Monday, February 29, 2016

4 Tips for Taking the Awkwardness Out of Networking


There is nothing more awkward than networking. It is one of those tasks that's constantly pushed to the bottom of my to-do list. However, it remains one of those necessary evils -- along with keeping records for my taxes, organizing files and staying up-to-date on social media. After all, as the old adage goes, it's not what you know, but who you know.

So how can you make networking less taxing? While there is no cure all for networking awkwardness, here are four tips to make it a bit less painful:

1. Don'€™t talk about work.

I know this probably sounds counterproductive. The whole point of networking is to discuss work, right? While that's true to some extent, networking will be even more productive if you can build long lasting relationships. I find that when I am just shooting the breeze with people, the pressure is taken off on how we can mutually benefit each other. Not thinking about what the other person can provide me has helped form stronger connections. If you get to know someone, without asking anything of them, chances are they will be more likely to help you out when you ask for things later on.

2. Bring a friend.

It is a lot easier to be social when you have a support system. If you are fortunate enough to have started your company with someone else, you already have a built-in networking buddy. However, for us solo entrepreneurs, we have to bribe and beg our friends to join us. Just be careful that you are not only socializing with the people you brought with you -- the whole key to successful networking is meeting new connections.

3. Ask questions.

To me, awkward silence is one of the most dreadful aspects of networking. As a result, I have become an expert at coming up with questions at the drop of a dime. There is no greater buzz kill than running out of things to say. My solution is to have an arsenal of canned questions to break the ice. This will hopefully spark a conversation.

4. Have your elevator pitch ready.

There is nothing more uncomfortable than meeting someone new and then they go off on a tangent about something you don'€™t care about. You are stuck looking for the most polite escape route. When it comes to your business, [[something missing here?]] I know you probably love to talk about it (I am totally guilty too). However, as the founder, no one will ever care as much as you do. If work gets brought up, you should have your 30-second elevator pitch ready to go. If the person you are talking to wants additional information, they will ask for it. Bottom line: They don'€™t need to know every detail about your life and business right away.
No matter how active you are on social media, nothing beats getting to know someone in person. And typically we meet new people by networking. It can be uncomfortable, but as you go to more events and meet more people, it should become less awkward.

What other tips do you have for making networking less painful? Let us know in the comments section below.




Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
 Join Our Community

Friday, February 26, 2016

4 Tips on Building Stronger Business Relationships




As the old saying goes, "It's now what you know but who you know." For entrepreneurs, this couldn't be truer. Building relationships can play a pivotal role in the success of your startup, as it can lead to important introductions to investors, potential clients, future hires and advisors.

But it isn't easy. Relationships need trust and rapport, which requires consistent contact over time. For those looking to nurture and build valued connections, here are some tips: 

Be helpful. In a professional setting, people like to have relationships with those that can help their career or business. Be that person. It will help both your network and you get stronger.

Offer relevant and mutually beneficial introductions. Provide advice, expertise or feedback. Share information such as events, articles or research that may be helpful. Promote your contact's work by sharing it with others.

Per the law of reciprocity, when you are helpful to others, people will feel more inclined to be helpful to you. 

Keep people posted. Send updates about what you’re learning and accomplishing and ask your contacts to do the same. By doing so, you can determine who in your network is inspiring and excellent in respective fields, which can lead to connections down the road. 

Stay top of mind. You don’t want to go extended periods of time without being on someone’s radar. Ask people to join you for coffee or invite them to an event you’re attending or organizing.

Because people tend to be busy, make sure you always have a reason to meet. If you don’t, you can still stay in touch remotely. Ask a quick question over email. People will feel complimented that you’re viewing them as an expert and will be happy to provide advice.

You can also communicate with people on social networks or comment on their blogs. I keep a spreadsheet of my high priority contacts with a column that lists the date of our most recent communication. I also use email-reminder service Followup.cc to reconnect. 

Be visible. Make it easy for people to see you and know what you’re doing online.

