Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Social Networking That Pays

Unless you live on a desert island or in a cave with Osama Bin Laden (and probably not even then) you have heard of Facebook and My Space; the two most popular social networking sites on the web. Such places allow you to create a website within a website and interact with others on a global scale.

I have to admit that it took awhile for me to check out these websites at first. Being in my 40’s, I have seen many new technologies and methods of communication appear in my time. It seems like I resisted every one. Cassette tapes from 8-tracks - I resisted the change. CD’s from cassettes - I resisted it. Microwave ovens - I resisted using those. Cell phones - didn’t see the need for them. And yes, I even resisted the Internet; going online much later than my friends and family. Since then, I’ve resisted learning presentation methods such as PowerPoint and, of all things, I’ve resisted online business and online business marketing.
That is, until now.

Of course, anyone born in the 80’s and 90’s was probably raised on computers, electronic games, cell phones and the Internet. It’s for this reason that I tended to avoid social networking sites in the past. I just assumed that they were for kids. How wrong I was.

Today, there are networking sites of all kinds, including blogs, forums, discussion boards and the like. For better or worse, they represent the future of human interaction. They are also a tremendous opportunity and new frontier for business people to network and promote goods and services. Most businesses have at least some online components; advertising at the very least. But I have become convinced that many business people are not taking full advantage of what the Internet has to offer. For example, I spend a lot of time these days using social networking sites designed primarily for those involved with MLM. In fact, the creation of profiles there is a business in itself (naturally).

No matter what your business is (whether it’s selling knowledge, products or services), social networking sites can be a superb way to let the buying public know what you have to offer. I guess I’m a slow learner because it took me a long time to go from chatting and blogging as a hobby to using these forums for business. Now when I’m on the Internet, interacting with others, I make certain that the activity furthers my business goals in some way, and I suggest that others do the same. As long as you’re sitting in front of the computer anyway, you might as well be doing something that pays, right?

Social networking, in the right forums, can be of immense value as you strive to develop, grow and promote your MLM business and build relationships over time. If you haven’t tried them, please do. In time, you will find that it was a very good idea and the perfect way to communicate with those of like mind who aren't your friends and family. However, it must be done properly. Of particular importance when promoting your MLM business, you must learn to remember the following when structuring your networking page profile:

* This is a people business. Don't get carried away with automation software. Build relationships and the sales will follow. Give personal attention when interacting with others via your networking sites. Be there for them... personally.

* 'Help' ~ the key word is 'help'. That's what your recruits want more than anything else and a well-tailored profile can have quite a bit of that built in. Newcomers don't know what to do and they need to trust that you will help them. Give away a freebie - something genuinely useful and/or inspirational. Linking to a free e-book is a good example.

* Your prospects (i.e. visitors to your profile site) buy you and not any company or product list. That's why the image that your profile projects is so vital. If they buy you, then they'll be open to the offer. They've got to believe that you will help and show them what to do. The subtle irony is that,at the end of the day, your MLM networking profile isn't about you. It's about the wants and desires of anyone who links to it. Be a servant.

* Many of your prospects have the equivalent of a 'fear of heights' when it comes to taking action and being in motion. In your profile, talk less about your company and its products and more about how you will help them do what you do - the way you do it.

* Avoid clutter in your profile layout. Don't over communicate. Keep it clear and simple. Tailor it to people who can work a program in their spare time. Most visitors to your profile site have full-time jobs and full-time responsibilities in their lives. Don't use your profile to barrage them with information. Keep your message crisp and targeted.

* Last but not least, be patient. You need to be as patient with this type of promotional effort as you are with any other. Let it take a little time and don't give up if you're not a millionaire by next week. The way I network online, I share freely everything that I do - both what works and what doesn't. Be open, be genuine and be willing to share your knowledge and experience with others and I promise that you will do just fine.