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10 Ways to use Social Networking to Improve your Business

Social networking for business

Good ideas for using social networking to improve your business:

  1. Blog – not only about your business, but about businesses you come across
  2. Tweet – about your blog and your business
  3. Facebook – create a FB page for your business
  4. Comment – find the blogs for businesses you respect, and leave comments
  5. Friend – find the Facebook pages for businesses that are similar to your business and “friend” them
  6. Follow – find the Twitter pages for businesses you respect, and “follow” them
  7. LinkedIn – post updates about your business
  8. Forum – join forums for like minded entrepreneurs and get active in the discussions
  9. Link – put links within your blog to your business to optimize your site’s rank
  10. Friends – the real social networking- tell them what you’re up to, in case they hear of something for your business

Twitter Social Networking

But is social networking really going to be useful to your business?  Citibank did this study that showed otherwise:

Social Networking for Business Survey by Citibank

I don’t know how useful it is yet, but I can tell you this: social networking is (a) a way to communicate with people you might not be able to otherwise; (b) free advertising; and (c) probably the future, so you may as well jump on the bandwagon now.

POLL: How Much are You Worth?

competetive salary

When accepting a new position at a company, or booking a freelance gig, we have to ask ourselves how much we believe our time, our effort, and our skills are worth. Do you take the miniscule amount of money they’re offering because you’re living on Ramen and beans, or do you hold out for more because you know you’re worth it?

Networking Events: Like a Tupperware Party, Only Not

Kentucky Fried Chicken - business relationships

Every so often, my entrepreneurial friend orchestrates a gathering of like-minded career folk at some up-and-coming bar (or at least it was at a bar when I went) to mingle, network, and make relationships.  And these are no ordinary relationships – we’re not looking to pick someone up here, people!  My hubby and I went to one of these gatherings and found it was the hot spot of name-badge-wearing, professionally-dressed-and-ready-to-shmooze-walkin’, chatty-but-not-too-much talkin’ peoples.  The WHOLE POINT of the event was to get people together to BUILD BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS.  And what a great idea it is.

SexAndTheCity and business networking

On an episode of Sex and the City, Charlotte organized a party that was only for singles.  The rule if you were invited was to bring with you a single friend who you can’t be interested in.  Then hopefully another guest might find them, or you, attractive. There was no passive suggestiveness of this party – the point was to meet someone.  So what if you go to a party that’s exactly the same, but for the purpose of business networking?  Excellent. You go there knowing the whole point is to walk up to a stranger, look at their name tag, and if it says something that applies to your business, you join the conversation.  If their name tag says something else, you simply walk on to the next person.

Ah, if only the rest of life was this up front.

Is That a Stack of Business Cards in your Pocket, or are You Just Happy to See Me??

And now it’s time for Part II of Networking Week

Gossiping or Networking

I had a meeting with a guy I know who’s been very successful in building two separate businesses, including a company that offers tourist videos of tempting resorts for the curious traveler.  His office was simply decorated; just files stacked on the desk, a computer, nice desk chairs, and a shnazzy leather satchel (oh yes, the briefcase for the next millennium), and two stacks of business cards tall enough that they loosely resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  If I knew him even less than I actually do, I would wonder how he got all these business cards.  But if there is anything at all that I know about this young entrepreneur, it’s that the dude knows how to network.

Stack of business cards - Leaning Tower of Pisa

I had a few other meetings while in New York a couple of weeks ago with equally successful people to my entrepreneurial friend, and when I asked them all the same question, “How do you recommend I promote my video production and photography companies?” they all said the same thing: “Relationships”.

Okay, now to start borderline-ADD straying from the point – my sister is doing a prestigious fellowship at a hospital in New York.  She, too, has been very successful.  However, and I hope she will agree when I say, that all of her success as a doctor is due to hard work, focus, diligence, endurance, etc etc etc., and not the amount of business cards she’s traded.  Never once (again, I hope she agrees) did someone say to her, “Well EntrepreMother’s sister, who do you KNOW in the biz who’s gonna give you a hot fellowship, hmmm?”  She worked hard for that fellowship, she applied, and she got it.

Or Are You Just Happy to See Me

But photography and video production?  Well, it may be hard networking, but at least I’m not responsible for people’s lives every time I go to a job…

… or am I?