Maintain a strong online presence on relevant social network sites like LinkedIn or Twitter. Also, publish a blog to publicly promote your expertise and provide updates on your learnings and achievements to your network.

What other tips do you have for staying connected? Let us know in the comments below.






Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
 Join Our Community

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why Reputation Management Is Critical to Your Personal Brand

Image credit: Jay | Flickr

The following is the tenth in the series "Personal Branding For A Better Life," in which marketing expert Jim Joseph applies big brand marketing lessons to help you build a successful personal brand.

Never before have we been able to create, build and market our personal brand like we can today -- thanks to the digital world. But just like the big brands, we have to manage our reputation online and off. It’s something I do every day.

The digital world has given me a voice for my craft. Every morning at 5:00 a.m. I write a blog post and share it on social media. People I would never otherwise come in contact with follow me all day long as a result. Without the digital world, I wouldn’t have the reach or impact that I’ve built.

But it comes with a risk. Not everyone is going to agree with my point of view. In the business world, that can be polarizing.

Personal branding isn’t just about getting noticed, published, and “known.” This isn’t about being Kim Kardashian at all. It’s about being yourself and managing how people perceive you.

You can use the digital world to express your brand and stay connected with others, with no intention of fame or fortune. I look at the behavior of my two kids. Neither one has any intention of fame. But they use social media as a vehicle to express what’s important to them and to connect with their network of friends.

The digital space gives us the opportunity to stay connected with one another, all the time. Among Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, I’m with my network of people all day long. I communicate with friends, family and colleagues from all aspects of my life -- literally from grade school right through to my current job, and every milestone in between.
When I see any of these folks IRL, it’s like we’ve never been apart. Reunion events are non-events now.

In many ways, these people are my brand just like your network is your brand as well. These are the people that have shaped our own individual experiences, built our careers, and made memories with us. These people are a big part of our personal brands and they have helped to build our own reputation.

The sum of all your social-media activity is truly a reflection of your collective brand, so manage it all with purpose. Your behavior on social media becomes your brand and builds your reputation. While the digital world is your platform, use it with care because there is a fine line between productive and destructive behavior.

When used wisely, social media can be a stage upon which you perform. If used incorrectly, it can damage your image and personal brand in a New York minute.

Be careful about what you post, be cautious about the photos you publish, and be purposeful about who you let into your circle. Every interaction is your brand, so be consistent with your personal brand positioning and with the followers you have gathered.

Just like with any big brand, consistency is key to managing your brand reputation, so choose wisely at each step along the way.

Even the people you follow can be a reflection of your brand, so be conscious with every like there as well. Remember that it’s all a permanent record; once someone else shares it then it’s been published into the world.

It’s your reputation and your brand, so manage it … just like the big brands do. What other networking secrets do you have? Let us know in the comments below.



Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
 Join Our Community

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Master Your 'Mingle-Ability': 5 Creative Ways to Network

Image credit: chabadtemple.com

An extensive network is vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Thanks to social media, the process of meeting potential clients and customers has evolved over the years. Often people believe networking is a law of large numbers -- if you put yourself in a lot of places you increase your chances of building your business and your reputation. But this time sucker isn't your only option. There are less traditional, yet more effective ways, to stand out from the crowd. Here are five creative twists on networking:

1. Create your network from scratch. Want to look like the person who knows everyone? Center your network around you. Start a new Meetup group. Organize a mastermind session. Host a dinner party. The opportunities are endless.

These techniques can be especially effective for entrepreneurs who may find traditional networking daunting. When you host your own networking event, it's a way to put yourself on the map with people. It's not about selling, but rather initiating and facilitating an event that adds value for everyone involved.

2. Volunteer. Go from being an outsider to being an insider by volunteering to help whenever possible. Many local charities are often small and rely heavily on community involvement. Ask to serve on the board of your favorite charity or association. It's a great opportunity to meet other professionals who are passionate about the same cause.

Make it a goal to approach networking with the intent to serve, not to sell.

3. Talk to strangers. It's natural to gravitate towards people we like, know and trust. But try to introduce yourself and sit with strangers at your next event.

