Here's my top recommendation for LinkedIn, if you have a profile but feel sort of "meh" about LinkedIn. Use its search. You may know that you can ask one of your LinkedIn Connections to introduce you to one of their LinkedIn connections. It's a bit cumbersome to go about it that way. Here's a better idea.
Let's say you are interested in having Valero, the energy company, as a client. Put "Valero" in the search box. Leave "People" as the thing you're searching for.
What comes up are people who work for Valero, sorted in the order of how closely they're connected with you or your connections.
I tried this cold at the presentation - I'd actually love to talk to somebody at Valero for a nonprofit event I help organize. Turns out several of my first-degree connections have moved from a previous company to working at Valero. I can look for the folks whose job titles look the closest to the "Community Relations" group.
Here's another tip: I could use LinkedIn to ask for an introduction. But I'll get better results if I shoot the person a quick email or give them a call.
And that brings me to another tip: Really know the people you connect with. LinkedIn's power is its ability to amplify a REAL business network - not help you PRETEND you have one.
Speaking of keeping it real - LinkedIn is now prompting users to rate one another for different claimed skills. It's fun to see people I haven't worked with in awhile say that I'm good at WordPress or Web Strategy or Information Architecture – but many of them really have no idea whether I'm good at that, they just take me at my word that I am. Flattering in a way, but if you REALLY want to help someone, give them a real LinkedIn Recommendation. The written kind, with believable detail. They take time, and they are a wonderful gift, and a great way to thank somebody for a job well done, or a relationship you value.
There are tons of juicy presentations about LinkedIn on Slideshare. Here's one that has a good deal more detailed advice that I find sound. Connect with me on Slideshare and share your own!
Great session at Firecat Studio on Friday on Facebook Pages for Business. I've gathered some links about the topics we discussed. Feel free to add more!
I want to thank Jennifer Navarrete again for sharing her expertise. She'll be back on Friday, March 2, with a whole session on SoLoMo - Social Local Mobile.
I frequently give presentations on the significance of social media, and strategies for business adoption and use. Gary Vaynerchuk, author of "Crush It" and "The Thank You Economy" gives similar presentations, to larger audiences.
I met Gary at South by Southwest a few years ago; he's a serial entrepreneur, now a social media consultant to large brands; he mastered social media through running, among other things, a wine business. I find Gary's style a bit sleazy, but I appreciate his knowledge and delivery, and he's got social media dead-on right. In this presentation, he is more direct and clear than I've ever seen him.
Highlights (I'm liberally paraphrasing here):
I find myself evangelizing social media a good bit, and I was gratified to learn that Gary runs into the same misconceptions and arguments against social media that I do. I jammed on hearing Gary address many of the same objections and misconceptions.
I'm indebted to Jennifer Navarrete for making sure I didn't miss this.
Let me know what you think. Have you read his two books? Thanks to Jennifer Navarrete for pointing this out to me - I'm grateful!
If you need this kind of talk delivered to a business audience – minus the profanity – I'd love to hear from you.
My dear friend Jennifer Navarrete of Brewing Media is the founder of NaPodPoMo, the National Podcast Posting Month, which is in turn based on NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. The idea is, for the month of November, create ONE podcast every day, to get yourself into a routine, convince yourself it isn't that hard, and make enough progress to prove you can do it!
I've always intended to podcast, but kept stopping myself. Here are some of the ways:
Cinchcast took away my barriers - a simple iPhone app, from which I press "Record", talk to it, and then press Post, with the option of posting to Facebook, Twitter, or straight to my blog. It really WAS a cinch.
And Jennifer took away my barriers with the simple suggestion of "Just try it." Thanks for being a great role model and coach for fearless adoption and "fail fast" methodology.
Because I'm geeked about our upcoming Design Thinking workshop for Firecat First Friday, that's the subject of my first-ever Podcast - your invitation to come out, try coworking, and attend a free, high-value seminar that will get your creativity flowing.
And here's the link to register.
If you were one of the warm, welcoming folks at the Leon Valley Chamber of Commerce yesterday, or even if you weren't - here's a slideshare of my presentation. Thanks for inviting me.
Face-to-face networking groups like yours are invaluable. I know you think that's important, or I wouldn't have met you at a chamber of commerce event. If you're already doing social media - I hope it's working for you. If you're not yet - claim your free profiles in the "Big Three" - LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter - and at least create links back to your website.
For those of you who are interested in our Firecat First Friday Coworking & Brownbag sessions, we invite you to register for email notifications on the Firecat website. The next session is from noon - 1:30 pm on Friday, October 1, 2010, on Facebook - presented by Jennifer Navarrete (@epodcaster). Our address is 918 Nolan, #104, San Antonio, TX 78202.
Comments and discussion welcome, and I'll see you folks online!
USAA's Tom Vaughn and I presented information about business uses and strategies for social media to the San Antonio North Chamber of Commerce's CFO Forum last Thursday, June 17.
Ironically, the Oak Hills Country Club blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, so we were prevented from actually showing folks around. Most of the audience owned up to having Facebook accounts, and there were a few Twitterers in the crowd, including @fransteps, @goodwillsa, @harlanhouse and @bettervideo.
Follow Susan on Twitter at @firecatsue and Tom at @tomvaughn. To get advance notice on future appearances or other events for Firecat Studio, be sure to subscribe to email notifications on the Firecat Studio home page.
I read Lifehacker, a very useful blog for those of us who stare at screens all day, work remotely, or otherwise are dependent on computers to get things done.
Now New York Times reporter Marci Alboher has written a great interview with Lifehacker's Gina Trapani , Clearing Up a Blurry Work Life, that contains even more juicy productivity and life/work balance tidbits.
The Core Conversation Julie Gomoll and I are hosting this Saturday at South by Southwest Interactive:
Transparent Business: How Much is Too Much?
Doing coworking and social networking for biz? Let's discuss the line between authenticity and too much information (TMI).
Because Firecat hosts coworking sessions, I've become keenly aware that by inviting other business owners and freelancers into our space -- including other owners of interactive design firms -- I'm letting them see our deliverables, our clients, our talent pool.
I've always enjoyed sharing info, and believe that information wants to be free. I once presented an industry panel on "Design Deliverables - You Show Me Yours and I'll Show You Mine." Very few brave souls brought theirs to share, but the session itself was packed with folks eager to see other people's. I asked a few afterward why they didn't bring theirs. Some said they were prevented from sharing by company policy. One guy owned up that he didn't want to lose any competitive advantage he has.
Here's the thing about that: Anyone who is patterning off my deliverables is already behind me, right? Aren't they in my rear-view mirror?
So, I'm happy to share our ideas, philosophies and deliverables. Our talent is freelance, so offer them more money and more interesting projects; they'll be glad to hear from you. The financials will stay locked away; one of the lines we'll be discussing at Saturday's session is, you shouldn't be transparent with everything, and financial, legal, HR records represent agreements with others that shouldn't be violated.
Even though the prospect scares me a little, I believe I'll be a better businessperson, a better human being, by trying to be as transparent as it feels comfortable - and a little bit more.
Couple of articles about the coworking concept (in case you think I'm just lonely):
Business Week's "Where the Coffee Shop Meets the Cubicle."
A very interesting new Austin coworking concept being forwarded by some very dear friends with a little help from me and the Firecat team: LaunchPad Coworking and Cafe.