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A Key To Great Social Media Relationships

one2one-sm.gifRemember the days when the internet was like listening to news radio? You’d search the dial for news and interesting topics.

Then came talk radio. Now people could call in and add their two cents to the topic discussed by the host. I often think of social media as being like talk radio.

For instance, now people can interact with the ‘hosts’ of blogs; engaging in interesting, lively and informative conversations. Or they can meet each other in Facebook or on StumbleUpon. Yet it goes further than that. Now, rather than just commenting on topics, social sharing and networking sites allow users to have control over what content gets seen – which stories get pushed to the top. It’s really an amazing time. [Read more…]

Which Blogger Would You Most Like to Meet?

I get this question a lot from people. I guess I’ve been fortunate enough to meet so many bloggers that it’s hard to say. Would I like to meet Darren Rowse or Brian Clark? Sure. I’d love to look them both in the eye and thank them for everything they’ve taught me about blogging.

one2one-sm.gifIt’d be great to meet Seth Godin – oh, wait, I did meet him last summer when he was on his book tour for The Dip. Great ideas, nice presenter, but didn’t find him too engaging personally. Maybe it was the setting.

I’ve also had this odd fascination with Robert Scoble, though truthfully, I’m not sure why. Maybe he just gets it in a way I’m still trying too. Or the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto. That book solidified how I look at business and it’d be great to bat it around with those guys a bit.

Gosh, really, there’s tons of bloggers I’d like to meet. After all, I’m blogging because I love the conversation. I love to learn. I love to share what I know. I just love meeting people. People from all walks-of-life. I want to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. So really, there’s tons of bloggers I’d like to meet…

Like you!

But since in our last one2one conversation Liz asked me who’s the person I’d like to meet, I’ll go ahead and choose someone.

muhammadsaleem.jpgBut you know, the blogger I’d like to meet most at this moment is someone I should have met last May at SOBCon07. He was there. I saw him around. We just never got a chance to meet. Who is it? Muhammad Saleem. Why? Because this guy knows social media and I’d love to pick his brain.

I’d call him a social media expert. Just take a look at what he writes on his own blog, [muhammad.saleem] or at Pronet Advertising. Or check out his numerous guest posts on sites like The Blog Herald, Copyblogger, Search Engine Land. And don’t forget to search for the huge number of interviews he’s given around social media. He’s even a top Digger and one of Propeller’s “professional social bookmarkers.

Really, just follow this guy’s trail and you’ll learn everything you’d ever want or need to know about social media, social networking, social sharing, social marketing, etc. Maybe I don’t need to sit down and pick his brain.

Nah, that wouldn’t be any fun now, would it? Not to mention, I’d miss learning who Muhammad, the person, is. And that just wouldn’t be any fun.

So is there a blogger would you most like to meet? Who? Why?

And for Liz, since this is a one2one conversation…

What’s one way you’d say social media has changed the way you do business?

Of course, when I’m asking Liz, I’m asking you too. So please, answer away. And Muhammad, if you happen to stop by, I pose the same question to you.

Social Networking: Is It Just About Ego?

socialnetworking2.jpgWhat are you gaining from social networking?

For some, social networking is a way of life. They use it to promote themselves and keep the channels of conversation and relationship open, posting many times a day on many different networks. Some are even building their own.

For others, though, social networking is just a time waster and offers no real benefit to their business or blogging. Some have even gone as far to say that having a large network is all about ego.

So what do I think?

I think social networking is a tool – just as a blog or a website is a tool. The tool on its own is neither good nor bad. It’s how the tool is used that decides its value in your business or personal life.

You know the old saying about a knife. A knife can be used to cut the bread to feed people. Yet that same knife can be used to kill people. But is the knife bad or good? No, it’s just a knife. It’s just a tool.

Personally, I don’t think social media is a waste of time. And I’m certainly not doing it to boost my ego. I’m interested in conversation and relationships. So outside of my blog is there a better place to spend my time building relationships?

Social networking is just a tool. How are you using this tool?