If you find out someone is new to your city, ask how you can be of service. If the person needs a referral to a reputable mechanic or doctor, offer your advice. Become a resource to others, and you'll most likely be the first person they call when an opportunity presents itself.

4. Search out potential collaborations. The best networking is done between entrepreneurs in different but related fields. If your network is made up entirely of people just like you, you may be missing business opportunities. As an entrepreneur, you have countless chances to creatively collaborate with people from other industries.

Think about your customers. Is there a spinoff product or service you could provide by teaming up with another person who has a legion of contacts? Collaborations are a great way to showcase your expertise, meet new connections and turn a profit.

Love them or hate them, events are still the most common way to network. If you're going to a conference, check Twitter for others who mention they will be attending. Send them a quick message. Share your name, your company and your contact information. Invite them to meet up for coffee or bite to eat. You'll have made several connections before you even show up to the event.

Finally, don't forget to follow up. The more points of contact you have with someone, the more likely they'll remember you. There is nothing that leaves a more positive lasting impression than a handwritten thank-you note.




Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
 Join Our Community

Monday, February 22, 2016

5 Online Faux Pas That Will Doom Your Networking Potential

Image credit: Shutterstock


Back in the old days, when the primary form of networking was face to face, there were simple, universal standards that people used to judge you. Now, in the age of online networking, there is another set of rules, and not being aware of them can close you off from valuable opportunities.

For in-person networking, the rules are pretty much common sense. If you smell funky, dress sloppy, have bad breath or are unfriendly, you won't do very well at a networking event. Fortunately, there is a ton of information, from books to full courses, on how to be a good networker, so there really is no excuse for making mistakes that can turn you into a social pariah.

On the other hand, there aren't a lot of people talking about some online personal standards that are just as important, but perhaps not as obvious. It would be nice to think that people don't "judge a book by its cover," but that's just naive. Whether you're trying to connect with potential investors or looking for strategic partners, you have to know you're being judged at every turn.

And just as a slovenly personal appearance would cause someone to take you less seriously in person, there are reasons people will be less likely to make a meaningful business connection with you online. Here are five of them:

An amateur email address. I'm not trying to pick on anyone here, but if you still use an AOL email, you'd better work for them. Otherwise, it just isn't seen as professional. Frankly, it's the email equivalent of a polyester leisure suit.

Also, while Gmail is considered legit these days, just about any other free email service is not suitable for business. If you're using Hotmail or Yahoo! for business correspondence, it's time to make a switch. If you have a website (you do, don't you?), it's easy to set up an email address with that domain, and doing so will bring a much needed level of credibility to your business.

A ridiculous email signature. There are all kinds of powerful tools to create professional email signatures, and like anything powerful, they can be used for good or evil. It's a great idea to list your name, title and contact information in your email signature. Your company logo, if used properly, can be okay too. What is not a good idea is to use all bold, 16 point, blue type, a sales pitch, a giant logo and an emoticon reflecting your current mood (I've seen it!) in your signature. I'm not saying you have to be stuffy, but if you want to make a good impression, keep it professional.

A lame website. So, you've cleaned up your email, and it's coming from a real company domain. Good! You can bet anyone you're hoping to do business with is now going to click through to your website, and what they see is a reflection of you. The good news is that this piece really isn't as difficult as many think. With WordPress and thousands of quality templates available at low or no cost, there really is no reason anyone should have a crappy website. And many people will be reluctant to connect with someone who doesn't get that.

A less-than-complimentary online reputation. It has always been the case that a potential collaborator could ask around about you to get a feeling for your business style and reputation. Now people Google you, and they can get a lot more info. If you reach out to someone through LinkedIn, email or a contact form, you need to know that they're looking you up. And if what they find doesn't give them the right impression, you're not likely to make the connection you want.

Start by searching for your name and digging through the results. Then consider using something such as BrandYourself.com to help make sure your positive results are at the top and any negative results get buried. If you have some really bad stuff out there, it's worth hiring a reputation management firm to clean it up. It takes time, and it isn't cheap, but it can be worth it.

