scary! lol Because of the detours and such we had almost no gas when we got to the hotel, but leaving to go find gas wasn’t an option. That’s because it would have cost us $30 to leave the hotel and come back… as it was, we paid $34 for parking anyway.

Friday night was a meet and greet on the 15th floor of the hotel we stayed at, which was the Doubletree (lots of free cookies). They had a pasta bar where I asked for a mixture of red and white sauce along with both chicken and shrimp, topped off with bow tie pasta; that was the only real meal we ate the entire weekend, but it was wonderful. We talked to a couple of people and I went to introduce myself to Melinda… who didn’t know who I was at the time. lol Still, with all the people she knows and was meeting, I could forgive that. 🙂

Saturday morning we got downstairs about 12 minutes before the event began. There was a continental breakfast… something I almost never eat, so I went next door to the restaurant where they had a breakfast buffet. Frankly, the hot foods were kind of disgusting… how many people actually like their eggs swimming in water… at least that’s what I think it was. The bacon was good, but the sausage… ugh. So I ate mainly bacon, not having enough time for anything else, and my wife joined me at the last minute, which means breakfast cost us… $17.50 a person! Oh well, at least I had something to eat.

Melinda Emerson & Mitch Mitchell
Me & Melinda

Then it was time to begin the event. We’d gotten seats in the back row because that’s how I roll. Melinda started things off by introducing the master of ceremonies for the day, a guy named Trevor Otts, who got things moving by ordering everyone to shake things up by moving their seats to the opposite side of the room and the opposite position of the room. In other words, I was supposed to move to the right side of the room and the front row. Y’all remember that dizzy thing I mentioned above? Well, moving wasn’t an option I was going to entertain, and neither did any of the other ladies to my left. lol

Next it was time for some panel discussions. I found both of them pretty intriguing, although I’m not gonna lie and say I remember everything we covered. However, since I like using Twitter and I’ll pop out quotes I find intriguing, I did share these thoughts with the people I’m connected to. Here’s those tweets, in order:

“Prospect for your business every single, dingle day.” – Dianna Geairn

“You must be able to articulate what you do from your customer’s point of view.” – Dianna Geairn

“If you’re a business owner you must be prospecting every day.” – Che Brown

“Do not sign anything without having a small business attorney look at it.” – Jennifer Abernathy

“Most small businesses forget it’s not about profit, it’s about cash.” – Barry Moltz

“There is no e-commerce, there’s only commerce.” – John Lawson

“If you’re going to use a virtual assistant, get a referral.” – Barry Moltz

“If you want someone good but have difficulty paying their rate cut back on the hours.” – Jennifer Abernathy

“Don’t grow yourself broke.” – Barry Moltz

“The foundation of a strong business is knowing why you’re in it” – Pamela Slim

“Calling on a prospect & not leaving a message is like knocking on a door & running away.” – Dianna Geairn

After the two panel discussions, we had a boxed lunch which was okay, though I almost thought about going back to the expensive room for a better meal. However, it was only a 30-minute break before it was time to go into the breakout sessions. My wife & I were separated at this point, as the presentation I was going into was about sales and marketing, led by Trevor Otts and Che Brown.

This was a lot of great information and I started getting pumped a little bit. It was so much info that I couldn’t capture it all. I only got to tweet a few things from their presentation, which lasted almost 2 hours, but I took a lot of notes, which I’m going to share with you to see how much I remembered.

1. Work to monetize knowledge.

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The premise of this was that most of us who are independent business people try to physically make money by working with clients to provide services based on the knowledge we have, but that’s actually the incorrect start to one’s business model. Instead, we should try to market our knowledge by product creation, something Donna Merrill recently talked about on her blog.

In essence, a better way to go is by thinking of what we do as a circle and based on a circular model (see #2 below). Trevor used a “getting healthy” analogy to help explain the theory:

a. Do it yourself; write a book, create a product, and market that to people looking for knowledge and want to try to do it for themselves;

b. Do it with you; set up things like group coaching, webinars, exercise classes, speaking engagements and such, where you can reach lots of people at once. It’s easy to put together things like this, some of which you don’t even have to leave your house to do.

c. Done for you; this is where you get into the true consulting or one-on-one piece, where you can charge the most amount of money to people. That’s because this phase takes a lot more of your time so you get to decide how much your time is worth… and make sure you charge high enough to show its value.

d. System/subscription based services. The analogies used for this one were Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, where people subscribe and pay monthly for continuing education. This model takes time to set up, but once you’ve got it going it’s a recurring cash register, even if you need to continually add new information.

