Building your Brand through Social Networking

business_applications_of_social_media_the_coming_change_in_social_media_If your a bit old school like me, then perhaps you haven’t yet embraced the unlimited possibilities of marketing yourself, and your business, through online social networking.
Only a few months ago I succumbed to the hype and to my surprise, today I received business through Facebook. This week I want to share my journey with you and hopefully inspire you to get onboard this online phenomenon, now that I have measurable results testify with. This is just my account of what has worked for me and a few lessons I have learnt along the way.

With a thousand “friends” on Facebook, thousands of “followers” and “retweets” on Twitter, a network in the hundreds of thousands on LinkedIn and a loyal global following of this weekly blog, “Grant Herbert”, “The People Builder” and “People Builders” are steadily becoming well known names in business for the minimal investment of about an hour a week of my time. I had no idea what I started a few short months ago and still don’t really know what I am doing, but with a few simple boundaries Social Networking has become an integral component in my branding strategy.

Facebook

This has been great for getting my message out to the world of who I am and what is important to me. Being real, relevant and light hearted has allowed me into the hearts and homes of people all around the globe that I may never meet face to face. I don’t play any of the games or do any of the surveys, I just tell people what I am up to on a daily basis and keep in contact with a few like minded people. Only last week someone on Facebook was looking for a business coach in my area and one of my friends saw it and recommended me. They checked me out online, gave me a call and today we started a business relationship together. I don’t even need to go on Facebook to “update my status”. My Twitter site is linked to my Facebook site so with one Tweet I can update several sites. The key to using Facebook, in my opinion, is to use it to brand yourself and develop a profile without “selling” anything.

Twitter

Twitter is my control panel, so to speak, and the means by which I connect on a daily basis. I have an identity peoplebuilders for my business as well as Dads4Kids_FF for a charity I support and another for a business networking association I have founded in our local area. Each has a different purpose and are used strategically to direct potential inquiry to where it needs to go. How do I do this? I am glad you asked!

I find encouragement, praise, motivation and real life openness is the key to having people show an interest in you. The challenge is to keep them interested long enough to build a trust that says you are more about giving than receiving. Once that happens you will find your daily offerings are being forwarded and retweeted all over the place, exposing you to literally millions of potential future clients and centers of influence. I never try to sell anything and quickly “unfollow” anyone who is running an automated, repetitive campaign aimed at getting me into the latest online business or buy the latest gadget. Treating people with the respect you would want from them is the key to making Twitter work.

Writing a Blog

This has been an invaluable marketing tool for my business to date. It is a way I can get out a message, connect with others, develop strategic alliances and just have some fun. I am amazed at how many people read what I write and connect with me through my blog. Just this week I had a host of a business television show in the USA connect with me through my blog because he loved the content and delivery. I am not currently building a global business but it is certainly a part of my 5 year plan. Who knows what opportunities can come from these connections.

One of my greatest joys came a couple of months ago when a guy who I do not know somehow got connected to me on Facebook and Twitter and then started reading my blog. He wrote to me and thanked me for keeping him going through a rough patch in his life by the things I had been writing. He waited for my next update every day and found it encouraged him to keep going. How powerful is that! Did I plan that, not really, but by following the principle of giving, how many people can we touch in a positive way each day.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business networking site that allows you to promote a professional profile, post job advertisements, start niche focus groups and find potential business opportunities, strategically connecting with like businesses and target market segments. This is the one site I need to focus some more time on but even with the little I have done, I have made connections that has given me opportunities to write business.

Search Engine Optimisation

Using Social Networking has given me a huge boost in being found through Google searches on many topics. The more profiles you have, obviously the more chances you will be found. Cross marketing of your social networking sites and adding links to them on your website are simple keys that compound your success.

Whatever you decide to use, be real, be consistent and remember; once you put yourself out there, the whole world is potentially watching you. This can be a good or bad thing – how you use it will be the decider.

Have a great week. You deserve it!

