Face to Face Networking for Newbies

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Right now I’m in hermit mode, getting stuff done, but short on the local business right now. Thankfully even while a hermit business does come in from referrals, and networking online. I’m not really comfortable in a large group of strangers, but I do great in small groups and one on one.

Thanks to Dina Giolitto in asking for suggestions to help a networking newbie. I’m sure her Copywriting ebook will be awesome, as everything she has written so far has been great. I’ve known Dina for years. Now for my face to face networking tips for newbies:

  1. Joining a networking group such as BNI helps you learn to be a better networker. They teach you how to network. If you don’t know how to get started, join such a group. Do some research before joining to see if the group is right for you.
  2. It takes time to build trust. Don’t expect a total stranger to do business because you said “Hi!” and handed them your business card. Build relationships.
  3. Referrals from trusted sources shorten that trust building time. Nice when a stranger calls you, ready to do business because you were referred to them. Only questions are how much will it cost? When can you start?
  4. Going to a chamber of commerce event was easier when other members of our BNI group were there too. We could introduce people we meet to each other. I could say this is Fred, he takes the headache out of office machines. Next time you feel like chunking your printer out the window, give Fred a call.
  5. Make friends (such as BNI or other networking group), get to know what each other is good at, let them know specifically what kind of referral is good for you.
  6. Don’t be a pest. When you follow up with someone it should be what can I do to help? Not buy my stuff.
  7. Lifestyle networking, my favorite. People are everywhere. You don’t have to limit yourself to networking events. I’ve meet some cool people waiting in checkout lines, at the park, kids tennis practice, waiting at doctor’s offices, church, kid’s swim meets, while taking photos on the side of the road…
  8. Make yourself easy to remember. I sent a card with some brownies to an Albuquerque business after being introduced to them over the phone. A few weeks later I was in the area and called to see if I could stop by. “Yes!” When I walked in the office, everyone knew me, even though I’d never meet any of them face to face. I was the “brownie lady”.
  9. Consistantly plan. I’ll have to thank Carol Deckert for reminding me. “Who will you meet this next week?” Life gets busy, we have more good things we can do with our time then hours in a day. And if we don’t plan to follow up or meet someone, then it does not get done and you may find yourself in hermit mode. Ouch!
  10. Remember, you are not the only one learning how to network. Something you’ll get better at the more you do.

    Image by Alan O’Rourke

The Ultimate Valentine’s Card

In grade school, Valentines was always fun. Cards from all your friends and classmates, candy hearts. My favorites were those who took time to pick a card they knew I’d like or write a special message just for me.

We all love to be surprised by Valentine’s. I just got a great idea for a card for my husband. I was going through old photo albums and ran into photos we’d right after our engagement. That was over 30 years ago. Now wouldn’t that photo make the great front of a Valentine’s day card? Very unique, I bet it is a keeper. Nope the ultimate Valentine’s card isn’t the one at the top, although that one is very cool, a creation of my oldest daughter’s, Jessica Sellers.

So what does my ultimate Valentine’s Day card look like? Can’t show you yet, my hubby gets first peek. I’ll update this post after Valentine’s so you can see it. However, just because it will be the perfect card for my husband, doesn’t mean it’ll be the ultimate card for yours, or your child, sister, best friend. Now if you found photos of them, added your own thoughts, wouldn’t that be the coolest card of all.

Need a way to create such a card? Contact me or go to http://connectsimply.com and fill out the form and I’ll give you a couple cards for trying out my favorite way to send real greeting cards.

Adding Tweet This Plugin to WordPress

I created a video to show some friends how to add a tweet this button to their blog posts (on wordpress). Tweet this adds a button to the bottom of your posts, making it easy for your readers to tweet what you say. It can be set to shorten the url’s, add facebook, digg, stumble upon, plurk etc buttons.

There are many, many twitter tools, some of which are wordpress plugins. Plugins add functionality to your website. I think they are very cool. Only add and activate plugins which you want to use on your website. Sometimes a plugin may have a conflict with another plugin. So I prefer adding one new plugin at a time, making sure my wordpress website still works, etc. Some plugins, too many plugins may slow down the load time of your site. Have the plugins you use serve a purpose.

Twitter Plugins for WordPress

Auto Tweet Your Posts

Adding Tweet This Plugin to a WordPress Blog (and you can do the same thing to add other plugins–a fun thing to do).

Using Social Media for Job Search

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Image by SashaW

You mean you can use Facebook for more than playing games with friends?

What is Twitter?

Is it worth the time you spend online?

Should I become active in various groups and forums?

What is the value of social media?

These are all questions I’ve been asked. I love social media, it is of great value to me. I’m always looking for more business. I mean, who doesn’t want their business to grow? Let’s say you are looking for a graphic designer to quickly do a project for you. You want someone who is available right now who will do a great job for a reasonable price. Ask your friends on Twitter, LinkedIn, Ryze, etc. Who do they do who does graphic design? They pass on your message to their friends, who do the same. Within the hour recommendations come in along with introductions. In just a few hours the job is complete, money exchanged. A win for both sides.