2. You don’t need unlimited numbers of customers; you only need 100.

You might not remember when I talked briefly about the concept of 100 true fans in the article I just linked to. I’ve talked about this for years after reading it in a newsletter way back in the day. This was another concept Trevor talked about, and it was pretty intriguing.

In essence, he said that once you determine how much money you’d like to make in a year, double that amount and think about how much you’d need 100 people to pay you to reach it. Say you wanted to make $150K a year; double it to $300K. This means that if you only had 100 true fans you need to make $3,000 a year from each of them at a minimum.

The basic idea is to find those people who you know are truly interested in what you have to market to them, where they’re as passionate about something as you are. Think only about those people because they’re your true life’s blood. Everything you do, everything you sell, is because of these 100 people.

The thing is, even if you’re only concentrating on 100 people, other people will come to you, either because you’ve enthused the 100 enough so that they’ll bring in new people or, probably because of your social media presence (yeah, you need some of that) or your marketing skills (how good are you on the phone?) you can only increase the numbers while you’re increasing the value of your products and services.

You’re probably wondering how you can keep creating things… well, this is addressed in #3…

3. “Turn a problem into a product.” – Trevor Otts

Here Trevor used the analogy of smartphones. Smartphones were created to address a lot of issues many of us had while in the phone that took multiple products: GPS, notepads, address books, etc. They were very helpful, but of course there were things that needed to be created around them.

For instance, we needed ways to charge our phones in the car. We needed carrying cases and protective cases for our phones. We needed ways to speak on our phones wirelessly; on and on. If you’re the one who creates the product that solves people’s problems, they’re always going to need something new to solve a problem that the one you solved creates… thus, we’re back to our circular business model. Isn’t that cool!

4. “People like people that are just like them.” – Che Brown

I don’t want to leave Che out because he said a lot of good stuff as well. For instance, he said that a big problem most people make for themselves is going to networking events and start trying to sell to people, most of whom are trying to get away from you because they came for their own reasons. Instead, he advocated what he calls “permission based sales” processes, which begins by thinking of a model of asking people’s permission for their time, often at a later date, where you can talk to them about their business.

Because that’s the second problem people make, both during networking and during sales calls or meals, that being to make the pitch instead of finding out more about the needs of a potential customer. The idea is to not be pushy, but to listen, ask questions, think about things and then ask permission to discuss their issue or offer them potential solutions. It not only goes over better but it adds to the circle theorem of business. After all, if you can make personal connections with your clients and help them solve their problems, not only will they appreciate it more but they’ll probably continue to be customers of yours.

Once the breakout sessions ended, we all met back up in the big room where we were treated to some absolutely wonderful cupcakes because it was Melinda’s birthday. Then it was time for another round of breakout sessions, and this time my wife and I got the opportunity to hear straight from Melinda herself.

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Once again I’m not gonna lie. I knew all the stuff as it pertains to social media. Luckily she talked about more than that, including her background, all the years she’s been in business and some of the struggles and successes she’s had. She’s a very engaging presenter and I was glad to be sitting there with my wife, who felt inspired as she admitted while we were on the road heading towards home.

I found myself feeling a bit more of a spark, which is the reason I decided to drive down there in the first place. Sometimes we feel like we’re either on a treadmill or walking through the La Brea tarpits, thinking we’re doing a lot to work towards our goals but feeling like we’re not really getting anywhere. This is how I’ve been feeling lately, so I knew I needed the jump start that Melinda and friends provided.

Then it was time for a group picture, and it was during this period that I went to sit on my chair, barely made it and toppled over. I didn’t hurt myself, and only 3 people, which included my wife, saw me do it. But that was kind of cool, even though there was no way I was ever going to fit into the t-shirt they gave all of us. lol

After her presentation there was going to be a 45-minute Q&A, but we decided it was time for us to leave because we had a long drive. We had a nice and inspiring conversation with each other as we were coming back towards home as I shared things with her that I heard and she shared some things with me.

Was it worth going? Absolutely! Would I go again? Well… I’m hoping I won’t have to! 🙂 Right now I’m feeling pretty good, and I’ve been thinking about what I want to do next regarding my business and business model. I’ve love to be really busy next year around this same time, making so much money that I wouldn’t have to go again unless I was achieving so much that I was asked to be a presenter (which won’t happen since I believe they already have 2017 booked lol). If you’re thinking about it for next year, you can look on Melinda’s website, which I gave the link to in the first paragraph, for more information.