Feel free to add me to your social network and I’ll reciprocate:
Facebook • StumbleUpon • Netscape • MyBlogLog • LinkedIn • Pownce • Twitter • BUMPzee

The Part of My Business I Look Forward To Doing More Of…

Continuing our one2one conversation, Liz Strauss asked me (and you):

What's the the part of business, besides relationships, that you look forward to doing more of?

one2one-sm.gifOkay, so here’s how I read your question…”what other part of business, besides building relationships.” I hope this is what you meant, because my entire business is about relationships. From how I market to how I work with my clients, what I see in my business IS relationships.

But I can look through building more and stronger relationships at aspects of my business. So that’s what I’m going to run with.

I’ve been building websites for more than a decade at this point. So it’s mostly what I’m known for. It’s also the easiest way people can describe what I do to their friends, clients and colleagues. So more often than not, I get calls about website design.

What ends up happening, however, is that the people soon find out that I do so much more than most web designers. They learn that I understand business development, marketing, product development, copy editing, etc. And often, they hire me to consult and coach them while we’re working on their website.

So really, I’m really a born teacher. I know that sounds like a vast, presumptuous statement. Yet at every point in my life this fact has been mirrored back to me. In elementary school I used to show my classmates how to do math problems when they didn’t get it. As a baseball player I could spot mistakes in a teammate’s swing and help them feel the correction. Even when I had a private healing practice I would somehow find a way to explain complex spiritual concepts in a way that people just understood.

Even as a web designer, I’ve been very successful at making the technical easy to understand – even a neophyte. This gives clients the power to make their own, informed decisions about their business.

So like you, Liz, I am a teacher. I’m a teacher and I love to solve problems. And this has led me to doing more consulting/coaching/educating-type work. I love it. And it’s opened up a whole new part of my business.

Now people don’t have to need a new website to work with me. They can hire me to help them with any number of projects or aspects of their business: from service and product development to marketing, increasing traffic and building relationships to branding, utilizing a newsletter to just plain problem solving.

And best of all, they can hire me to help them learn how to use social media – blogging, social networking, etc, – more effectively, to grow their business or to increase the visibility of their blog. That I’m doing already with a handful of clients.

So that’s what I want to do more of…coach people to a more rewarding and successful business, consult with people to solve their business problems and educate people on how to do anything they need without being dependent on me. Does that make me a coaching strategist? Maybe.

So Liz (and you, reading this, too), speaking of strategy:

What do you feel is necessary to create an effective strategy to promote a business?

If you got this far, I’d love to hear your answers to either question. Join our one2one conversation in the comment box below.

And if you need some help with your business, let’s talk about it.

How Do You Use Social Media To Grow Your Business?

One thing I can say about myself is I don’t stand still much. It seems I’m always to understand more of what and why I think, feel and believe the way I do.

socialnetworking1.gifIn my personal life, I don’t often rest on good enough. Instead, I strive to be a better man, a better husband, a better parent, a better son, a better friend, and a better neighbor. And in my spirituality, I constantly find myself working through issues that limit me from the deepest understandings of my soul and its relationship to my Creator.

In business, it’s much the same way. While I know quite a bit about business websites development, marketing strategy and copywriting, I still strive to learn more – always pushing my envelope.

It was just about a year ago that I decide to find out what blogging is all about. So I found out how to use RSS, got a reader and started watching blogs – learning as much as I could from the bloggers I enjoyed.

Now, I didn’t ‘need’ to blog. My business was doing great and I had more still to share with my clients. Yet, I wanted to know what blogging was all about. And soon, I discovered that blogging was, perhaps, the most powerful (or at least accessible) method for building interest in your business then anything yet created. And…you could do it on the cheap.

So I pushed. And now, I have a pretty successful blog myself, my business is thriving, and doors are opening all around me for expansion. To top it off, I’ve also made some amazing friendships and partnerships with bloggers that four or five months ago I didn’t know. Incredible, really.

So when my dear friend Adam Kayce tagged me a little while back asking me about my learning edge, it gave me a chance to think a bit about where I’ve been and where I’m heading.

