Social Networking – Are You Ready For the Party?

I first became involved with Social Networks in 2000. At that time, I was involved with my previous company and we had a little thing called an “Internet Bulletin Board”.

Then – came “Yahoo Groups”……….wow, I thought I was in the technology ozone layer with Yahoo Groups

And the rest is history………here we are today – 9 years after I first logged onto a “Bulletin Board” to a Mecca and also the Mayhem of Social Networks.

My Article today will be sharing with you what I have learned about Social Network. By all means, I don’t consider myself an expert and I am sure there are many opposing views.

I am inspired to write this article because, at least once a day I receive a phone call from a Social Network member asking me “how” to Social Network. It’s actually quite simple, but it is not at ALL what you think. Before I teach you the pro’s and con’s – in’s and out’s, the Kudos and the Faux Pas – let’s understand what Social Network is and is not:

1. NOT strictly advertising your business
2. It is ONLY about making contacts (notice I didn’t say “making sales” for your business?)
3. You must be consistent on every Social Network you are a part of
4. Better to be a part of 4 networks you can focus on instead of 40 you never have time for
5. It is NOT about “just putting my link out there and hope someone grabs it!” (can you see me shaking my head?)

So, here we are……Social Network time!

But, wait………are you Ready?

You say, “what do you mean am I ready?”

Ahhhhhhhh, there lies the problem with most Social Networker want to-be’s. No plan of action!

Let me take you back to a time you had to plan to attend a Wedding, Cocktail Party, a Halloween Party, Birthday Party or any other social function.

You go to the Wedding and here you are – at the Reception – and you see HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of people – 99% you have NO CLUE who they are. Sound familiar?

What do you do? Strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to you, someone at the buffet line, at the drink line – you start……….CHIT CHAT……MINGLING

What’s that……….you mean you didn’t walk into the Reception and scream

“I HAVE THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY AND GREAT PRODUCT – come over here and I will show you!”

You didn’t do that?

Why not?

Simply, it was not APPROPRIATE!

So – think of SOCIAL Networking the same – It’s a Business PARTY, so to speak.

Let’s go back to the party………..how many people you idly chit chat do you DUMP on every aspect of your life and business?

None?

Why not?

You don’t know them……..and they don’t know you!

AH-HA! The bells are going off now, huh?

But you do say “hi”, right?

When was the last time you said, “hi” to a new member on a social network without mentioning your business?

and I mean JUST “HI” (no hidden agendas)

Are you getting this now……………………..???

Okay – now you are ready to be the LIFE OF THE PARTY!

STOP! (Hands away from the keyboard – step away from the keyboard – resist ALL feelings to BLAST emails and POSTS and BANNER ADS all over the place)

***NOW, it’s time for STEP 1 to Social Networking…………

When you are getting ready for a social function – what else to do you? Plan what to wear? Gifts? You might even find out who is coming so you know ahead of time if you know anyone. YOU PLAN before you even get to the PARTY!

(are the lightbulbs going off?)

Awhile back I decided I was going to join more social networks. I had oodles and oodles of topics I could write on and I was going to blog on them. Blogging creates credibility – answer with USEFUL content on a discussion creates credibility – private, personable emails – creates credibility.

I thought about my personal interests.

1. I am a work from home mom. I run a legitimate business, I am not a stay at home mom
2. I love thriftyness and saving money.
3. I love Twitter
4. I have an Autistic child
5. I love animals

and so on and so forth.

So, I went to Ning.com and started to do some research on what groups fit my interests, including business. I spent hours and hours pouring over the Ning.com groups. If you won’t take the time to find out what type of groups you are joining, you have wasted your time! Don’t even bother to join one more social network if you won’t take the time to find out what is going on at the “party”

I then found 10 groups I felt like was a match for me……………

I joined them and for heaven’s sake, people – PUT A PROFILE PICTURE OF YOU on your Profile Page. I don’t do business with your child, I will do it with YOU.

***STEP 2 – How was anyone on these groups going to know ME?

Okay – most groups have “Introduce Yourself”…how many of you have posted on those links and have never gone back to look who else has posted after or before you?

I rest my case

BLOGS – that’s right folks, BLOGS. I started thinking about Blogs.

***STEP 3 – The Blogs!

I wrote 8 Separate Blogs – that had NOTHING to do with my personal business.

GASP! (I can see the hands over everyone’s mouth! lol)

I wrote blogs that were inspirational (shared a story) – general subjects, etc. Not one advertised my business (although I did put my website at the bottom of the page).

I put the Blogs aside and didn’t post them,yet as I was STILL in the planning phases.

***STEP 4 – Profile Page

I created a Profile Page on each of the groups and each profile page in each group was identical = this created a consistent message about me. Same color, same words, same everything. I will say it again – PUT A PROFILE PICTURE OF YOU on your Profile Page. I don’t do business with your child or you company logo, I will do business with YOU.

***STEP 5– Work!

Each day for 8 days I was a Social Network MANIAC.

Everyday at the EXACT time I had a blog post on all the groups I was a member of. I set it up so the blogs would post on a specific time and date.

About an hour after they posted – I went to all the groups to ensure they are posted and see if there are any comments. I developed discussions in this way

I then went onto to add comments to conversations that are already happening! Notice, I didn’t say “I started conversations and discussions”

But the content must be sincere and genuine. I NEVER advertised my business in any comments………….it is not my place and COMPLETELY out of line to be advertising MY business on someone else’s discussion.

***STEP 6 – Ads (here comes the rotten tomatoes!)

Which leads me to the ever controversial topic of the Comment Wall and Blogs.

Personally, I find it insulting, rude and very unprofessional for anyone to post a BLATANT advertisement on a Comment Wall on someone’s Profile Page or Blog. My Profile Page is MY page of advertisement. Leave a note to say “hi” – start a conversation, but if you post a banner ad or massive links on My Comment Wall – you have lost any potential of me as a customer of yours.

Same with Blogs. To post Banner Ads, massive links etc on someone elses Blogs – that’s just rude and that’s taking advantage of someone else’s “space”.

If I was holding a meeting in my town promoting my business of ABC and you were involved with XYZ, would you walk into MY meeting and start advertising your business?

I would hope not! If you did/do – you would be asked to leave my meeting.

Which means – post an advertisement on my blog or wall, I will delete it.

***STEP 7 – Welcome messages

Are you posting welcome messages to new members? (don’t put ads!) Just say “hello!”, trust me it works……..and a great icebreaker for conversations.

***STEP 8 – Have Fun!

RELAX! You will not sell to everyone on this network. It’s OKAY!

Do you meet EVERY person at a Wedding Reception? Do you become INSTANT best friends with everyone you meet?

Of course you don’t!

RELAX – enjoy the conversations. Gain Friendships………

I know from personal experience how financially and personally rewarding Social Networks are. The person you meet today, might be your best customer a year from now. You just never know you meet!

Do you want your “first impression” to be a person who is SCREAMING with links and banner ads

“BUY ME – SIGN UP WITH ME!”

Or would you like to have people drawn to you and become great customers and great members of your team?

The choice is yours!

The Invitations have been sent out – did you receive one?

You are Invited…to Social Networking Come, enjoy and makes some great business contacts! Please do not attend if you think you must and will sell or sign up everyone at this Party! Enjoy your time – and make some friends. The Friends you make today – will be your newest customer or team member tomorrow!