Saturday, December 11, 2010

Article for the MPISCC Intercom

Planners and suppliers can benefit from social networking, just as you can benefit from networking at face to face events. Like face to face networking, social media is best used as conversation, not direct selling. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are three of the most commonly used platforms. I will be bringing you a series of educational articles on each of these applications. Let’s start with LinkedIn! Whether you are just getting started, or you have 500+ connections, review the steps here to make sure you are getting the most out of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the preferred professional network. The one thing I like most about LinkedIn is the ability to stay in touch with friends and colleagues. If you are only using your rolodex, half of those business cards are most likely obsolete.
Complete your profile. Your profile is your online resume which contains valuable information for either recruiters or potential clients. People do business with people they like! Make sure your expertise shines on their screens. Consider hiring a resume writer to make your accomplishments stand out. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations from people you have worked with or for.
Build your network. The more people you are connected to, the more valuable you become. First, connect with everyone who has already sent you an invitation to connect.  Every time I go to a networking event, I send connection invitations to everyone who gave me a business card. Note: many of you are afraid to connect to your competitors, but you never know when they might refer business to you that they can't accommodate. Savvy planners understand the value of a large network. You never know when you might need to find a vendor on the fly.
LinkedIn has expanded the functionality of Company pages. If you are a business owner, you should complete your company page so that all of your employees are connected and you are listing the products or services that you provide. If you are searching for someone at a particular company, it is easy to see who you are connected to at any given company. Don’t forget, the larger your network, the more people you can see. Use the Service Providers Directory when you are looking for a supplier.
Build your professional reputation by engaging your network. Update your status. Talk about a current project, useful information, "like", comment, or share updates from your connections. Even if you only log-in once a day, scan your network’s activity so that you can reach out to your friends in the industry. Join groups and interact with people in your industry that you have never met in person. Don't advertise your business; simply answer questions when you have insight. You can also do this on LinkedIn Answers.
Connect your professional friends to each other when you see a mutually beneficial relationship. LinkedIn is an excellent way to refer your professional contacts to each other. If someone asks me if I know a good caterer, I can do a search to see who I am connected to and forward their profile to the person who is looking. This way, they can view the caterer’s experience, skills, recommendations and even click over to their Web Site, blog, or twitter account to research them before hiring them. I have my professional network with me at all times, without having to search through my business cards.
Expand your network across the country and around the world in the hospitality and events industry. Join a few groups and join in the discussions. If you are getting too many e-mails from the groups you have joined, change your settings. You can start to connect to people that belong to the same groups. People you want to invite to connect: someone you engaged in a meaningful discussion with, someone that appears to be an expert in an area that you would like to learn more about, someone you share something in common with.
Contact me with any questions you have on social media so I can help you bridge the gap between traditional networking and the brave new world of web 2.0. eglau@basicsocialmediatraining.com or www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethglau If you have a specific question about Facebook, Twitter or social media for events, I would love to include it in an upcoming article.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Building a Firm Foundation for Your Social Media Strategy

Have you come to the conclusion that social media is not going away? For those of you who are just getting started, here are some tips to encourage your progress. You will be pleasantly surprised by the personal interactions you can have online with your existing friends, family and professional connections.

Most people get bored with twitter because they follow a few friends that they know are on twitter and a few celebrities or big brands. Twitter is best used by finding new friends who are real people. Do a search in the Twitter search box for a subject that you are interested in or the industry that you work in. You may notice a word with “#” in front of it. This is called a hashtag. All of the people who are tweeting about that topic are including that particular hashtag so that you can do a search with the hashtag and only see tweets related to that topic. This is a good way to find, and follow, people who are tweeting about something you are interested in. You should monitor the list of people following you so that you can follow them back if their bio sounds interesting. Don’t be afraid to talk to people! Just send a message by including the “@” in front of the person’s name, i.e. @elizabethglau.

If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest country in the world. Companies are becoming better at engaging with their customers on their fan pages through contests, events, and give-aways so make sure you find and “like” your favorite brands on Facebook because you might get something for free!

LinkedIn is the preferred professional network. Anyone with a job or looking for a job needs to be on LinkedIn. Connect with everyone in your rolodex, then every time you go to a networking event, conference, etc., invite everyone whose card you received. LinkedIn is an excellent way to refer your professional contacts to each other. If someone asks me if I know a good financial advisor, I can do a search to see who I am connected to and forward their profile to the person who is looking. This way, they can view the advisor’s experience, skills, recommendations and even click over to their Web Site, blog, or twitter account to research them before hiring them.