An unimpressive social media presence. During their online search for you, potential connections are bound to come across your social media pages as some of the top results in a name search -- if you have them. The more positive results you have pointing to your name, the better. So, first of all, be sure you do have a social media presence.

LinkedIn is the king of business-focused social media, but a complete (and active) profile on Facebook and LinkedIn is a minimum. (The nice thing about Facebook is that you can choose what people see and what is hidden. So if you don't want a business connection seeing those Christmas party pics from last year, you can easily hide them.) Using Twitter and Google Plus can help solidify your social media presence and show people that you understand the importance of social networking.


Any single one of these online persona faux pas (other than a bad reputation), might not be enough to turn someone off completely. But to maximize the impression you make when networking online, make sure they're all in check. If people still don't like you, well, that's a topic for another day.







Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join Our Community

Thursday, February 18, 2016

5 Rookie Networking Fails and How to Avoid Them

When you're trying to meet people in person, here are things you shouldn't do.


When you have the opportunity to network, do you handle it well, or is it a big, fat fail?

While online networking has dominated in many ways over the past 10-plus years, in-person networking -- conferences, conventions, workshops, trade shows, etc. -- is still a great way to meet and mingle with peers, potential partners and mentors. If you’re new to the networking scene and want to stay at the top of your game, avoid these five mistakes that will make others cringe.

Being overly aggressive. If you walk into an event with the mannerisms of a used car salesman, you will immediately turn off everyone around you. Yes, you want to end up known at the end of the day, but not for being arrogant and annoying.

To avoid this image, ask questions about what other people do rather than making statements about your own business. Take the time to listen to the answers instead of waiting for your turn to talk. With this approach, you will be perceived as interesting and worth talking to by others. And don’t worry, they’ll get around to asking about you soon enough.

Focusing only on the big cheeses. Of course, there are people that everyone in the room wants to talk to -- the speaker at an event, the investor with deep pockets, the extremely successful entrepreneur. But there are likely others worth talking with as well, so don’t follow the herd and rush to the big names in the room.

Instead, circulate and discover people who are interesting, have useful information and are fun. Eventually you will probably get a chance to talk with a big cheese or two, and you never know, that quiet guy in the corner may be a hidden gem.

Trying too hard to impress. Do you feel like small potatoes in the crowd? Many people overcompensate by presenting themselves as more important than they really are. It’s tempting to boost your resume and brag on potential future successes, but chances are people will find out the truth eventually, making you look like an untrustworthy and foolish person.

This may cost you the chance to gain mentors or other benefits. Bottom line: be yourself. You’ll gain more respect and make more real connections.

Staying quiet. It can be overwhelming to be surrounded by other entrepreneurs, some of whom are perhaps farther along than you are. Don’t let that fact keep you from stepping up and talking to people.

If you’ve never attended an event like this before, start slowly. Walk up to someone who’s also standing alone, and make an innocuous comment such as, “quite a crowd here tonight,” or “is this your first time here?” It doesn’t matter what you say. The goal is to start a conversation.

Within a few seconds you’ll know whether the person you approached is interested in talking or not. If not, say some casual wrapup remark and move on. Chances are that there are others in the room who don’t know how to network, and who would appreciate your approach.

A word of caution though: while I mentioned not only going after the big names in the room, it’s also a big mistake to only stick with the wallflowers. You need to muster the courage to get in on other conversations, or you won’t maximize the benefits of networking.

Not being prepared. So far, we haven’t discussed the actual purpose of networking, which is ultimately about helping your business grow. Eventually, someone will ask you what you do or what your business is about. This is your chance to shine. Practice your elevator pitch, have business cards at the ready and be prepared to answer any questions that might come up.

You can show your enthusiasm and go into more detail if the response from your conversation partner is positive. Be sure to reciprocate and ask about their business. The best kind of networking is a true exchange by two or more people who can benefit from sharing information, ideas and resources.

