Posts Tagged 'Networking'

Tailor Your Social Media Strategy to Your Industry’s Rules of Engagement

In another great post, Ayelet Noff, AKA Blonde 2.0, gave some tips for effective usage of social networks. I agree with most of the points she raised, and I love her blog (and her as a person 🙂 ), but one thing caught my attention:

Finally, I want to discuss the topic of private vs. public identities, which I have written about in the past. Due to the whole premise behind Web 2.0, the borders between our personal and professional lives online are slowly disintegrating and to my belief, this is a good thing. When I upload pictures to my Flickr page, I upload professional pictures, but I also upload pictures of me, just hanging out with my friends, or traveling to interesting locations. When I update my status on Twitter, I may update regarding the latest post I just wrote on my blog but I may also twitter about an interesting article I just read or the latest movie I just saw.

I know that some people try to keep a certain professional façade online because they are afraid of what other professionals may think…I think these individuals are only putting themselves at a disadvantage… People like to connect with other people who are open and genuine. The more you allow people into your world, the more people will allow you into their own. By creating a rich profile you are only showing others that you are an active member of the community and that you have a multi-dimensional and unique personality of your own.

I believe that like everything in life, things are a bit more complex.

Different industries, different ethics

The view that open equals better is a one of the foundations of the Internet industry. It is so deeply rooted, that one can find its print in every aspect of its day to day life – informal dress code, open communication standards such as HTTP, flat standards organizations, and an implicit preference toward young entrepreneur. We all remember how Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO, was filmed jumping on a yellow ball, laughing hysterically.

The telecom industry is different, in many aspects. Dress code is more formal, standards organizations are hierarchical, and young age is not necessarily conceived as an advantage for entrepreneur.

I live in both worlds. I am a blogger, using social media in my day to day life and work, and at the same time working with telecom companies, directly or as part of my capacity as IMTC VP or Marketing.

SO?

These differences are not only semantic ones – they reach to the core of these industries. Therefore they differ in the way they evaluate bloggers and social networkers.

The Myth of Social Media Openness

Yes, social media users are usually more open than other. But the reason for that is that many of the leaders of this revolution are coming from the Internet industry. Therefore they see openness as added value. In my opinion, like in many areas of marketing and relationships, social media cannot be treated as one-size-fits-all. Every industry has it own rules of engagement, that should be respected. Ayelet notes:

I know that some people try to keep a certain professional façade online because they are afraid of what other professionals may think…I think these individuals are only putting themselves at a disadvantage…

And she is right, if I am covering the Internet industry. But I don’t believe that openness provides the same benefits when I cover industries that do not see it as core value. In some of my talks with Telecom companies about bloggers, I heard comments like: “when I read an article, I don’t want to know if the writer is married or not – it is completely irrelevant”, ” Why should I see a picture of the writer at the beach, with his kids without a shirt?” and so on and so forth. Some even noted that it reduces the reliability of the writers in their point of view. Though a bit extreme, we need to understand that when we approach such markets and create their social media strategy.

Bottom Line

Social media is here to stay, and every company, news organization or brand that disregard it lose the amazing benefits this field can provide. But just like in any other area, we need to learn the rules of engagement of the industry, and customize our strategy to it. Otherwise we are harming the company, and the field of social media as a whole.

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My 10 Facebook Tips and Tricks

Following Yosi’s request, here are my Facebook tips and tricks:

1. Be careful with whom you connect – so you can keep the network personal. When someone I don’t know asks to connect with me, I always email him/her and ask how do we know each other, and why should we connect. If I don’t get an answer, I ignore the request. This way I can feel comfortable with writing a status message such as “Kfir is having a bad day” without feeling, well, bad.

2. Create groups in areas that are not saturated, and you can add value to the community – when I signed up for Facebook, I felt that there is a need for a Vloggers group. So I’ve opened one, and reviewed it periodically. I’ve met a lot of interesting people through this group, BUT

3. Don’t nag people in the group too much – this is Facebook, not Ning. Learn from Chris Brogan’s Grasshoppers experience.

4. Choose the applications you use carefully – don’t Myspace your Facebook profile. I check all the applications I find, but I am very careful with the ones I keep on my profile.

5. Invite your friends only to useful or fun applications – and no, Zombie is not one of them

6. Constantly review the groups you are member of, and engage in the discussions there. Nothing new here – this is a social network, so, be social.

7. Try to be a member of up to 30 groups – so people can see what are your topics of interest.

8. Initiate discussion threads between your friends – but don’t spam them. This is a great way to create a conversation with your friends not only you are talking with people you like, you are also helping them to connect amongst themselves. Did we mention that this is a social network?

9. Make your profile interesting to read – I invested a lot of time in creating a profile that not only provides information but make people read it through. Applications like iRead, friends wheel, flixster, and wordpress plugin (if you have a blog) bring my profile to life.

10. The most important tip of all – use it as a part of your social media toolbox – mesh it up with your blog, create events that are relevant to your day to day live, share your posts and video material and so on. it is like a snowball effect – one effort feeds the other and increase the impact of your online and offline social activities.