Have fun making new friends and connecting with old friends. You might find that it increases the amount of offline socializing and networking that you do by keeping up with what is happening in your online communities.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Social Media Creates Communities

How are you deepening or strengthening your personal network? I know, face to face networking is hard for many people. However, you should be investing your time in a diversified way, just like you invest your money in a diversified way. Online and offline networking, different types of groups, some paid, some free, some structured, some free-for-all, some in your industry, and some category protected. Why put all of your eggs in one basket? For you introverts out there, try out a few until you find a group that is welcoming. I am not suggesting you don't have to put any effort into meeting people. Find someone by themselves and introduce yourself. There are so many groups out there and so many people trying out different groups for the first time, you are bound to talk to lots of people in your situation.

My favorite group right now is LinkedOC. This is a pretty diverse group that brings in amazing speakers for minimal cost and there is no membership fee to belong to the group. There are several people that I have met at these events who are active on social media and I love seeing them in person. I met a few of them on social media first and then in person at these events. LinkedOC is definitely a community that exists online and offline.

The title of this post is: Social Media Creates Communities. How is that? Let me give you an example from my industry. In the hospitality / events industry, I have connected to and become better acquainted with many people who live in different parts of the world. I started on LinkedIn and most of the connections I made were with people I had met at face to face networking events. When I started using Twitter, I quickly learned how to use a hashtag to see tweets from other event professionals (#eventprofs). Most of them have blogs, Web Sites or LinkedIn profiles where they extend their personal brand. It has only been recently that I started proactively adding professional contacts to Facebook. I don't need to tell you that Facebook is where you can really get to know someone. Our industry has become more of a community because of these tools.

Back to the introverts. How would you like to belong to a community of people on your computer? As I mentioned, you should participate in networks online and offline, however social networking is a beautiful thing for introverts. Social media creates communities and conversation. Social media is just talking. Who are you talking to? Friends, peers, clients, experts in your industry? Keep the conversations going and find a couple of communities where you belong.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Using LinkedIn to Promote Yourself and Your Business

This is the title of a round table discussion I am leading for SDMPI on 11/19. The problem with social media sessions is that everyone is at different levels so it is hard to present information that is helpful for everyone. So, I am thinking about the basic steps to "using LinkedIn to promote yourself and your business."

1. Complete your profile. Your profile is your online resume which contains valuable information for either recruiters or potential clients. People do business with people they like! Make sure your expertise shines on their screens.

2. Build your network. The more people you are connected to, the larger your audience becomes. How I do it: every time I go to a networking event, I send connection invitations to everyone who gave me a business card. Note: many of you are afraid to connect to your competitors, but you never know when they might refer business to you that they can't acommodate.

3. Engage your network. Update your status with a current project or useful information, "like", comment, share updates from your connections. Join groups and interact with people in your industry that you have never met in person. Don't advertise your business, simply answer questions when you have insight. You can also do this on LinkedIn Answers.

Those are the three basic activities to promote yourself and your business on LinkedIn. See my previous post about the Service Provider Directory and future posts about other features and applications.
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Top 7 Social Media Services for Small Business [MASHABLE AWARDS]

Top 7 Social Media Services for Small Business [MASHABLE AWARDS]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LinkedIn Tip of the Week

Are you using the Service Providers Directory? You can access it from the "More" tab on your LinkedIn toolbar, then click on Companies. The Service Providers Directory is near the top right hand corner of the Companies page.

This section is a great resource if you are looking for someone like a lawyer, marketing guru, or consultant. This means that you want to be listed here if you are such a person. This happens through recommendations. If someone recommends you and lists you as a service provider, you will show up when your connections search for someone that does what you do!

Notice the tabs near the top of the page: you, 1st, 2nd, world. Use these to narrow down your search criteria. People you have recommended, people your 1st connections have recommended, etc. You can also make a recommendation and request a recommendation from this page. Remember, it is good form to make a recommendation for someone who will be able to return the favor.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Social Media Bypassing the Gatekeeper

Here's an article to support my last post.

Social Media Bypassing the Gatekeeper

The Most Important Question is: Why?

Before you jump into the how of Social Media, think about why it might help you.

If you are finding yourself in the market for a new job, or think you might be in a few years, then your why is creating a professional image online. Many recruiters are looking for you online. If you are not there, or have an incomplete profile, that reflects your online competence.

Everyone is in sales. Social media can act as a powerful prospecting tool. Are you missing out on leads because you are not engaging your social network? You should continue, and possibly increase, your face-to-face networking. Following up and engaging people online after a face-to-face encounter is a great way to build those relationships.

You may have a large and impressive stack of business cards and personal connections. Social media applications make it quick and easy to connect your friends with each other. In this new era of collaboration and transparency, it is accepted and encouraged to show all of your cards. This is a foreign concept for many people, but it will be the way business is done in the future.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Between Gen X and Y

You will be able to determine my age when I tell you that I am Gen X, barely. I graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 2001 and have been working and networking since then. Most of the men and women in my network are Gen X and Baby Boomers. I know what your world at work looks like and I imagine it is a bit scary to think about change. Well here's something to ponder: future generations will be changing jobs much more frequently than before. Are you equipped to stay in touch with the men and women in your network when they move onto a new professional position?
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