As you engage in more networking activities, your comfort will build and the appropriate behavior will become natural and easy. Then you can gain the best benefit of networking opportunities: the chance to talk to other people who are smart, interesting and excited about the companies they are creating.


Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join Our Community

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

3 Networking Mistakes You Need to Avoid

The next time you're meeting bigwigs at an event, don't blow your opportunity by committing one of these common errors.

IMAGE: Getty Images

Networking is one of the most powerful tools you can use to grow your company and reputation. But if you do it the wrong way, your would-be professional contacts won't remember you, and may even be offended.

"If you want to network successfully with high-level professionals, you have to inspire them to want to connect with you," Dorie Clark, an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, writes in the Harvard Business Review.

Clark says that networking is a quest to build relationships in a short amount of time. But bad networking will destroy that opportunity before you're able to starting building a connection. Below, read the three mistakes Clark suggests you work on avoiding before you next hand someone your business card.

1. Misjudging the pecking order.
Networking with professional peers is easy, Clark says. If you follow up promptly after your first encounter, connect with them on LinkedIn, and offer to buy them coffee, you're all set. But catching a titan of industry is harder, she writes. When you're trying to network with someone above you in status, you need to act appropriately. "We make mistakes when we fail to grasp the power dynamics of a situation," she writes in HBR. You need to show the other person why you're worth their time. "It would be nice if Richard Branson or Bill Gates wanted to hang out with me 'just because,' but that's unlikely. If I'm going to connect with someone far better known than I am, I need to give them a very good reason," Clark writes.

2. Asking for something right away.
The saying "Ask and you shall receive" doesn't work when you're trying to network with prominent people. It'll actually hurt your chances of building a relationship. "Asking for their time, in and of itself, is an imposition unless you can offer them some benefit up front," Clark writes. The key is to offer the person something first, instead of an afternoon time-suck. Clark cites the example of Debbie Horovitch, a Canadian social media consultant, who was able to build relationships with powerful businessmen like Guy Kawasaki and Mike Michalowicz by inviting them to participate in her Google+ Hangout interviews on how to become a business author. "Instead of asking them for 'an hour of their time' to get advice on writing a book, she exposed them to a broader audience and created content that's permanently available online," Clark writes.

3. Neglecting to state your value proposition.
You want to be upfront, concise, and straightforward with what you are offering the bigwigs. "Top professionals don't have time to weed through all the requests they get to figure out which are dross and which are gold," Clark writes. "You have to be very explicit, very quickly, about how you can help." Offering them a business date "the next time you're around" won't cut it, she says. Be familiar with the person's work and have a carefully thought-out proposition to help them achieve their goals. Pitch a self-created job description--especially one that addresses the person's pain points.




Source: http://www.inc.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
 Join Our Community

Friday, February 12, 2016

3 Ways to Work Smarter Not Harder on Social Media

In social media, quality will be more important than quantity in the year ahead. Here are three steps to ensuring you're on the right track.

IMAGE: Getty Images


As the tab for social media advertising is expected to hit almost $30 billion in 2016, it is increasingly important to engage with users that will provide the biggest bang for your buck.

With this in mind, SocialRank founder Alex Taub has a few suggestions. In a recent interview with NPR, Taub speaks about managing and ranking followers on social networks. His New York City-based startup allows companies to measure the value of Twitter and Instagram followers based on more than just a number.

Here are three ways he'd suggest recognizing your most bankable followers:

1. Seek active followers.
Followers that frequently reply, like, or share content are more valuable, since they're more engaged--and if they speak positively about the company or brand, even better.

2. Target your engagement. 
Tweet or post customization also increases follower value. SocialRank pulls data from follower profiles including activities, interests, and location that companies can use for more direct marketing or even comparing to competitors' accounts. Through sorting and filtering features, "we basically let you datamine your own audience," Taub explains. Even if you don't use a tool like SocialRank, however, you can customize your own interactions. Facebook, for instance, will allow you to send targeted messages to people within certain geographies. There's also a matter of timing. If your core audience craves your product at certain times of the day--during lunch, for instance--it makes no sense to issue posts at 7a.m. The key is to be smarter about your postings.