How do YOU use Facebook? What are YOUR tips and tricks?

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Social Networks are Dates, Blogs are Long Term Relationship

Blonde 2.0 wrote an interesting post about blogs vs social networks. It derived from couple of posts by Kent and Jay re the difference between these mediums. Blonde 2.0 take on that:

“…when I write on my blog, I don’t feel like I am writing for an “audience”. I feel like I am writing for my readers. It’s a personal thing for me and I enjoy talking to and interacting my readers.”

She adds:

“I have made as many good friends from blogging … as I
have from being on the different social networks. I don’t think my
friends on the social networks know me better than those I met through
my blog”

I believe that social networks are as good as the way you use them. There are so many of them out there, and every one has its own angle. But I am just one guy, and don’t have a lot of time to spare on maintaining all those profiles (I need to work sometime…). So sometimes I am adding people to my network even if they are far from being friends.

In a sense, social networks are more like a series of dates – you don’t know a lot about the other person, but she looks interesting enough to talk with or buy her a drink. And just like dates, sometime it is a successful event and you keep in touch in other means, and sometimes it is a failure, but you still keep the number.

Blogs on the other hand provide insights to way of thought, opinions, depth, intellect and cultural world of the writer. It is like a long term relationship in the 19th century, when people wrote letters to each other for years before meeting.

In both cases I can’t say I “know” people or feel close to them only from reading their blogs or linking to them in social networks. I have these feelings towards people that I’ve met in real life, or had long discussions with them in other means such as Skype, phone or email.

Some of the problem lies in the jargon we are using (community, friends), that has stronger meaning in real life than in the online only world. If we can find new words to describe these relationships, maybe we will be able to better cope with this duality.

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Are they blogging or social networking?

 

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5 Characters We All Met in The Social Media Space

All of us are using social media products. Some of us are members of Linkedin. Some are members of Xing. Some of us like to listen and comment to podcasts, and one thing for sure – we all read blogs (hey, you are reading this post…).

Jeff wrote a nice post about social networking ethics. It made me think about the different characters we often meet in the 2.0 space:

The Babe – she is good looking and she knows it. Her flickr shows it clearly. She has a great head shot in her profile, and sometimes she even adds some innuendos to her writing. Surprisingly enough she has a lot of online friends. And I say – we want more!

The Plaxo Spammer – he switches companies every week, and have new contact details every other day. From some strange reason he thinks that we all need to know his current mailing address, phone number and birthday. He uses Plaxo to notify us all, and asks us for our own details. And I say – man, we don’t care about your new job. If you were a friend we’d have known about it anyway. Do us all a favor and keep a Gmail account, so if we want to find you, we know how.

The Obsessive Networker – he has accounts in Linkedin, Plaxo, Facebook, Ning, and in social network sites in Madagascar. No site is too small for him, no country is too little. If he has less than 5000 contacts in each site, he feels that he failed. He puts his connection amount after his name, as if it is a medal. And I say – social networks are all about connecting with PEOPLE and not PROFILES. Think about it before you send another connection request. And no, I am not talking about good people who actually help others to communicate and meet.

The Virtual Stripper – he writes everything in his blog and twitter. Everyone know what he did last night, including the dental floss he used before going to sleep. He also writes useful posts in his blog – but they are hard to find. And I say – we care. And we don’t. At least tag the personal things accordingly.

The I-Am-All-About-Business Guy – he never, never writes anything personal about himself in his blog. He thinks that his picture without a suit is personal enough, and never voices his opinion if it is controversial. He never talks about his wife, kids, favorite shows. He is here for business, and that’s it. And I say – I understand you, but this is a different kind of media. Tell us a little bit. Not much. It will be enough.

What other kind of people did you meet in the social media space?

UPDATE: Networking Tips By Chris Brogan – And Couple of My Own…

Chris wrote a great post about how to get the most out of conferences and networking events. There are a lot of tactics to maximize these events, but Chris added another angle to it – using blogs in order to continue the conversation after the event, as well as gain insights to main topics of interest of the people you meet. This is a crucial aspect in my opinion, which is often overlooked.

One thing I have to add to this post is the importance of similarities. Several studies showed that people like to talk with people similar to them. It is important when talking about dress code for example – when you come over or under dressed, you will find it sometimes harder to initiate a conversation .

This effect also kicks in when you find a biographical or professional similarity between you and the person you are talking with. If both of you are baseball fans of the same team, studied in the same university, or took similar career paths, mentioning it will help the other person to open up.

Last and not least, there is a relevant story to the way you approach a new person:

What’s the difference between sales and marketing?

Sales – you walk into a room full of people, go to the best looking lady and tell her you are great in bed.

Marketing – you walk into a room full of people, the best looking lady comes to you and say – I’ve heard you are great in bed.

So- it is always better to be approached – but if it doesn’t happen, go and talk with as much people as you can.

Update (11th of April): Jeff added another tool to the networking arsenal – Flickr. check out his post here.


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