But what if you aren’t self-employed? Can you find a job, employed by someone else through social media? Yes, it does work. Connections are important along with being visible.

Here are a couple examples from this past month. I started to look for local groups to connect on twitter. Pleasantly surprised to see local job offerings posted on Twitter, and I often retweet. One came through that looked perfect for my 15 year old daughter. They were looking for ushers at the Perot theater. Now my daughter has a very busy schedule with school, swim, driver’s ed, etc. Her schedule doesn’t fit a normal job. However, this one you choose the nights you can work. I responded to the tweet, and received an application in my email. My daughter printed it out, got reference letters from a couple of teachers and sent it all in. Within the week, she had the perfect job for her all because her mom was watching the local Twitter Tweets.

My son is a top-notch programmer. Ruby is one of his favorite languages, so he hangs out in the local Ruby online groups.
He set up a LinkedIn profile which works much like a resume with references. He set up a GitHub page (social media for open source programmers) to share his open source programs with others. He got a call from a company wanting him to come in for an interview:

“But I’m not looking for a job.”
“We want to talk to you anyway.”
“I don’t want to commute downtown.”
“Neither do we, we have an office near you.”
“You wouldn’t work around my classes.”
“Yes we will, come in for an interview”

So he did. Much of the interview was the company finding out what it would take for him to want to work for him. They’d already done their research through the Ruby group, his LinkedIn profile, and GitHub. Within an hour after the interview he had an email with an acceptable job offer.

Not all jobs are found through social media. This summer one of my sons needed a summer job. He’d put in an application and wait for a call. Surely they’d call him back soon. He go out and put in a few more applications and wait. I told him that
wasn’t working, you can’t just wait around a expect a job to show up because you need one. We talked about what his ideal summer
job would be. He decided he wanted to do yard work, but didn’t know who was hiring. I said call and ask, better than driving
around and applying everywhere. He went online, searching for local lawn care/landscaping companies and within a couple of hours
had an appointment with one that afternoon, and started work.

Now if my programmer son was looking on twitter local to me, he’d have never found his new job. My daughter would never have found hers by hanging out in the DFW Ruby group. Not likely to find a job with a Texarkana yard crew by looking among the DFW Ruby people either. Heck, lawn crews spend little time online during the busy growing season. Spend time where your preferred employer would hang out.

My tips for finding a job online:

      Use social media to show off your expertise, participate, be sure and fill out your profile.
      Be in the right places, go where those looking for your expertise would hang out.
      Let others know you are looking for a job or more business, have them keep their eyes open for you.
      Check local listings unless you are wanting to move, then check listings for your desired location.
      Be creative. Smile. Enjoy life.

Update:My programmer son has been hanging out with the nodejs programmers,developing code. One evening he wrote his own code to create his own blog, tutorials on using nodejs which were in short supply. We talked about his unique blog, how to make money with it. He wanted it a tutorial only, allowing others to provide content too. Consensus was if he got the traffic, there’d be a way to make money with it.

http://HowToNode.org

Within 2 weeks he had job offers in his email. Soon after speaking engagements. His blog was talked about in his niche, many tweets and links from top blogs in his field. Thousands of readers, quickly jumping to a PR5 site, further proving content is king. He was contacted by a publishing company to write a book, as a known expert in his field. When the time came to find a new job, he let his online connections know and several companies contacted him within hours.

Social media can and does work!

Littlest Networker

Littlest Networker

You ever go to a networking event, and people just clump up and talk to their same old friends, their co-workers, etc?

Or hear someone new to a town or group complain that no one is making friends with them?

You have to turn it around, to meet new people, usually you have to play the host and introduce yourself to others, connect with them, make friends, be helpful.

I don’t know about you, but I’m more comfortable talking to those who introduce themselves to me. But does that get you in contact with those you need to move your business forward? Better to take a more active approach, something I’m still working on.

It has been a busy month, lots of good things, one of which is a son graduating from high school. All his brothers and sisters came home to be celebrate.

As we were waiting for the ceremonies to begin, my granddaughter got all excited about the steps. She loves steps. She took her mom by the hand and went up and down the steps.

The she did something different, I should have video taped it. Didn’t think about it, just enjoyed watching her. At each step, she walked over and patted the arm of the person sitting on the end of each row. When they turned to look at her, she gave a great big smile. Some she shook their hands.

Leslie held on to her Mom’s hand tightly, pulling her along.

She went down another step and did the same at each row. Toward the end her mother started to move away, but Leslie wouldn’t budge. She hadn’t said “Hi” to one person. In fact she went back up a step to greet them. A soft pat on the arm, they turn to look at her, a giant smile, then they shake her hand.

