Good info Dan. I can tell that I've done most of the things on your list and I've found that Biznik has been very profitable for me over the last year. I believe that I've made about $2,000.00 from contacts that I've met through Biznik and I've spent less then $300.00 Art T.
10 steps to more profitable online business networking
Business networking sites are a great place to promote your business and build profitable relationships. Here are some simple steps to follow to grow your business using online networks.
Business networking sites are a great place to promote yourself and build profitable relationships. Here are some simple steps to follow to grow your business using online networks such as LinkedIn, Xing and Biznik.
1. Complete your profile.
Put some time into fleshing out your profile concisely - it's well worth the effort. Don't leave your profile incomplete, or without photos. Simply adding a photo to your profile will nearly double the number of people who view your profile.
2. Think like a search engine.
Networking is, for independent professionals at least, all about putting yourself out there and getting noticed. Not just by people, but also by search engines. When you complete your profile, try to imagine what search terms a potential client would use to find you. Include those terms as prominently as possible on your profile - on Biznik it's your job description field - because that's what gets weighted most heavily by search engines.
3. Show up.
You've heard the saying "Ninety percent of success in life is showing up." And it's true, both online and face to face. Participate in forum conversations. Ask questions, and offer answers. And if the network you belong to offers face-to-face events, pick one that looks interesting to you and show up.
4. Show up with friends.
Just like walking into a room full of strangers is easier with a friend, so too is it easier to enter an online community with a few friends. You can ask them to give you compliments, comment on your first posts, and accompany you to live events. Invite as many people as you can to join you online, and you'll have a running start toward getting more connected.
5. Participate in discussions.
Many business networks have a new member forum, where you can immediately introduce yourself to the community. Say something other than simply "hello" - a great way to start a conversation is to ask a question or reveal something interesting about yourself. Don't be afraid to be interesting!
6. Talk first, sell later.
Establish a common connection with someone before attempting to sell something to them. Don't send canned messages to anyone - it's frequently a violation of the terms of service on business networking websites, and it's a turn-off for anyone who receives your message.
7. Don't immedately ask strangers to join your network.
Many people regard this as rude and intrusive, sort of like asking someone to be your friend in real life immediately after meeting them. Take the time to establish a connection before inviting someone to join your network.
8. Ask for an introduction.
Once you've identified someone you'd like to meet, check to see if anyone in your network knows them. Virtually every online business network has a tool that allows you to see mutal connections, and provides an easy way to ask them to make an introduction. Use it!
9. Be helpful.
Rather than trying to figure out how you can benefit from your participation in the community, ask yourself how you can hook someone else up. Great networkers are always thinking about how they can connect people they know with other people they know. Why? Because sooner or later, the good will they generate will translate into more business for them.
10. Rinse and repeat.
OK. You've completed your profile, invited your friends, and attended an event... last month. What are you doing this month? Networking is inevitably a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately game. Stay on top of it! It's never been easier to do, using the powerful online business networking sites available to you today. So jump in, get started and stay active.
LinkedIn.com - professional network, corporate feel.
Xing.com - international flavor, multiple language support.
Biznik.com - independent business network, solopreneur feel.
Learn more about the author, Dan McComb.
Comment on this article
Posted by Arthur Torelli, Seattle, Washington |
Dec 14, 2007
Posted by Dan McComb, Seattle, Washington |
Dec 15, 2007
That's what I like to hear. I think it's easy in Biznik to forget that the primary reason most of us are here is to grow our businesses faster and become more profitable (that's what Biznik members told us in the member survey). Yes, we're here for the community. Yes, we're here for the support, for the educational events, for the great articles and tips, and for the social events. It's really important to remember though, that we will ultimately be judged a success or failure on the simplest of measures: Is my business making more money because I'm here? I'm glad your answer is a solid yes.
Posted by Kris Conway, Seattle, Washington |
Dec 22, 2007
Simple and to the point. Nice organization and thoughtful information. It seems so obvious but being consistant is really important. Thanks for the info.
