Business Skills Development & Web 2.0Group: Better Networker Results
When I started my business earlier this year it was with a single mission in mind: to help people earn money online without falling prey to scams. My home page says it all. Our disabled daughter tried to start an internet business and was scammed out of $6100. I quickly realized she was not alone. For every successful online business owner, there are thousands more seeking the “inside” secret that will get them to the same place. Let me share just some of what I’ve learned. Seven years ago, it was easier for you to set up an online business than it is today. Back then, although fewer than four out of 10 Americans were online you were in control. From SEO and well-crafted landing pages to paid ads, you simply described your products or services and waited for warm customers to visit your site and buy. Now three quarters of Americans are online. Most venture into cyberspace to connect with friends, find information and avoid come-ons. Something else is different today: web surfers have embraced social network sites. They congregate on public social sites like Facebook. They consume information from blogs. They share cool videos from sites like You Tube on social bookmarking sites like digg. Corporate America took notice of these trends and markets to consumers in all of these areas taking advantage of Web 2.0 technology. In fact, the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. all have established considerable presence within the cyber social network. As I read the statistics, I wondered how their success in this new age was possible. From my own experience, I hate venturing onto MySpace to check messages. Someone is always trying to sell me something. You’ve got to figure that if I am on MySpace and belong to various business-related groups there, I must have my own business. Why would you invite me to join yours? Could it be that the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. adhere to something called best practices? Years ago I worked as an event planner. This required frequent meetings with representatives from various businesses and organizations providing food, local entertainment, professional entertainment, the trade show and so on. Not once did I ask one of these other representatives to quit their job to join my company! I’ve concluded the bad practice of spamming products and opportunities, which is rampant on Twitter and other sites boils down to lack of business skills. You need to stand out from the crowd. You need something worthwhile to offer. In short, if you wish to succeed in business you need business skills. The guys who carved out a profitable niche for themselves online have a distinct advantage over newbies. They are already known for their accomplishments. Because people know these internet pioneers offer worthwhile products and services they don’t cringe when they read an announcement from them about a new product. Internet gurus earned their reputations. They are hugely successful. Most of us want to be just like them. But when an unknown announces a product or opportunity it comes across as an intrusion. Mike Dillard states in his video boot camp (which is how most of us arrived here) that to be successful you have to give away something of value. It is the surest road to creating an online presence so that in the future when you do offer something to sell; people will have heard of you and will be willing to buy from you—based on the usefulness of the things you gave away for free. What sort of things might you give away in the Web 2.0 environment?
- Recommendations and votes are part of today’s social milieu. Spend some time each day adding to your favorites list on digg and delicious. This helps the authors of worthwhile content and makes you credible. A blogger watching his analytics will eventually recognize what you are doing for him and this may lead to an affiliation.
- Listen on niche-related forums and sites like Yahoo! Answers. In your answer post a link to free content on your site or to an article you have written that gives a more complete solution to the person writing the question. This rewards you with inbound links to your site and increases your ezine readership.
- If you are in B2B as I am, it is important to let others know what you have accomplished. You are striving to increase recognition and credibility in a sea of faceless competitors.
But there is a fine line between promoting yourself and sinking into the mire of vain and empty boasting. Beware of making claims like “I help people build a downline.” How many times have you heard that line? Certainly that statement doesn’t sound boastful, but is it true? People will naturally dismiss an unknown making this kind of claim without social proof.
- Finally, use the compelling nature of Web 2.0. Create a video. Let people see the person behind the landing pages. Let them hear your voice on podcasts and webinars.
Mark Widawer recently released a free pdf entitled The Triumph of Stupidity. He promoted his ebook with a brilliant video. It addresses many of our innate human interests: faces, defiling images when we were children, and the script uses irony and suspense that blend well with the images and makes us want to read his book even if we are short on time. You can see his video at: http://www.thetriumphofthestupid.com/stupidvideo/ I am currently organizing my research on marketing a business using social media tools and best practices. I hope to have this material copyrighted and published soon.
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