And to top it off, when she sat down with rest of the family, she patted the back of those seated in front of us, giving each another big smile.

So next time I’m at a networking event, I’ll remember little Leslie, and if a toddler can meet and greet that many strangers, we should be able to follow her example. (Of course a toddler’s smile is hard to beat.)

Connecting with Lists

listsPhoto by Jayel Aheram

Lists, lists and more lists. Why are there so many lists online? Could be because thousands of bloggers are following Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Day 2 was Write a List Day. Or simply because lists work.

Having such a great list of lists in the Write a List Post, I scanned through to find posts which help you connect with others. After I turned cross-eyed from staring at the screen too long, here are a few I picked up.

Connecting with Families

One Million and One WordPress and Twitter Lists

I admit it, I’ve never counted. I would not be surprised if there were at least that many lists floating around the internet. Yep I made a list of Twitter WordPress Plugins when I had a hard time finding such. Now they are all over the place.

Online Tools for Your Business

Creating Customer Loyalty

Because it is something you’ll find me writing about from time to time. I hate dealing with businesses who see their loyal clients as just another number, ignore them while pouring money into gaining new ones.

Network with other bloggers, find those with similar interests, share good stuff, and promote each other. Stuff happens.

Send a free Mother's Day Card

Networking through BNI

I’d heard many good things about BNI. It just makes sense to me. A group of business professionals, each providing a different service, sending referrals to each other. Planned networking. A few years back I looked up BNI for Texarkana and there was no group in our local area. Closest group was at least 70 miles away. Not workable for me with weekly morning meetings.

Time passes and I was invited to visit a BNI group that was starting in our town. I was happy to join. Didn’t hurt that I was there as a rep for SendOutCards. BNI and SOC are Strategic Alliance Partners for good reason. Great group of people.

Throughout our day to day lives, we bump into people needing someone’s service. April 1st we had a nasty hail storm, “Know any good roofers?” Friend getting married and needing a new home? “I know a great Realtor you should talk to” Need a great lawn care service? “I know just the guy!” Allergies bothering you? Talk to my friend Jerry, he has something that has helped many others.

Sometimes have someone ask “Who do you know that would be good for … ? I don’t always have a answer I may know several people in that field, but I don’t know if they provide that particular service. But those in my BNI group, I know what them well through our weekly meetings. Meeting one-on-one I get to know them even better, what type of leads are good for them, how best to refer others to them.

Great way to start my day, I always feel better after our weekly meetings. Positive energy. Our Realtor received 2 referrals of people looking for homes. People that would not have come her way if it wasn’t for our little group. Imagine the power as our team grows.

We also give testimonials. Most of our members are also SendOutCard clients for me. Yesterday the insurance rep explained how when you try a new service, you always wonder if it will perform as well as expected. It was worth every penny he said. Very pleased with both the service the company performed, and my assistance in teaching his office staff how to use.

Visit your local BNI group, check it out, great way to develop referral partners, great network training.

Twitter Newbies – Quick Tips

As more and more friends enter the twitterverse, I get asked tips for getting started. The best tip is to jump in and do it. There are many great sources of information/tools for using twitter, and I’ll include those links too.

Here are links to some short videos (less 3 minutes) I made on how to use twitter.

Remember, add followers, courtesy to follow back those who follow you. Two rules of thought on that subject:
Follow everyone who follows you, it is the polite thing to do. Invite 2 way conversation with many new friends and clients.
or
Limit your followers to those you know best, to those whose tweets you value. Building closer relationships with those you follow. Your time is limited, but you still read all @ replies.

Last but not least, don’t spam! I saw one guy on twitter whose messages were nothing but something to the effect of look at this cool thing I’m sellling, buy from me. 0 followers and he followed 0. Twitter wasn’t working for him.

As you get the basics down, there are many tools and applications that are built to make twitter a more productive and enjoyable experience.

Great Twitter Resources


Related Posts

Making New Online Connections

Only so many hours in a day, and if we are spending some of the precious time online, using social media to connect and build relationships, we should learn to getter better at it.

When I first joined Ryze, it was a very active network, I learned much. One discussion was about drive by networking. People who never say a word to you, never had a conversation with in any of the network forums, never even left a guestbook message, but you suddenly get an invitation to connect and be their friend. And many of these same people, when you reply, they spam you with their stuff.

YouTube had a hilarious video (sorry I can’t find it) about the same thing on FaceBook. Guy knocks on the door, “Will you be my friend?” Who are you? I was in your physics class many years ago and sat 3 rows behind you. “Will you be my friend” etc.

There are more effective ways to spend your time. I do like the general rule, would you do this in a real face to face sitting?

Always open to learning ways to network more effectively, I appreciated Dean Hua’s post on how he used LinkedIn as a follow up tool. Thanks Dean!

Now if I can just figure out how my blog went from a google PR 4 to gray in the last update and how to fix it.