For the love of books! What is wonderful about social networking is virtually gathering with a group of interesting people and discussing interesting things. If you love book clubs, talking about the latest novel or self help book you have read, then the below sites are perfect for you. Explore, poke around, find a niche of people who celebrate books as much as you do. If any of these sites are no longer working, please let me know. I try to keep track of them, but life can get in the way. Anobii.com - a social networking site for book lovers BookCrossing.com - A community of users from over 130 countries who exchange books with each other at public places like cafes, parks etc. BookMooch.com - An interesting concept where users can exchange books with others through points. Users gain points when they give books to others. Book Talk - a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. From the web site "We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us! " GoodReads - GoodReads is a book reader’s community enabling members to review, share books they have been reading. Lit Lovers - for lovers of literature (of course) PaperBackSwap.com - Users can share books among each other and only pay for the delivery charges. Reading Group Choices - Reading Group Choices partners with publishers, independent bookstores, public libraries, [...]
It’s easy to talk about the mechanics of marketing yourself online. The “how to’s” in setting up profile pages, twitter accounts, fan pages and the like. What is more difficult is explaining the how you should go about marketing yourself. On one hand, the concept is simple, be yourself, share your knowledge and hang out. Let people come to you. Being aggressive in today’s market place will result in people recoiling away from you. On the other, it’s such a different mind set from old “push” marketing principles, that few people really get it. It amazes me how many so called marketers do nothing but post links to content, theirs or other peoples, without revealing a single thing about who they are or why they are there. What makes them think that this method would create a desire to do business with them? When I look on my Facebook home page and see the same face over and over again with a series of links – no insights, no sharing – I get a knot in my stomach. They just don’t get it. However, I do not disconnect from them. They serve as a reminder of what I do not want to become. I always encourage clients to be proud of who they are, what they do and why they do it. The reality is that their “who” is not going to resonate with every person they come across. What most have a hard time understanding is: THAT’S GREAT! I would rather have a handful of people that are truly interested in me and my work then a throng of thousands who simply tolerate me. That handful of people will be the ones who engage [...]
A Social Media Experiment. On all of the social media sites I can be found on I have a photo of me. It is my “avatar”, my face, my “brand”. I will tweak them once in a while, make a change, update it usually with little or no reaction - as they are essentially the same. Me, usually from the shoulders up, an outfit, typically red or blue (need to add my purple :) ) smiling nicely. They photos convey my professionalism, hopefully my confidence in what I do, a sense of approachability, and make me recognizable. All the things I wish to be perceived as. Then one day, I decided I’d like to change it up a little. I broke the golden rule – Never, ever mess with your brand. I took an old avatar and put it up on Facebook. The cartoon is representative of an old idea I had, something out of my ordinary marketing message and a little rough around the edges. She is a “persona” of me, in somewhat questionable attire – but one that conveys the concept of “Web Mistress” in a very tongue in cheek sort of way. I did this as I am considering an “off-shoot” brand and wanted to see what would happen. Then I sat back and watched. It was interesting for me to see who continued to interact with me and who did not. Trust me, I took note. I expected the comments from people who know me personally and “in real life” to be positive, I was not disappointed. Those who truly know me are more then aware of how off-center I can be. But I was intrigued by those who did not engage [...]
Image via CrunchBase Take a good look at your profile and at the profile of some of your friends. Does your profile give your visitors a real sense for who you are, how you run your business, you philosophy or is it nothing more then a resume? Quick peruse my LinkedIn Profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/newward. As you can see I blather on not just about what we do but we include the how and why. The WHY is the critical aspect. The why is what makes you different from your competition. The why is what makes you stand out in a crowd. Let’s face it, you can throw a rock out your front door and hit a web developer, but I believe that NewWard operates differently then the rest. So our philosophy, our “why” is what I focus on. What’s your why and how do you convey it to your connections?
During yesterday’s seminar one theme that kept cropping up is “How is this going to benefit my business?” The key to online networking lies in being subtle. When you are there to offer your information for the benefit of the community, people start paying attention. The “in your face”, let’s make money, “I made $30,000 in a month” sales tactic does not work. Today’s consumer is too suspicious and extremely cautious about how their dollar is spent. Don’t get bogged down in the plethora of details on how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like – they are only tools. The mechanics will come with practice. The real question is: What is your intent? If you are here to build relationships, make real connections and share your expertise, then you will succeed. There is a lot of “noise” online – and most users of social networks filter out the noise to find the real pearls of wisdom. Those are the people you want to make authentic connections with. I know I sound like a broken record… but I can not stress the point enough. People want to do business with real people, people want to donate to not-for-profits they see making a difference. So, share your stories, offer up your knowledge and let your prospects come to you. Don’t you want to attract the people into your business that already see the value? It is so much easier to sell to a person who already perceives your product / service as a valuable asset then it is trying to convince someone they need you. It’s easier then it sounds and I know it’s also risky. You are putting yourself out there for better or [...]
