Get linked in to your business

If a decade always has to be identified with some particular theme, what will identify the 2010’s?  To me, this upcoming decade is certain to be shaped and coloured by social business networking  –  the wonderful world of the blog, the tweet, the podcast, the various online channels with their 24/7 inter-group dialogue.

True, social networking has already been operating for some time. Or more strictly, its component parts have been in place, available to be utilized. But there is a time-lag before it swims properly into focus, and people can see just what is this thing called social marketing.

I believe social networking can best be described in terms of what it has replaced. It is an astonishing new version of the first handshake, the interview, the shortlist and the new-business pitch rolled into one. It has taken over from the reception desk, the telephone enquiry, the formal letter of application. It is also a remarkably efficient way to retrieve lost contacts, perhaps from years back  –  but a two-edged sword, as you can guess. To have your overture to join a group rejected is a painful but salutary experience. To have it accepted is a most satisfying endorsement of your credibility and standing.

It is not hard to see how social networking has revolutionised the entire process of new-business hunting and recruitment across all sizes of organization, though its benefits show up most vividly in the SME, especially at its launch and in the early growth-stages.

These new social media

The top social networking sites are currently dominated by the global online business club LinkedIn. Let me suggest that you start as I did, with Jan Vermeiren’s book ‘How to REALLY use LinkedIn’, which I have studied carefully, page by page. This could usefully be backed-up by a training course or perhaps even with one of the many tele-seminars being offered. At any rate, when you’ve created your profile, you are cordially invited to connect with me by typing in ‘carole spiers’ and I will return the compliment.

Another popular branch of social business networking is Twitter, where your own group automatically receives your mini-newsletter in the form of a single statement restricted to 140 characters  –  among other things, an intriguing new test of the copywriting skill. This of course links-thru to any item you may want to promote. You’ll find that the quality of your Twitter profile makes a big difference to results from the social networking community, and you may like to personalise your own profile.

Otherwise, there are all the other well-known business social networking  outlets, which you may not have directly identified as self-marketing media relevant to your own operation. There is YouTube, on which you can make quality broadcasts and promotions amongst many others.

Podcasts enable you to build credibility in your field. Mastermind groups represent particular ‘inner circles’ of expertise, equally suitable for those in corporate companies or freelance, while tele-seminars can brainstorm limitless ideas from all over the world.

One caution: you do need to study these social business networking media in-depth, rather like learning a new language properly, not just a few phrases to use in the street. But you’ll be glad you did  –  take it from me.

Happy networking in 2010!

 Key points about social business networking

1       The decade of the 2010’s will be shaped by social networking

2       These media are a unique mix of the comprehensive and the selective

3       The social media need to be studied in-depth like a language

[Reproduced with the kind permission of Gulf News]

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