This is a guest post by Dina Riccobono. Dina is the Social Media Manager at MarketLeverage and Host of MLTV.
I hear this all the time. Affiliates associate networking and social sites with wasted time, and we all know what wasted time equals…less money! That’s completely true. I don’t want to waste your time, after all – my success is MarketLeverage’s success and MarketLeverage’s success is – you guessed it, your success.
Here’s the problem: If you’re not networking, you’re not successful. You don’t have to live the rock star lifestyle to leverage business networks. There’s a balance to be maintained between hitting the refresh button to check your stats 24/7 and hitting the trade show circuit so often you forget what your house looks like.
If you choose to fly under the radar completely though, you’re missing out on some serious potential. Let’s take a look:
5 Best Places to Connect
#1 – Twitter
I know, I know – trust me – I don’t care what I ate for breakfast either, that’s why I don’t tweet about it.
Here’s what I do care about: real-life updates allowing me to build relationships with some industry professionals I’ve never met in person but admire/would like to work with; finding interesting stories that could take me hours to locate on Google or Bing on my own; sharing my experiences and thoughts with the outside world; and getting real-time feedback if I have a question a search engine can’t put into perspective (it happens).
Think of it as an ongoing personality profile of some of the most important people you want in your inner circle.
#2 – Facebook
I’m not in high school anymore and don’t want my _____ (insert family member or co-worker here) seeing my embarrassing photos.
First of all, you, of all people should know almost ANYTHING can be found online. So delete the pictures of the bachelor party now or I’ll use them in my next guest post.
Secondly, you know how we rely on search engines for almost everything these days? What they don’t tell you is what the person you’re searching for wants you to hear. It’s a third party account (for the most part) of an individual history. Facebook, however, is a direct-connect, personalized how-to guide to your life. Where am I? What do I like? Where do I work? Who are my friends? The answers are on Facebook.
Why do you care? Most partnerships don’t form over a common love of anti-socializing. Forming common interests and connecting on a personal level will strengthen your business ties.
#3 – LinkedIn
No one uses this site except corporate executives. And students. And employees, small businesses, individuals, your co-workers, colleagues, family members, HR recruiters, VCs….
The most professional online network on the web provides one of the biggest opportunities for finding a direct contact at a specific company. Interested in a job opportunity or forming a start up but missing a few essential pieces? Join a group or search for a connection.
As a general rule, it’s easier to get your foot in the door when you have a pre-existing relationship that doesn’t include a cold-call email.
#4 – Tradeshows and Meetups
It’s an online business; I don’t need to do anything in person. OK. Let’s play ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’
Question 1: Who do you trust most?
- Your family
- Your friends
- Your favorite blogger
- A telemarketer
If you answered 4: A telemarketer, then you’re correct! You can stop reading now. If you answered A-C: you are far more likely to trust the people you develop relationships with then some passerby. The same goes for the rest of the world.
It can be a pain to book travel, schedule dinners, go to panels, parties, networking events, socialize on a different time zone, walk the exhibit floor…but it’s completely worth it! If you’re any kind of marketer at all, and you have to be in this industry, at least one of the people you meet today will be the person you’re doing big business with a year from now.
#5 – Forums
This is the easiest way to test out the value of networking. Forums are interactive FAQ pages for new and veteran affiliates. They’re also a great way to allocate resources, barter services, and make some extra cash.
If your copy or coding skills aren’t up to par, or you don’t have the time to run your business yourself, you can find some great freelancers for decent prices on forums. You can also get feedback on your landing pages, creative, blog posts, twitter name, almost anything related to the business.
If you’re still hesitant about the networking side of the industry, ask other affiliates who have been in your shoes. The trade shows and social networks are extremely valuable and can ultimately add to your bottom line. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!