Grant Herbert

The People Builder

Highly Valued People Produce the Best Results

Executive Business CoachingLook after the people and the results you want from them will look after themselves.
Whether you study all the available research or survey the owners and CEO’s of your regions most profitable businesses, the answer will be the same; the attraction and retention of key people is a growing issue which may become a crucial success factor for companies competing successfully in the future.

Why do high performers leave? They leave for many reasons but here are a few:

– they feel under challenged or under valued
– they see little opportunity for advancement
– they do not receive enough recognition
– they experience conflict and undue stress
– they are not satisfied with their role
– they seek greater remuneration or benefits
– they endure undue work pressure
– they get poached to greener pastures
– they feel their work life is out of balance

While companies continue to use “golden handcuffs” in an endeavour to address these issues, money alone cannot solve 90% of the list above. A better approach may be to address the issues money doesn’t cover and produce a result of higher staff retention which is a mutually profitable outcome. People produce results – results don’t produce people.

For most business owners and leaders, this sounds like an all too daunting task. “You mean you are asking me to get involved with issues with my staff that I don’t always feel on top of myself? Where will I get the time?”

Good point you make! Fortunately, just in many other areas of business, we can outsource what we can’t or don’t want to do ourselves. If you are sick you go to a doctor, if you need your vehicles maintained you go to a mechanic, if you need help getting your team ready for game day, why not call in a professional coach.

Executive and Business Balance Coaching improves staff effectiveness and the bottom line, and works well, appropriately applied, in a broad range of scenarios.

– New key staff employments
– Rewarding high achievers
– Professional Development as an alternative to a pay increase
– Improving Lifestyle Balance and morale
– Dismissal avoidance for under achievers
– Change Management and Team regeneration
– Conflict resolution initiatives
– Customer service / sales improvement
– Performance review consolidation

Yes, you need to invest more money in your people to get them coached.

Before you dismiss it as an added luxury you can’t afford, consider the ongoing cost of recruitment, staff change and low morale. Business Coaching, tailor made and strategically utilized, can bring you a more than 20 fold return on your investment in 18 months! In this era of flatter organisational structures and reporting lines, ever changing in a faster paced environment where you have to achieve more with less all the time, it is no wonder our human element takes second place most of the time. It is often hard to coach those key people who really need it, let alone the higher performers, where every unit of coaching produces the highest return. And return on investment, as well as making available the necessary time and capability, is why an increasing number of organisations use Executive or Business Coaches, whether appointed internally or sourced externally.

So where do I start?

Find a coach who is able to provide a Needs Analysis, discuss with them your desired outcomes and develop together a strategic plan, with the right people, to achieve your goals over a set time frame. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well it is if you consider that you can get this for FREE, and invest only an hour of your time to take a look at what is on offer.

Here are a few things I look for when choosing a coach:

– Do they have the necessary experience in business and people development?
– Do their values and beliefs match those of myself and my company?
– Do they offer an investment structure tailored to meet my actual needs?
– Do I like them and what they stand for?
– Do they offer workplace training and assessment solutions?
– Do they come to me or is it done on the phone?

You may come up with a list yourself but the key thing to remember is you are inviting this person to spend time with you and your people. Make sure up front that there is an clear win-win agreement in place, stating your desired outcomes, and give it a go. Compared to the alternative of spending valuable time and money year after year employing new staff, consolidating them with your team and customers, investing in the right coach can produce the results you have been searching for in your people.

Have a great week. You deserve it!

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

Connecting with People – The First 90 seconds

first-impressions

Great communication, whether verbal or non-verbal, is a crucial element in successful networking. I am constantly learning from every encounter, from reading books and attending seminars and workshops. I have not yet mastered every facet of the subject, but I have grown so much in this area over time. Becoming a person with exceptional people skills is a lifelong journey.

Connecting with people has three distinct stages, meeting, establishing a rapport and communicating. Sometimes the three areas can easily overlap and blend into each other. The key is to make them as natural, fluid and easy as possible, above all making them enjoyable and rewarding for all parties.

If meeting is the coming together of two or more people, then communicating is what we do from the moment we are fully aware of the other’s presence. In between these two events, meeting and communicating, lies a 90 second window of opportunity, called “rapport”, that links them together.