5 Do’s & Don’ts of Surviving a Networking Event

International Special Events Society - ISES

Last night, I attended a networking event for our photography company and our video production company.  It was held by the International Special Events Society (ISES) and called “Meet the Masters”.  ISES describes its purpose as:

“to foster enlightened performance through education while promoting ethical conduct”

I define it as:

“an opportunity to shmooze and try to impress a bunch of people I can hopefully get to work with me in the near future”

After arriving at the Bel-Air Bay Club, I did a casual strut into the cocktail hour, wearing my classy, yet strong ensemble of black pants and a red button-down (eh hem, flowers and frills make me feel weak and vulnerable, so solid colors and straight lines only).  But as I flung my black jacket over my arm, I looked into the crowd of 100-something people all drinking, mingling, chatting, having fun with their little name tags, I realized, “I’m alone.  I know no one.  Oh sh*t”.

Going to these networking events can be gut-wrenching, anxiety-making, flashback-to-middle-school-when-everyone-was-friends-with-everyone-except-for-you kind of feeling.  So here are the do’s and the don’ts of surviving a networking event, without vomiting, and with possibly a few business cards in your pocket at the end of the evening:

 

DO: Dress professionally and with class.

DON’T: Dress like you’re there to get some… unless, of course, you just want to get some.

DO: Get a beverage from the bar immediately so you have something to do while standing around, talking to no one, like a big fat loser.

DON’T: Get shnockered and make an ass out of yourself by dancing on the table with some strange guy’s tie in your teeth (and the guy still attached).

DO: Go up to the first guest at the event you see who looks like they might be enjoyable to talk to about your lines of work.

DON’T: Go up to the cute waiter with the Pigs in a Blanket and ask him how he got into his line of work, while you see how many Pigs in a Blanket you can shove into your mouth without everyone else seeing you’ve eaten all the snacks.

DO: Listen carefully when people are telling you about their business.

DON’T: Listen to the voice in your head telling you there might be a huge booger hanging out of your nose.  If there is one there, they already know it, and if you wipe, then they’ll know for the rest of the evening that you had a booger on your hand.

DO: Carry business cards with you, even when you’re going to the restroom.  You never know who you’re going to meet.

DON’T: Carry a rubber chicken around, saying “I am the Egg Man!”   Just cuz.

 

Needless to say, since you’re reading this blog right now, I survived the evening.  I walked up to a few strangers, stuck out my hand, and said, “I don’t know anyone here.  What do you guys do for a living?”  And it, for the most part, worked.

… But maybe they just liked my rubber chicken.

 

Engagement Photos

Miami engagement photos taken by our company and JHunter Photography.

Miami engagement photo Deering Estate wedding photograph by Nathaniel Johnston

Miami engagement photo Deering Estate wedding photograph by Nathaniel Johnston

Miami engagement photo Deering Estate wedding photograph by Nathaniel Johnston

This is Some Sick Sh*t

I just saw a commercial for a doll who makes dirty diapers.  What’s next?  A toy dog that requires a walk at 5am and a pooper scooper?

In said commercial, a little girl says (in her terrible 9yr old acting voice) “Oh no, her diaper needs to be changed!” And then she goes off to change it.  Where, oh WHERE, is the pleasure in THIS?  I’ll tell you where… it’s in the sick subconscious part of little girls’ minds that tells them that having a baby of their own to take care of is the only fail-safe, guaranteed route to happiness.

Granted, I had a doll when I was a kid who had a hole where here unmentionables would have been, and whenever I put water in her mouth it fell out the bottom end, and it – was – awesome!

I love my daughter.  Taking care of her is the best thing ever.  But changing her diaper?  It makes me feel neither closer to her, nor does it make me feel like more of a woman.  As my friend Jeff, who has two daughters, said when I asked him if he wanted more kids, “No more sh*t.  I’m sick of cleaning sh*t!” And I’m sure he loves his daughters as much as I do mine.

Back to the a-baby-will-complete-you theory…

I was innocently walking with the Monkey through a toy store on the Upper West Side two days ago, perusing the girlie toys on my way to the musical instrument section (yes, my 9 month old is a musical geeeenius) when I suddenly heard, “Hi Mommy”. My child is bright, I’ll have you know, but the girl is not up to quite that level of brilliance yet.  So I looked around… no other child in sight, nor a Mommy to go with it.  Until there, on the shelf behind me, I saw this:

Little Mommy Doll

This creepy little Scandinavian (no offense to the Scandinavians) child was saying hello to me… like I’m the one who bore it… like I’m the one who nurses it… like I’m the one paying for it to go to college!  No.  I won’t have it.  I won’t have some foreign-made piece of plastic wearing a tacky purple ensemble watching me go by with its invasive motion sensor and calling ME Mommy!

And you know, I bet she poops too.

To all those little girls out there, enjoy your fake baby while the fake poopy lasts, and remember that neither the fake baby, nor the fake poopy will complete you as a woman.

But changing a real diaper, with real poopy in it, will certainly strengthen your pain threshold, and for some of us, that’s all we need.


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