3. Identify the best followers. 
SocialRank's Taub also recommends identifying high profile accounts, not just celebrities and other influencers. The number of followers a follower has is important, but you'll need to look for those who engage frequently with your brand or company account. Within this category, however, keep in mind that there is still no standard method to determine the difference in value between followers from different social networks, co-founder of video curation site Tubefilter Drew Baldwin told NPR.


Regardless, it hardly ever hurts to work smarter, not harder.

Source: http://www.inc.com/


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SPEAKERS WANTED! Share your industry expertise.


Are you interested in sharing your skills and expertise with our business community? Westchester Networking for Professionals is seeking 2016 speakers to share information, educate and inspire our professionals on business related topics.  Interested participants may click the link to contact us for consideration. http://tinyurl.com/2016-SPEAKERS



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.
Stay Connected with WNFP!

Why You Should Post More and Interact Less on Social Media

Despite its importance, conversation on social media tends to happen on a smaller scale and rarely leads to more visibility.

IMAGE: Getty Images

I'm going to introduce you to an idea that might seem radical. We're told all the time about the importance of engagement in social media. We hear endlessly that engagement is vital to keeping existing customers and building community. That's true of course. However, imagine a world where social media is viewed as a distribution channel first and a discussion mode a distant second.

This is increasingly the world we live in.

Social Media platforms encourage us to share and reshare information in the hopes of sparking interest. From Facebook and Twitter to Snapchat and Periscope, the range of applications that allow individuals and businesses to connect instantly is constantly growing and so, too, are the rules of the game. While frequent discussion may be the preferred social media strategy of some businesses, examination of social media trends and user behavior indicate that less talk may be more meaningful.

Less is More
Current social media trends show that utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to share content such as articles, photos, and "sneak peeks" establishes a brand story that can flesh out a company. Rather than just being an online wine retailer sharing promotions through social media or having discussions about vintages with customers, you can craft a persona for the company that shares positive news stories about wine, funny wine memes, wine quotes and images, unique winery articles, and more.

I've found customers prefer this distribution-focused model. Most people don't have the time to engage in conversation. They find that not only do they learn about sales and promotions, but that the content shared by their favorite wine retailer is also relevant to their own interests. They'll enjoy sharing content with their followers because it is also a reflection of their interests. They'll also begin to see the brand or business in a new light, one that is more a part of their lives.

Using social media outlets as a content distribution channel can boost follower numbers, retweets and shares, and likes by providing regularly posted content that is relevant to follower's interests. This increase in visibility can help your brand or business grow and can also give insight into your clients.

What You Share is Key
For example, if you sell running shoes, your followers are most likely people who enjoy running or other athletic activities. Relevant posts for your social media accounts would include: running quotes, information about picking the right running shoe, special shoe sales or promotions, new product highlights, fitness news, and running memes that make light of the sport in a fun way. While it's important to interact with people who reach out to the company, especially those who have customer service needs, engagement isn't the backbone of your strategy here.

It is important to not only share information about your brand and your products, but to also have fun with the platform, sharing information that is useful and that gets followers to share your tweets and posts. Monitoring what content catches on with your followers will help you fine-tune your social media plan and help you continue posting content that will enhance your follower experience and increase your visibility through shares and retweets. 

Don't Neglect Engagement
In contrast to content distribution, discussion tends to happen on a smaller scale and rarely leads to more visibility. While it can help resolve problems and make your followers feel valued, it probably won't be shared at the same rate as good content. That said, it is still important to talk with your followers on occasion. When engaging with followers, consider your motivations and post wisely. If something has angered you, don't reply in haste. Take your time and craft your responses to ensure you're representing your brand or business in the best light.

Any discussion you initiate with a particular follower should be about your brand or business and reflect the values you espouse. Perhaps they mentioned your company and you want to thank them, or perhaps they're discussing a problem they've had with your business or brand. Either way, a beneficial discussion will aim to showcase the ideology of the company by how it's handled.