In the meantime, I checked out the other folks that have been tagged on this meme like, Edward Mills, Ben Yoskovitz, Jean Browman, Daily Triathlete, Eve, Evelyn Rodriguez, Sue Melone, and the dear Colleen Wainwright from Communicatrix. They each wrote some great posts on where they’re stretching.

For me, I’ve read a fair amount. Though less than I used to with two kids under 4 years old. I read lots of blogs daily and manage a number of great phone conversations each week; constantly exploring how to better build my business (and my client’s) through blogging and social media.

I’ve learned a ton about using social media in the past year since watching blogs – and even more in the past six months since I’ve been blogging. And so now it’s time to push the envelope even wider.

Now I want to bring together the parts of social mediasocial bookmarking (e.g. del.icio.us, ma.ganolia), social networking (e.g. Linkedin, MyBlogLog, Facebook), social recommendation (e.g. Digg, StumbleUpon, Netscape) and social content (YouTube, Flickr) – together into a program that will help service-based business owners grow their businesses sustainably and with authenticity.

I’m using social networks more and more – learning everything I can about how they work and how they can aid business growth. I’ve read 15 books on blogging. Most were pretty useless – though I got something out of Clear Blogging, Publish & Prosper, and What No One Ever Tells you About Blogging and Podcasting and Naked Conversations. And, as I’ve written about, I absolutely loved Lorelle’s Blogging Tips.

I’ve also read a few books on on social media and social marketing such as Andy Sernovitz’s Word of Mouth Marketing, Mark Hughes’ Buzz Marketing, and, of course, Seth Godin’s books and the Cluetrain Manifesto. And I’ve got Ben McConnell’s books, Citizen Marketers & Creating Customer Evangelists, along with Paul Gillin’s The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media coming from Amazon.

As for blogs I regularly read ProBlogger, Copyblogger, David Armano, Lee Odden, Chris Garrett, Andy Beard and the guys at Pronet Advertising – along with a search responses I find daily in my reader.

In thinking about using social media – social bookmarketing, social networking, etc – who do you read and how has it helped you utilize these services to grow your business?

And to David, Char, Gayla, Stuart, Dave, Dylan, Randa and Chris I’d like to know what you’re current learning edge is. Find out more about this meme at Adam’s site.

Understanding How Social Networking Works

You’ve heard the term social networking, right? But do you really understand what it’s about?

I’ve found that while many have heard the term, most don’t know what it really means. Yet, most of us are engaged in social networking dozens of times each day.

socialnetworking.jpgHow?

Well, if you tell a friend about a service or product you like – you’re social networking. If you share another blogger’s post with your blog readers…you’re social networking. Hand out a business card – you’re social networking. Returning phone calls, responding to email, contacting your blog commenters, building relationships with other bloggers, even writing on forums – all of this – and more – fall under social networking.

Basically, social networking is a way that people of some similar interests connect. The beauty is that this happens when people you may not know find you (and your business) because of some connection they have with someone you both know.

Social networking is happening all the time. The real question, then, isn’t whether you’re engaged in social networking. Rather the question is are you taking full advantage of the social networking you’re already doing?

One great way is to utilize social networking communities such as Linkedin, MyBlogLog and Facebook. Each can get you linked to friends and colleagues who link to people who link to people – creating your network.

Need a little more about the basics of social networking? Common Craft put together another great video describing social networking in plain English. Check it out below.

From the video transcript describing using social networking sites:

When you find someone, you click a button that says, “Add as Friend”. Once you do this, you and that person have a connection on the website that others can see. They are a member of your network, and you are a member of theirs.

What’s really cool, is that you can see who your friends know, and who your friends’ friends know. You’re no longer a stranger, so you can contact them more easily.

This solves a real world problem because your network has hidden opportunities. Social networking sites make these connections between people visible.

Like a map for a highway, they can show you the people network that can help you get to your next destination, whether it’s a job, a new partner, or a great place to live. Your network is suddenly more useful.

How do you use social networks? And what results have you gotten from using them?

Thanks to Chris Brogan and Beth Kanter for helping me discover this video.

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