Networking is creating a foundation of connections that can boost your business, motivate and support you with all of your efforts. If you're an entrepreneur or business owner, you never want to operate alone.
Having people surround you who can motivate and inspire you, as well as share knowledge that can catapult you to the forefront of your niche – is always a good idea.
You don't want all of your networking efforts to be in just one area (such as list building) – because that can narrow the positive benefits for yourself and the people with whom your connecting.
You want to networking with people who excel in a myriad of ways, so that you can learn from all of them and bring your business to a higher level. How you connect to these people should also vary.
You can connect with face-to-face encounters in your personal and professional life. You can make connections on social media sites, through email contact or on forums.
You can connect with a network both far and near by text or by phone calls, too. The sea of networking is a vast, endless supply of connections just waiting to be tapped into by anyone willing to put in a little effort.
Why You Need to Network
While being a solo entrepreneur sounds wonderful, it can also put a lot of pressure on you because you don't have a support system or team of individuals to help you succeed. (more…)
I recently did a video addressing some of the concerns that women have on LinkedIn for my 15 Day Challenge. Some women are reluctant to put their picture up because they're afraid of what kind of response it is going to get.
Or they refuse to put in their email and contact information with a call to action.
Or they'll adopt the strategy where only people they know can find them.
Or they may put up other security restrictions on their profile that make it more difficult to identify who they really are.
All of these things defeat the very purpose of LinkedIn! It's a professional business networking tool and yet I understand that women are afraid sometimes that they're going to be slightly harassed.
It is hard to keep track of how the social media landscape seems to be changing constantly. New media sites don’t pop up every day, but our perception of them is always shifting. The same is true of the general public. You might feel like you need to maintain a presence on every social media site from Facebook to Instagram, but guess what?
You don’t. Not by a long shot.
In fact, it could be detrimental to your business to do that. Your target audience might be very active on Pinterest and Facebook and never give Twitter a second glance.
The trick is knowing which platforms are most likely to bear fruit – and which are better left alone. Here are some things that can help.
Understand the Key Attributes of Each Platform
Each social media platform has unique qualities. Sometimes the benefits of one platform overlap with another and sometimes, they don’t. Here’s a rundown of each platform’s marketing value as we see it.
Facebook is still the biggest social media platform. That means that you’re likely to find a significant percentage of your target audience there. In most cases, choosing just one social media site for marketing probably means choosing Facebook.
Facebook is ideal for brand-building, establishing yourself as an authority in your industry or niche, and strengthening customer loyalty. It’s easy to share an array of content, including written, visual, and video content.
Of course, arguable Facebook’s biggest strength in terms of marketing is its advertising options. You can easily segment your target audience, run ads, view detailed analytics, and adjust as needed.
Twitter is built for instant communications. It’s the perfect place to share updates with your followers, create an immediate give-and-take, and release company news without relying on the media.
Twitter’s use of hashtags also makes it easy to track your company’s mentions and trending topics. Many companies have integrated their customer service with their Twitter accounts to provide immediate support when it’s needed.
Pinterest focuses on visual content and is a great platform for driving users back to your blog or website. They also have an option that allows retailers to sell directly on Pinterest.
The ability to create micro-targeted boards and use hashtags can make it easy to ensure that people in your target audience see the content you create.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual platform where you can share photographs and videos of your products or services. It has a slightly more casual feel that the other sites we’ve mentioned so far and that can be useful for some brands because it can help them connect with customers.
Instagram is also a good place for user-generated content. For example. Starbucks uses Instagram every year for its White Cup Contest, where it asks users to decorate a plain white Starbucks cup with a unique design. The contest winner’s design is manufactured each year and available as a limited-run product in stores.
LinkedIn is the best social media platform for B2B marketers. It’s where you can share relevant blog posts, connect with other leaders in your industry, and make the kinds of connections that can help your business grow.
You can target LinkedIn users by their industry and job title, as well as by using traditional keywords. Sharing information about your business is a good way to build credibility and trust.
What does a European Union law about privacy have to do with your small business?
That might seem like a ridiculous question to ask, but it’s not.
The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short, went into effect on month ago today on May 25, 2018. And with privacy issues in the news on a near-daily basis, with the recent Congressional hearings about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, you can’t afford to ignore the ramifications of GDPR for your business.
You could keep your head buried in the sand – but that’s not a good idea. Here’s what you need to know about GDPR.
GDPR is a law that was designed to standardize data privacy in the European Union’s member countries. It represents a big chance – and a victory for EU citizens, who can now be confident that their data will be secure and that the regulations used to ensure its security are transparent.
On the flip side, EU-based businesses have had to scramble to be compliant with the new rules. The biggest requirement involves Personal Identification Information, or PII. PII is sometimes used as a general term in the United States to describe personal information that companies might collect and store on behalf of their customers.
While PII has traditionally included information like Social Security numbers and addresses, the GDPR expands the definition of PII to include other things. For example:
Web data, including the user’s location, IP address, cookies, and RFID tags
Medical and genetic data, including medical records, test results, and DNA
Biometric data, including fingerprints and other unique identifiers
Racial and ethnic data
Political opinions and orientation
In other words, companies in the EU must now protect their customers’ IP addresses and other information collected online with the same care that they would financial information. It further requires that organizations:
Store and process personal data only with an individual’s explicit consent
Hold data for only as long as it is necessary to do so
Destroy stored data upon request
There’s no denying that the implementation of GDPR represents a big change for EU companies.