Get the most out of your social media by posting easily shareable information that is relevant to your brand and your customer. Utilize images that are unique to your vision and which will engage your followers. And while discussion should not be your first priority, don't forget to check your messages and respond when necessary. As you fine-tune your social media plan, remember that not all social media platforms are created equally. Some are more attuned to content distribution. Manage your content and learn what and where to share to maximize visibility for your brand and business.

Source: http://www.inc.com/

ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is an organization consisting of professionals and entrepreneurs which focuses on the success of our Members. We help our Members establish lasting relationships and generate new business opportunities towards the growth of their business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Your Success At Work Depends On Peer Relationships



Most entrepreneurs, and members of any small team, naively assume that the key to their success is hard work, dedication, and long hours in the business. In reality, their effectiveness is usually more related to how well they develop their work relationships with peers and business leaders. First they need to decipher correctly every relationship as a workship, friendship, or foe.


Workships, according to workplace expert Dr. Jan Yager, refers to those workplace relationships that haven’t yet developed into full-blown friendships, but are closer than mere acquaintances. In her classic book on this subject, “Who’s That Sitting at My Desk?” she explains the importance of mastering work relationships, and provides specific guidance on building the right ones.


It behooves all entrepreneurs and team members to recognize the positives and negatives of each type of relationship. More importantly, we all need to develop the right relationships, and actively avoid those types that are not right for the business, or not right for our career at a particular point in time. Here are the key ones I have experienced, as paraphrased from her book:


Acquaintanceship. Every business relationship, peer-to-peer, or inside to outside, starts as an introduction and formal recognition of roles. Too many relationships never advance beyond this stage, resulting in poor communication, no cooperation, low trust, and low shared productivity. Moving forward to a workship is critical to the business.

Workship – Mentor. This is a productive working relationship where one party, more knowledgeable and/or experienced, takes an active role in fostering the advance of the other. When both parties contribute, it’s a powerful and positive relationship that benefits both careers, as well as the business.

Workship – Advocate. Unlike the mentor, who is a coach and teacher, the advocate inspires you to be the best that you can be. The best advocates do this because they care about you as a person, not because of personal aspirations. Your business will benefit from the increased productivity, high morale, and skill growth.


Workship – Trailblazer. The trailblazer is not overly competitive, but always is a few steps ahead and enjoys setting an example that you are inspired by, or motivated to follow. As a result, you are incented to be a trailblazer for others, which leads to stronger relationships throughout the team, and a stronger startup.

Workship – Communicator. The communicator is always researching the latest info, and keeps you in the loop on what’s happening in the business and why. Unlike the office gossip, information is always shared in a positive way, thus helping you to do your best at work and in your career. What goes around almost always comes around.

Friendship. There are three conditions that accompany the transition from a workship to a more intimate friendship; a shared wish to move to the next level, expanding the work-based relationship to non-work experiences; and sharing on issues requiring trust and discretion. Contrary to popular opinion, friendships are not inherently bad for business.

Romantic. When the relationship is appropriate, condoned by the company, and welcomed by both parties, it can be positive from a personal and even a work perspective. On the other hand, it can cause enormous emotional and legal problems, not to mention pain, suffering, and business failure. Proceed to this level with caution.

Foe. A foe relationship between two startup team members is always toxic to the business, so quick action from the top is required to save the business. Some foe relationships can be turned around to a productive workship or friendship, but all require first a shared wish by both parties to change. Workships and friendships can’t be forced.

In summary, entrepreneurs need to be especially perceptive and sensitive to business and personal relationships, since they normally work with small, closely-knit teams, on innovative and highly unstructured environments. The quality of relationships with customers, investors, partners, and suppliers can easily be their sustainable competitive advantage, or their death knell.

In my experience, even the best technology and business model won’t succeed without successful relationships. That’s why investors say they invest in people, not ideas. Starting from the top, make sure your startup has the right people, and the right relationships with each other. If you don’t, you too may soon find someone else sitting at your desk.


Source: http/www.forbes.com/

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