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Ben Golub: Business Networking via Web 2.0
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  • 1. Business Networking in the Age of Social Networks
    What’s changed, what hasn’t, and what are best practices?….
    Ben Golub
    CEO,Plaxo
    OfficeArrow, LLC. 2009.
  • 2. Agenda:
    • Quick Intro to Plaxo
    • 3. Business Networking pre 1999
    • 4. Core Principles
    • 5. New Technologies—What’s Changed?
    • 6. Best Practices for:
    • 7. Building connections
    • 8. Building your personal brand
    • 9. Nurturing your network
  • 3
    What is Plaxo?
  • 10. Who is Plaxo
    • One of the original networks—Founded in 2002. Acquired by Comcast in 2008
    • 11. Started with a focus on the address book
    • 12. Social utility built on the belief that networking can be useful as well as fun, and that being professional does not mean being impersonal
    • 13. Believe strongly in integration into tools and services users already use
    • 14. Large and rapidly growing base—highest concentration of C-level execs
    Source: @Plan April 2009
  • 15. Networking has always been a big part of business
  • 16. …And a few principles have held true
    Understand the strength of weak ties
    Invest in your network
    Respect what is business, what is personal
    Know the nodes
    Appreciate that your “brand” and your network are intimately related
  • 17. …#1: Understand the strength of weak ties
    Granovetter (1973)
    >80% of jobs found through “weak ties”
    People with large number of weak ties at advantage compared to those with few
    Weak ties more numerous and far-reaching
    Weak ties provide people with access to information and resources beyond those available in their own social circle
    Weak ties only way to tie together disparate networks
    Important for societal cohesion
    Weak tie/strong tie paradox
    Does ease of forming weak ties today change anything?
  • 18. #2: Nurture your network (Peary Principle)
    Networks take nurturing
    Don’t just contact people when you need something from them
    Be respectful of others’ “social capital”
    Ties are more effective when:
    You know about the other person
    You know about their connections
    You have invested in the relationship
    You can offer reciprocal value
    Weak ≠ absent
    You can make weak ties stronger
  • 19. #3: Godfather principle. What is business? What is personal?
    “It’s business, not personal”
    Not all personal connections are good business connections
    Not all that is appropriate to share with personal connections is appropriate to share with business connections
    Strongest business connections tend to have a personal component
    Treating people like people is generally more successful than treating them like Rolodex entries
    “It’s all personal”
  • 20. #4: Know the nodes
    Some people are natural connectors
    “Distance” between people increases dramatically without superconnectors
    6% of users account for ~ half of all connections
    Institutions and groups are also big nodes
    If you can be a node, great
    If you can’t, find appropriate ways to connect
  • 21. #4: Know the nodes
  • 22. #4: Know the nodes
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25.
  • 26. #5: Your “brand” and your network are intimately linked
    Your network spreads your brand
    Your network influences your brand
    Your activity within your network influences your brand
    Your brand influences how well you can grow your network
    Your network is a reference check on your brand
  • 27. What does this mean in the age of social networking?
    You’ve got some powerful new tools
    Principles are largely the same
    Understand the strength of weak ties
    Invest in your network
    Know the nodes
    Your brand and your network are intimately related
    Know what is personal and what is business
    You’ve got some powerful new tools…and
  • 28. Getting Connected
    Easier than ever to see your network, find mutual connections, stay up to date
    Easier than ever to make good connections
    Easier than ever to make bad connections
    As making ties is easier, potential for weak ties to become less valuable
  • 29. Getting connected Tips
    Get connected: People get the most out when they are connected to 25 or more people that they know
    Start with your existing contacts, build a power address book
    Ask people to connect. You’ll have the most success if you choose connections thoughtfully, make sure that you have a complete profile, and personalize your invitations
    If you are trying to connect with someone you don’t know well, be sure to explain why you want to connect—or consider some form of direct message
    Ask for introductions very selectively
    Know the nodes. There are thousands of groups , based on common interests, companies, schools, professions, etc. Check out a few groups to see if they are right for you.
    Know the nodes. Company (and former company) groups, alumni associations, professional associations are a good place to start
    Use the right levels of connection—esp. with groups
    Different networks serve different communities and purposes. It is probably worth being a member of more than one
  • 30. Sub-networks grow Virally
    ATLANTA VISITS
    EXECUTIVE CHEFS
    IBM
  • 31. Personal Brand
    Easier than ever to see your network, be found
    Easier than ever to promote your personal brand and product
    Easier than ever to participate in your industry, your past networks, etc.
    Easier than ever to leverage your network and your brand
    Bad reps spread quickly too
  • 32. Personal Brand Tips
    Put your best face forward: Make sure that your profile is complete, accurate, and compelling
    A picture is worth 100 connections (…well, ~50% greater success rate)
    Can the right people reach you? Make sure your work info is complete and up-to-date
    Google yourself! What happens when people search for you on the web? Make sure you’re in control with a great public profile.
    Your network and brand are intertwined Do you have a blog? A portfolio of your prior work? Articles or patents? A great personal web site or profile? Do you twitter? Link to them from your profile
    If you do the above…make it interesting
    Integration between services is increasing. Avoid “re-friending” when possible
    Respect the relationship between business and personal. Use different levels or different networks to share more personal items
    Since your network and brand are intertwined, make and accept connections selectively
    Only make introductions or recommendations you believe in
  • 33. And in those awkward circumstances, you can always use these lines…
    “You’ll be lucky if you can get him to work for you”
    “I can’t recommend her too highly”
    “Literally nobody would be better for the job”
  • 34. Nurturing your Network Tips
    Nurture your network before you need it…
    …You always need it
    Contribute content, share articles, add to discussions.
    Traveling to a new city? Attending an interesting conference? Update your status, so that people know what you’re up to and where you’ll be.
    Business is personal. When you see content you like, “like it,” leave a comment, or re-share it with other people or groups
    Business is personal. If the network lets you know when your connections are having birthdays, changing jobs, or posting interesting content… Send them ecards, write them messages, or just pick up the phone.
    Business is personal. Before reaching out to someone for a reference, BD opportunity, etc.—take a moment to look at their profile, status, tweets, etc.
    See a job that you think might be perfect for a colleague? See an article that someone you know would like? Let them know.
    The physical world is still important…keep going to conferences, having coffee with former co-workers, etc.
  • 35. Conclusion
    The principles of successful networking are still relevant in the age of social networks
    Understand the strength of weak ties
    Invest in your network
    Respect what is business, what is personal
    Know the nodes
    Appreciate that your “brand” and your network are intimately related
    You now have some very powerful new tools
    For Connecting
    For Building Your Personal Brand
    For Nurturing Your Network
    Use them wisely
    Resist temptation for gratuitous product placement
  • 36. PLAXO
    Thank you!
    www.plaxo.com
    OfficeArrow, LLC. 2009.