That’s all I’ve got. What do you think? What more would you like to know? Since I’m a lousy closer, let me introduce and link to the other people’s Twitter accounts who presented:

Pamela Slim

Trevor Otts

Che Brown

Dianna Geairn

Jennifer Abernathy

Barry Moltz

John Lawson

Twyla Garrett

Ramon Ray

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3 Things You Need To Do On LinkedIn

In a post from last year I talked about reasons why business people need to be on LinkedIn. I hope some of you decided to check it out at that point, or some of the other articles I wrote about it since then. If you did, you might still be a bit confused on what you should do once you’re there. I’m going to give you 3 quick things you should do when you get there.

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The first thing you need to do is fill out your profile, which includes adding an image. Many people, me being one, hates connecting with someone they don’t know if there’s no image with the account. But they really hate connecting with someone who hasn’t completed their profile, at least most of it. It’s actually very easy to do because they give you a step by step that’s easy to follow.

The mistake most people do is type in everything exactly how their resume reads and that’s not the best way to go about it. However, initially it’s more important to have information there that people can view than worrying about doing something special. We’ll talk about that another time.

The second thing you need to do is join at least one group in a field that would work best for you. Many people might say you need to join a group that does what you do, and that’s not a bad move, but it’s not your best move. Your best move is to join a local group where you have the opportunity to meet people that could one day use your services, or at the very least network with in some fashion, with the possibility of meeting some of them in person. This is the recommendation for almost anyone; I put it that way because if you never do work in your area then going with a group of people that do what you do, or are in your industry, moves up to the first spot.

The third thing you need to do is reach out to a few people. This can be done in two ways.

LinkedIn has a search function, so you can either search for people in your area or people in an industry that you might want to talk to. It’s hard to do if you don’t know anyone, but if you’re like most business people, you already have some kind of contact list that you work with.

Take that list and look up some of those people; you’ll probably find some of them. If you have an email address it works great; if not, you can still find a way to connect with some people. However, having an email address lets you connect with people quicker, and once you’ve connected with them you get to look at who they’re connected to, which also helps you out.

Those are down and dirty, but they’ll get you started. I believe anyone in business needs to be on LinkedIn, but if you’re not doing anything with it you’re wasting a great opportunity.
 

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What Does Social Media Engagement Mean?

Often on this blog, and in comments I make on other blogs, I talk about the concept of engagement. I use this term when I’m talking about meeting people and networking on social media because I tend to believe that it’s the most important thing anyone could ever do online.

2014 WLS Welcome and Networking Event
United Way of Greater St. Louis
via Compfight

What do I mean by engagement? Overall I believe it means that you have to either talk to somebody every once in a while or actually comment on something so that if either the person who generated a topic of conversation responds to you or possibly someone else sharing that information responds to you, that other people who may see it after the fact might respond to you.

This doesn’t mean that if you put something out first that you have to actually add something extra to it to get people to talk to you. As a matter of fact, other than blogging, even though you’re hoping that people will respond to things you put out that are original, the reality is that, for the majority of us, more people will respond to things that other people initially put up that we share.

Let me give you some examples.

On Twitter, I like to share different things that people post. Sometimes those things are a retweet from someone else. When it’s a retweet, I try to do what I can to get the name of the person I’m connected to who is retweeting the item into the tweet. If there is no room for me to make a separate comment then at least I’m acknowledging the person who I’m connected to and in my own way thanking them for sharing that information.

Also, at least half the times that I retweet something I will add a / and then comment after it. The person I’m retweeting will definitely know that I’ve commented on what they shared, and it’s my hope that other people will recognize that extra comment as mine.

By doing each of these actions, every once in a while someone will start talking to me. Whenever someone talks to me first I always respond, although I don’t get that back all the time. Still, at least the attempt has been made to get to know someone better and to generate conversation. Thus, the beginning of engagement.

As it regards Google Plus, I try to do the same type of thing even though it’s slightly different. Sometimes I just comment on what someone puts up. Other times I’ll reshare it, and when I do that I always have a comment before I share the item.

What sometimes happens is that people will come by after seeing I shared their item and give me a +1. Every once in a while they may thank me for sharing the item. Most of the time if I at least comment on the original they may just say thank you or they may start a conversation with me. That’s actually what I’m shooting for because, once again, I tend to believe that engagement is the key to getting to know one another. That’s what true networking is all about.

The last one I’m going to touch upon is blogging. If you read this blog often enough you know that I am always saying that you should respond to comments. I also say that there are times when people leave lousy comments, or comments that there’s really nothing to respond to.

There’s someone who’s been leaving comments on this blog that, by the time this article goes live, I’ve either started to delete or the types of comments have changed, where the words “thanks for the informative post” are in every single comment. Even though my name is used, since there’s never anything else that’s new it looks like a spam type of comment.