Image via CrunchBase I have been a member of the Social Networking community for the better part of a decade, long before “social networking” became a meme. As such, it has been my privilege to watch the internet, some web sites and users mature and prosper. Lately there has been much ado about Digg and its recent massive banning of users. Digg is a web site that allows you to bookmark articles and allows users to vote on whether or not they are good or relevant. Social bookmarking sites allow users to make friends, share content and give you insight into each other’s preferences. In addition, and without a doubt the most used function, Social Bookmarking allows a web page, blog or news post, to see significant increase traffic. The internet is a competitive market place, there is no such thing as one web site having a corner on a particular niche (tell me if you find one). When a web site, any web site, is not treating its customers fairly, there are usually ample alternatives that the masses can utilize to that do the same thing. In the case of Digg’s faux pas, you can use Mixx, Stumble, Reddit, and Delicious or a variety of other web sites. Why is Digg’s ban significant? In terms of traffic Digg is considered to be the number one social bookmarking site on the web. My guess is, they are about to lose that distinction. For any web site to be successful and maintain that success, they have to have certain qualities that separate it from the crowd. They must be consistent, reliable and put the community first. According to recent reports, the moderators behind [...]
If you are like most people, the news of the last couple of days has set you on your butt thinking.... how the hell am I going to make money in my business if all these big things are happening.... Well - stop it! NOW is the time to tell your story, share your inspirations and show the world that magic that is you. NOW is the time to start the fire in the souls of the people you can serve best. NOW is the time to be bold, take action - share - go forward and know that you have what you need right now to get yourself out there. Playing small serves noone... now get out there... If you need a leg up - let me know :)
Many people are trying to figure out just why Twitter is useful. Twitter is a micro bloging system where each post is 140 characters that let's your friends (and the rest of the world) know what you are up to at a given moment in time. It's like text messaging on steroids. There are many applications that take advantage of Twitters API and aggragates information. Twist http://twist.flaptor.com/ helps you to sort through what is being posted on Twitter, which can be quite useful for your marketing. Let's say I am preparing to write a Real Estate Blog post and I want to know what other people are talking about. I go to Twist, enter in real estate and graph on the popularity of the term. http://twist.flaptor.com/?gram=real+estate+&table=0 - the graph shows me the highs and lows for the week (you can also select month or all data). I can then click the link and see what people are talking about in Real Estate http://twittersearch.flaptor.com/search/search.do?orderBy=timestamp%3Along%3Areversed&query=%22real%20estate%22&tz=-4 I now know that a blog post about real estate values and various commercial deals will be well received - as they are popular topics at the moment. Give it a try :)
The idea of Social Networking is to open yourself up to new connections. We go online to meet and greet new people, potential customers / clients and create new partnerships / JV opportunities, etc. Months ago Facebook came under heavy criticism when they opened up profiles and created news feeds so your friends can see what you’ve been doing on Facebook. Facebook responded by giving users greater control over what groups of people can see what information. This allows you to expose (or not) yourself to the extent with which you are comfortable. Log into Facebook. Click on Privacy As you can see – I have a list of people that can not see much, they are in the “Limited Profile” Group. You can create groups and sort your friends by relationship (or lack thereof) to ensure that only certain people see certain things. Through this screen you can set your profile, your updates, your personal info, etc. to be seen by particular groups you define. Suppose you only want friends to see your updates? Click the drop down next to Status Updates and change it to Friends. My personal information is set to only allow Friends to see my email and contact info and I block specific people from seeing my personal information even if they are in my friends list Make any changes you deem necessary and click ok. Then Click Save. Click on the Contact tab to control who sees what specific contact information in your profile. Use the drop downs to set the level of privacy you are comfortable with. If you want even greater control – click on Edit Custom Settings next to one of your contact fields, I [...]
I have been invited to groups, to share applications and have received more friend requests then I can count. To some I say yes, but to most I ignore… why? Because the people who sent me those invitations have not bothered to: Get to know me Ask if it is something I’d be interested in participating in See what my business is Here in lies the fatal flaw of social marketing. If you don’t do it well, you won’t succeed at all. The same principles that one uses in face to face marketing are applied to marketing online. To succeed in Social Marketing you must: Know WHO you serve best (your market) Know where the people in your market live, hang out, gather, chill, chit chat, etc. Get involved in the communities where your market exists. Get involved in those communities for the benefit of the community To apply these techniques to Facebook: Create a profile that is appealing to your market. Search for groups where the people in your market interact. Join those groups or create a group to attract those people Create a page about your business Invite people to look at or become a fan of your page Put up posts on the Walls of those people who have shown interest in your business Build relationships with those people Your goal is not to jump up and down in front of as many people as you can to get their attention. Your goal is to seek out the people who you will serve best and get to know them to ensure your service / product is a good fit for them. If the fit is right, trust me, they will come to you!