I Don’t Want to Be John Chow!

July 12, 2009 Posted by mldina
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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?

  1. Your family
  2. Your friends
  3. Your favorite blogger
  4. 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!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: July 12th, 2009 under Guest Posts  

39 Responses to “I Don’t Want to Be John Chow!”

  1. I agree completely with your post. Twitter is becoming THE place to find and build new relationships with the industry professionals. I use Twitter everyday and it’s becoming a must for my business.

  2. Great post. I think the “balance” point of online/offline exposure is also dependent on how you make money online and what your business plan is.

    Some Bloggers are very much like reporters and that’s how they make their money so people expect them to be everywhere, meeting everyone etc.

    Another example is a Blog design company like Unique Blog Designs. It makes sense for them to get out there and be at Blog World Expo for example, because they could get clients that way.

    However, not everyone makes their money that way. For example, if you’re main source of income is PPC affiliate marketing, attending every conference in the world can be quite distracting from focusing on your main income stream. However, that’s when things like Skype and Twitter and even building relationships with other affiliate marketers via chat come into play.

    • MLDina says:

      I completely agree- well known bloggers and industry vets (John, UBD) have done a great job getting their names and faces out in the industry by building relationships (I met John AND the UBD guys at trade shows).
      Even PPC marketers can find benefits to flying slightly above the radar, too. They don’t have to go to as events as you said, LinkedIn is a great place to find new connections.

  3. First of all, great guest post by Dina! You definitely need to network yourself to be successful both in the off-line world and the online world. I am still not big on twitter, but for me Forums are one of the best ways I network myself. I’ve had alot of success by being seen as a power-user on a forum.

    -Kevin

  4. Oh I also forgot to mention that I do use facebook as well, I don’t do as much business on it.. but I do find myself networking on it really well, and making new contacts, which is what matters down the road for me.

    -Kevin

  5. Dean Saliba says:

    I agree with almost everything in the post.

    Twitter is without doubt the number one source. I tried not to but I have jumped on that bandwagon and have seen some very nice traffic coming my way for only an hours work a couple of times a week.

  6. Gerri says:

    Nice post Dina, reading through it makes me want to get out and network MORE! I have been working on doing more and more of that of late and to my surprise it has produced good results. And I never thought I would be the one to worry too much about twitter and so on.

    • MLDina says:

      Trust me, I’m right with you. I was reluctant about using Twitter at first, but now I’m a frequent Tweet-er…err…twitterer…err…

  7. Great post, Dina. Maybe I should consider signing up for LinkedIn… I’ve known about it for long enough.

    • MLDina says:

      Yes, you definitely should. Use the groups- there are a lot of affiliate and online marketing based ones that have been extremely beneficial.

  8. DirectAgents says:

    Great guest post, Dina! Networking and marketing online is obviously very important. However, I’m especially glad that you included a mention of the importance of trade shows and meet-ups. Direct Agents attends a lot of expositions, conferences, and meet-ups and they are hugely undervalued.

    • MLDina says:

      I agree! At one point I think I was going to at least two a DAY and trust me, there is definitely such thing as too much of a good thing, but I met so many amazing people and great business connections!

  9. Ahhh Dina… how I love your writing. And the “Who wants to be a millionaire” was classic… but to comment on that aspect on networking and the whole trust issue, what if whatever you’re selling to your friends/family/people whom trust you and they get ripped off?

    I can’t think of a good example off the top of my head but then wouldn’t you be screwing yourself?

    I know the logical answer would be: well, don’t rip them off. But say I introduce people to ML because I’ve had great experiences with you guys but they don’t have the same. Wouldn’t it be my fault, in a way?

    Eh… I’m blabbing now… forget everything I just said and I’ll go with “nice post!” lol

    Jay

  10. I don’t want to be John Chow either, the guy spams not with no good content. I like your style TC, love the site and good points on Social Networking.

  11. Thanks for the list. I use facebook AND Twitter. I will check out linkedin.

  12. Make Lots says:

    Twitter has been a wonderful place for me to connect with many of the people I work with today. Thanks for the list MLDina.

  13. Tyler Cruz says:

    Looks like you got a lot of fans with your first guest blog post here Dina. So, when will your first video guest blog post go up?

  14. John Chow’s website stops delivering quality content I realized. Only good thing he has is his e-book.

  15. Make Lots says:

    Forums are another great place to connect and make friends. Thanks again Dina for this great list of ideas.

  16. Make Lots says:

    Oh and Dina, I will be looking forward to that video guest blog post if you ever do it. ;)

  17. Luke says:

    I have been working hard to drive traffic to my sites through Twitter and it’s really working well. It’s easy to get followers to promote to:
    http://twitter.com/QuickInbox

    I agree that forums are also another great place :)

  18. Dustin says:

    Great post Dina… definitely some good advice here. I just recently today decided to get into the networking field. Don’t get me wrong, I was on Twitter, I was on YouTube and of course, already on LinkedIn and Facebook.

    Bad part… I weren’t utilizing them. But I plan to change that. Only thing is though that I have my Facebook built up for my friends from High School so it’ll be a bit of a mixed crown of professional contacts and them.

    Other then that, LinkedIn will be my primary reach for professional contacts.

    • MLDina says:

      A lot of people feel the social networks aren’t useful because they either aren’t utilizing them, or aren’t utilizing them properly. You’re only going to get out of it what you put into it, so if you don’t provide relevant content, you probably won’t get any.

      I actually have separate Facebook accounts- one I opened when Facebook first was launched and one I’ve developed for professional purposes. Might not be a bad idea if you want to organize your content that way.

  19. Inquiring Mind says:

    Dina — Are you single?

  20. Inquiring Mind says:

    I’ll take that as a “Yes” :)

  21. I personally think tradeshows and meetups are what can bring out the best socialization :D

    -Mike

  22. I’m one of those people who would rather be low key. I do admit that I envy those who know how to take full advantage of the strategies mentioned.

  23. kuldeep bhardwaj says:

    i truly agree with your article. twitter has emerged as a true god in social networking as well as 4 our daily lives.

  24. Ben Pei says:

    Lol whats with the title Dina?

  25. fx15 says:

    Great post. I think the “balance” point of online/offline exposure is also dependent on how you make money online and what your business plan is. ;)

PeerFly

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