Engagement begins when someone leaves a comment and mentions at least one thing in the article or addresses at least one thing that was in the article that either they want to agree with, disagree with, or specifically say whatever they want to about it. Without addressing anything that’s either in the post, or give a point of view on something that’s related to the article, or even telling a story that the article reminds you of, you have lost your opportunity for any kind of engagement and look like you’re just trying to get a backlink.

Maybe I’m just being a bit pigheaded when it comes to this concept of engagement, so I’ll ask you. Do you write your blog, or produce anything else that you send out to the masses, hoping for engagement, or just because you want to talk to yourself out loud and hope others will check it out? If you don’t want to engagement, then how do you know they’re even reading anything you put out? If you don’t care then it’s no big deal. If you do care, then you have to follow the concept of giving to get.

Let me know your view on this topic.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell

Are You A Lazy Networker Or Marketer?

Some of you know I own a blog about financial stuff. Some of you also know I used to accept guest posts on that blog, but ended it last December after being bothered by the types of requests I was getting, the lousy editing and, well, just the time it was taking away from doing other stuff.

Portrait of a Traveller
Dick Vos via Compfight

Even though I still get those requests, I can easily deflect them. However, if the offers are good, I still entertain letters about advertising, although so far I haven’t found any of them to be up my alley. I’m just not going to allow links or banner ads to any businesses or companies that aren’t aligned with finance on that site; that’s the smart way to do business right?

One type of email I get, that most people get, is the form letter. You know it, where you see the same language all the time, the lies about how they’re impressed with your site, yada yada.

One rule I’ve always had, even with the guest posts, is if my name isn’t in the email I ignore it and move on. When I was accepting guest posts, if I got a second email I’d write back quickly informing them that they hadn’t read the guest posting policy; yup, I had one of those, fairly extensive. Nowadays I’ll ignore that second email and move on with life.

Well, the other day I got a third email from someone. However, in both the second email and the third, instead of writing something new, and still not having my name anywhere in it, the emails said “contacting you again; see message below.”

Since I got a third email from the guy, I decided to write him back. This is what I wrote:

Greetings,

I’m responding to this email because it seems ignoring it hasn’t taught anything.

Yes, I saw the other emails. Why have I ignored them? Because every single email is proof that you or nobody else who works with you has ever visited my website. If you had you’ve have seen that I have a name, I have an about page and I have an advertising policy.

Frankly, it’s always been my assumption that if people who say they want to work for me show that they’re too lazy to look at anything on the site that I don’t trust them to keep their word on anything they have to say, thus I’m not working with them. I’m only writing you because you’ve sent this more than once.

If you’re actually representing the company you state you are, you’re doing it poorly. Maybe you’ll treat your job and give the people you hope to work with a bit more respect after this email. In any case, at this juncture I’m not interested. I wish you well as you pursue your career, hopefully with a bit more circumspection on how to contact potential customers and partners.

Was that too harsh? I didn’t think so, and I actually felt it was a good lesson that might help make this guy a little bit better at what he does and how he works.

Y’all know I’m an independent consultant in health care. Because I can’t call all the hospitals within a 7-state radius all that often I have a set of marketing letters to help introduce myself to the people I need to talk to.

Pushkar, chai wallah (tea vendor)
Creative Commons License Arian Zwegers
via Compfight

What I have done is researched every hospital I wanted to send something to and found the names of the people in the position, as well as the actual title they hold, and that goes on the letters I send out; almost never email. I do that because I know if a letter is a bit more personal there’s a better chance it’ll at least be opened, and hopefully read. I also try to mention something about the hospital that I’ve learned that might flatter them in some fashion, such as acknowledging a new service they have or an award they’ve recently won.

Sometimes you get a name wrong because, in health care, people move around pretty fast. But that’s not a big deal because you’ll get the correct name when you follow up by phone. And that’s interesting because at least someone will talk to you, maybe not your intended target, if you have a name.

It’s just lazy marketing if you don’t try to find out someone’s name, or if you haven’t even looked at the website or blog of a person or business to see if maybe the information you’re looking for is there already.

Add this to the process of networking, where you reach out to someone without even attempting to know something about them. At many networking events I go to people only talk about themselves, and are pushing their business card at you before they’ve even told you their name. Sometimes I don’t even reciprocate by giving my card out because I know this is someone who could care less about me. Who wants to spend money, or sometimes even make money, working with someone who doesn’t care about you in the least?

Am I in the wrong here? Am I not being forgiving enough to those who obviously don’t know any better? Or do you see where I’m going, what I’m saying, and possibly agree? Let me know, and thanks for reading.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mitch Mitchell