The Biznik Way

A community’s got to have ground rules. Biznik’s no exception. We’ve got rules on spam, rules that lock out MLMs, rules for real names, and a rule that limits the amount of skin someone representing a legal business in adult industry can show. But after the ground rules, we’re in unison with the battle cry, “Rules shmules!”

So you won’t find any rules for engagement on Biznik. But you will find that there’s a Biznik wayof doing things. We’ve been at this awhile, and when you’ve got over 100,000 users, you get a sense for what works and what doesn’t.
Scroll down this page for some operating tips and Do’s & Don’ts, and don’t miss the Community Manager’s Plan for Participation. It’s up to you figure how much you want to put into it, but we’ll tell you this much, it’s directly related to how much you’ll be able to get out of it.

6 Operating Tips

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people other people interested in you.” -Dale Carnegie

1. Keep it rich.
We have a 95/5 principle that will help you give the most, and get the most out of this community. The deal is 95% of what you add can be considered useful or helpful, limiting your sales and self-promotion to 5% (which is really not very much.) If you do it right, you won’t even need the 5% because your 95% was so awesome that tons of people will think of you when they have business to send your way.

2. Remember your professional self.
95/5 aside, your interactions here are tied to your professional reputation. While each of us is passionate about what we do, focus your contributions on keeping the conversations moving forward. Blatant “look-at-me!” self promotion, rude comments, snide remarks about your competitors don’t strengthen your professional reputation, they actually make you look bad.
If the goal of your participation is to strengthen your reputation and establish your expertise, then each time you comment or show up, you’ve got a golden opportunity to impress your peers (and possible customers) and influence them to want to learn more about you. That’s how your contribution can turn into leads and referrals. Make them inspired by what you say, not embarrassed for you.

3. Don’t do something online you wouldn’t do in person.
Which includes…
Don’t spam. If your little voice the back of your head says that what you are about to send might be construed as spam by another member then don’t send it. If you’re thinking of sending an unsolicited self-promotional email to someone you’ve never met. Think again. You’ll look better — and so will we.
Don’t be a jerk. A jerk is a person who sends out meaningless messages to strangers, adds noise pollution to conversations, demands compliments, includes their URL inside every post, and tries to sell to people they haven’t met.
Don’t treat Biznik like a dating site. We’ve always said that people hooking up is a sign of a successful community. We were thrilled when we learned of the first wedding for a couple of Bizniks who met on our site. But let’s remember why we’re all here. Facebook’s got a place for your relationship status. You can troll for dates there.

4. Optimize your profile for SEO. (Do it now.)
If you hang out with us long enough, you’re going to hear about this a lot — Biznik has a incredible Search Engine Optimization which translates into an awesome SEO lift for you if you take advantage of it. So don’t leave this golden egg on the table by leaving your profile blank.Check out Maximizing Your SEO for more details.

5. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Networking’s not something you can get away with doing only once a quarter if hope to see any results. When you’re on top of it — meaning you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what people in your community are doing — business networking becomes something that’s done while sleep too! Lara, a master networker, says her mental rolodex clicks & clacks in her dreams. On occasion, she’s awoke with an epiphany about two people who need to meet.

6. Have fun.
At the risk of sounding trite, we throw this one in there. Running your business is enough work — your networking shouldn’t be a chore. If you have fun with it, you’re more likely to invest time into it. Don’t forget, these are your peeps. A group of people who get it.

Do’s & Don’ts

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get all they want in life.” -Zig Ziglar

Business social networks are great places to:
• Build relationships with peers
• Strengthen your reputation
• Invest in your social captital

These Do’s & Don’ts are great here and can be applied to any online community.

Do…

• use a real name. Business relationships are built on trust!
• use a real photo (or at least an image that represents your personality). Biznik is a community of people.
• attend two events a month: it’s where the real business-building connections happen.
• login regularly and show up on the site.
• keep your profile up to date. Check in to see which users have been visiting your profile.
• contribute to conversations — and stay up on the ones you’ve started.
• read an article and leave thoughtful comments. This establishes your reputation.
• be authentic.
• see who else has RSVP’d for events you’re attending.
• follow up with those you met at an event.
• give back you’ll get further by giving to your clients, customers and Biznik collaborators, than by only looking for ways to gain something.
• follow up with those you met at an event.
• fill out your profile completely. It’s your storefront and is a professional reflection of you.
• add a brief video to your profile: some people prefer watching to reading.
• invite a friend — it’s harder to walk into an event alone.
• follow those who are doing things you respect.
• join a Biznik Group. There’s others here who are just like you!
• spread the word — post things you see on Biznik to Twitter & Facebook.
• have fun! Networking may feel like a chore sometimes, so have fun with it.

Don’t…

• sell to the community. This is a place for peers. Aren’t we all bombarded with enough sales pitches, commercials and ads?
• leave your profile blank — it looks like you have something to hide.
• leave your photo blank — it’s like walking into a party with a bag over your head. (Biznik rewards members with photos by displaying them higher throughout the site.)
• try to be the center of the universe. Take an interest in others first.
• spam others with promotional messages. Ever.
• be a jerk (We’ve spelled it out above. It’s worth repeating.)

In a group…

• be a groupie and join all groups. It’s great to participate, but know what the group is about, and if it’s a good fit for you & your business.
• be a wallflower. Lurkers are creepy.
• message people you don’t know requesting them to join your group.
• spam your group — they love you and may not know how to tell you to stop filling their inbox.
• flood your group with too many updates or requests for attention in a short period of time.
• ignore hints. If someone doesn’t reply to your message it may be their way of telling you they’re not interested.

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Also see…

Biznik’s Story (and what went wrong.)

Tour of Biznik

Selection of screenshots of the site

The Biznik Manifesto

Business Networking That Doesn't Suck