Posted by Richard Whitaker, Federal Way, Washington |
Jan 10, 2008
I am in five internet marketing networks and Biznik is the finest and most cost effective of all of them. It is also the one I spend the most time on and the one I recommend first to my clients.
Posted by Jess Robinson, Bellingham, Washington |
Jan 15, 2008
Thank you for the tips, Dan. I appreciate your guidance; I'm new at online networking. I was involved for several years in a local (face-to-face) networking group. One of the greatest and most lasting benefits were the quality relationships that grew from the experience. Some of my best friends have come from that group. In fact, I met my wife there. I expect the rewards to be similar with Biznik (except the wife thing!).
Posted by Dan McComb, Seattle, Washington |
Jan 15, 2008
Welcome to Biznik, Jess. I share your view that business networking is really all about building relationships. In my mind, if you build quality relationships, the referrals will take care of themselves, which is why we created Biznik to be all about relationships more than about referrals. I think you'll like it here! If you'd like to start by hosting an event in Bellingham, let me know and I'll be happy to answer any questions and get you started.
Posted by Jasmine Holmes, Gilbert, Arizona |
Jan 21, 2008
I am new to online networking but have heard many success stories from others. I always thought social networking was for geeks and teenagers. Boy am I wrong! Your tips are great for a newcomer like me. I am still getting a handle on its usefulness and more importantly the etiquette.
Your comment about connections vs. referrals is right on the mark. Not every interaction has to be about selling something. From my observations, it seems that a lot of business sales grow out of a relationship rather than a sales call.
Posted by Brian Earley, Port Charlotte, Florida |
Jan 22, 2008
This is all brand new to me as well, I was glad to read your post Dan. I agree with your advice on being a good community member by looking to help before looking to be helped.
I already have a few people in mind to invite to what seems to me to be a great idea " online networking ". Thanks again for your advice.
Posted by Eva Schuster, South Lee, Massachusetts |
Apr 11, 2008
Hi Dan, I've heard your interview on NPR and I was very intrigued. I just became an entrepeneur because I lost my measily paying web development job. But because I love coding, I couldn't give up, and take just any old job. (I live in the country site, not easy to get a fulltime coding job.) I'm glad to have your suggestions. I'm new to social networking, and community building with the purpose of making money. I have plenty of experiences with groups, teams and networking for spiritual purposes, but neglected my financial life completely in the process. So here I am. In a new world with a new and simple purpose, making a profitable business.
Posted by Dan McComb, Seattle, Washington |
Apr 12, 2008
Eva, I didn't network at all for the first 6 or 7 years after hanging my shingle out as a web developer freelancer. In hindsight, I really wish I had a community like this one at that time! There's a creative tension between working alone and collaborating that is pretty rich, if you can find the sweet spot. I hope Biznik proves useful to you in finding it!
Posted by Vicki Elam, Klamath Falls, Oregon |
May 04, 2008
I've been involved in several online networking groups and well as a member of local ones. Biznik is one of the best and thanks to Entrepreneur magazine I found you. Awesome place!
Posted by Geno Iorio, Jamestown, North Carolina |
Jul 22, 2008
I was "invited to linkedin.com" awhile back but never thought much of "internet networking".
I just joined Biznik recently
I wish I got involved years ago.
Posted by Craig Jennings, Port Washington |
Mar 13, 2009
Thanks - very helpful - getting in action. Craig Jennings
Posted by jehnavi pat, Lake City, Florida |
Jul 06, 2010
Next, after you have got the basics down and under your belt, then we move on to finding your niche market. Finding a niche is very important and seeing if it will be profitable, just because you are interested in it doesn't mean that anyone else is.
The best way to do this is 'surf' the web. Pick a topic that you know about or are interested in and see if others share your interests. Check out the site that are the top ten and see if they relate to what your are wanting to promote and maybe able to become an affiliate with or if you can improve on their product or service, etc' Do your research.
Posted by Archana Sunil PAHM, Sammamish, Washington |
Feb 03, 2012
Thanks Dan for all the practical tips, espcially #6 and #7. I have read several examples where forming relationships was very critical before attempting to sell. I hope I get to experience it.
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