Networking and My Big BNI-ish Idea

October 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm (marketing, Networking, social networking, Transmyt Marketing)

The Prequel to My Big Idea:

I started a new career this past August as business development manager at Transmyt Marketing, and in this role, my primary strategy has been to complement traditional networking with social media networking.

And, I have been networking my butt off… participating in BNI (Business Networking International) groups, attending events with Chambers of Commerce, the Downtown Women’s Club, Mass Innovation Nights, Meetups, lunches with connections, and myriad other networking clubs. And to complement this I’m blogging, on LinkedIn all day, facebooking, and now tweeting (geez Louise).

This morning (at the butt crack of dawn) I sub’d at a BNI meeting, and I’ll say, I’m conflicted about BNI. I’m not moved by the 7am weekly meetings or the board room style. But I do like the non-compete environment and the business referral tracking system (they really quantify their effectiveness).

The Big Idea:

In this morning’s meeting, I had a déjà vu thought all over again, and I’d like to share it with you so that we might iron it out—and we might become super rich like Dr. Ivan Misner,
the Founder & Chairman of BNI.

Basically, I plan to make an effort to come to events with a “money in, money out” proposition. I know that this isn’t always possible, but this morning I decided that for me:

Money in: I need referrals to people who are looking for marketing services (strategy, creative services, web site development, email marketing, newsletters, social media optimization, blogging and content development, etc.).

Money out: I need help establishing a college savings plan (a 529 Plan?). I also currently need Auto/Renters insurance.

Is there currently a (cult) system or algorithm that can optimize this sort of referral concept? I’d like to leverage my network for these solutions and inquire about your “money in, money out” situation.

Please comment.

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Confessions from a LinkedIn Addict!

October 2, 2009 at 6:19 pm (Facebook, job search, LinkedIn, social networking, Transmyt Marketing)

I am a LinkedIn (and Facebook) junkie. I am also a relentless pusher—peer pressuring anyone I meet to use as much as I do.

I use LinkedIn like your marketing or sales team uses their CRM (Customer Relationship Manager). For me it is a Relationship Manager, and was instrumental as a job search tool, an information resource, a communication platform, and now as a business development platform.

In this posting, I’ll share how I used LinkedIn in my recent job search. A later posting will share how I use LinkedIn now, as business development manager for Transmyt.

Last December, I was somewhat-expectedly laid off, just like millions of others. I was sad, then mad, and subsequently glad—all in the same day. (The situation and timing was bad, but I always knew that the job was not a fit for me.) I drove straight home, optimistic and determined!

To start, I set up my LinkedIn profile effectively like an online version of my resume. I uploaded a profile photo that was somewhat professional, highlighted my experience, sought and received recommendations from past employers, and clearly summarized my objective. Next, I began connecting like a mad-woman. I sent connect invitations to school friends and instructors, internship mentors, past employers and colleagues, clients and vendors. I skimmed 2nd degree connections to see if there were contacts there that I missed. I imported my email contacts from Yahoo to see who was “In” and I regularly browsed the “people you may know” suggestions that LinkedIn provided. My profile is currently 100% complete and I have 213 connections and growing.

Next, I accessed all the usual suspects—job boards, big and small, local and national. Each interesting job posting ultimately drove me back to LinkedIn. Do I know anyone at this company who could put my resume in the right hands, or even better, offer a recommendation?

LinkedIn offers a way to establish a meaningful connection with the hiring manager. “Recruiters are starting to use LinkedIn as the main place for sourcing candidates because it’s free and the top professionals are on there,” offers Dan Schawbel on Mashable. Dan’s article offers 7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media. If you’ve ever posted a position yourself, you know that “employers are spammed with hundreds of resumes from unqualified applicants when they post on big boards,” offers Susan M. Heathfield on the Human Resources Guide.

Each time I communicated with a potential employer, I provided a link to my profile. The basic LinkedIn account lets you monitor (to a limited extent) who has viewed your profile in a given period of time, so you can tell if your outreach efforts have worked (which is exciting in a somewhat voyeuristic way).

“So, did it work,” you ask?

Here’s the story: I was networking this summer and met someone who was responsive to my situation—a “connector” as Malcolm Gladwell would put it. He wanted to introduce me to someone whom he thought may have a relevant opportunity—an opportunity that was not posted on any job board. I suggested that we connect on LinkedIn, which I promptly initiated the very next day. He then introduced me to Jeremy Mays via a phone call, followed by the “Forward this profile to a connection” function in LinkedIn.

And, here I am, Business Development Manager for Transmyt Marketing. In the coming days, I plan to modify and change the tone in my profile to better serve my business development efforts. I’ll also begin to draft a follow-up blog posting, which will share details on how I’ve been using LinkedIn for business development.

Please feel welcome to comment or question, and connect with me on LinkedIn.

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