The Meeting

If you make the right impression during the first three to four seconds of a new meeting, you create an awareness that you are sincere, safe and trustworthy and the opportunity to go further and create a rapport will present itself.

An open body language, eye contact, a great smile, appropriate handshake and confident introduction, are all key elements in setting the scene. The platform we lay here can propel us into stage two, building rapport. We all remember that great movie line, “you had me at hello”.

Building Rapport

This is where we establish common ground, a comfort zone where two or more people can join together mentally. When you have rapport, each person brings something to the interaction. Rapport is the lubricant that allows social exchanges to flow smoothly. The prize, when we achieve rapport, is the other person’s positive acceptance. They may not say it with words but their body language will send out a signal of “I know I just met you, but I like you so I will trust you with my attention”.
Sometimes rapport happens easily and sometimes you have to give it a little more of a hand. Get this stage right and communication can begin. Get it wrong, and you will have to bargain for attention.

As you meet and greet new people, your ability to establish rapport will depend on four things: your attitude, your body language and voice tone, your conversation skills and your ability to discover which sense the other person relies on most. Once you become adept in these four areas, you will be able to quickly connect and establish rapport with anyone you choose at any time.

Communication

This is the stage where there can be an exchange of information and you can get your message accross. Being accepted and understood by the other person depends on the first 90 seconds you have just invested in them. We will cover this stage in greater detail in future weeks, or you can contact us for details of one of our workshops or a one on one consultation.

Why 90 Seconds?

“Time is precious”. “Time costs money”. “Don’t waste my time”. Time has become an increasingly sought after commodity. We budget our time, prioritise it, make it stand still, speed it up or slow it down or lose a sense of it. Yet time is one of the few things we cannot save; once it is gone it is gone!

Instinctively, we assess, unwrap and best guess each other. If we are not skilled at presenting ourselves fast and favourably, we run the risk of being politely or impolitely, passed over.

The second reason for establishng rapport withing 90 seconds or less has to do with the human attention span. Believe it or not, the average attention span of a person is 30 seconds. If there is not something that is fresh or stands out, the mind wanders off to something, or someone, more compelling. In communicating you message it is not enough to command attention, we need to maintain it long enough to get our heart attitudes and intentions across.

Establishing rapport in 90 seconds or less with another person or group, be it in a social or community setting or with a business audience, can seem very daunting to some people. This is one of the most fundamental of life skills yet we are not usually given much training on the subject. Let me encourage you to read books, attend training seminars, get some coaching, and most importantly, practice it as a part of your journey.

Have a great week. You deserve it!

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

Networking is more about giving than receiving

Macarthur Professional Services NetworkNetworking, whether for your business or social life, is more about what you can give than what you can get. Whether face to face, or over the internet, our motives are very easily detected by others and will have a dramatic effect on the success of our networking endeavour.

Effective business networking is the linking together of individuals who, through trust, mutual encouragement and relationship building, become walking, talking advertisements for one another. It comes in many forms, is accessible to all and is an essential component in building our perfectly balanced lives.

What is the value of networking?

Networking gives us the ability to develop a circle of friends and associates who will encourage and support us on our journey. It gives us a vehicle to look for opportunities to give unto others as we would have others give unto us. Networking takes us out of our comfort zone and gives us an environment to grow our people skills and knowledge base whilst providing a training ground for learning to work with people with different personalities and interests.

Used wisely, networking gives us a platform to build our profile in the business and social community.

How do I get connected?

Be available! Look for opportunities to connect with others, be real and remain relevant. Seeking opportunities to give out to others are the greatest way of connecting with like minded people. Join a community or charity group, sporting association or your kid’s school P & C. There are many avenues to connect with those around you but one thing remains constant; successful networking is limited to those who seek to give rather than get.

How do I prioritise my time to ensure that I have opportunity to network?

As a business owner, I must ensure I spend a proportionate amount of my time working “on” my business, not just “in” my business. For me, networking is a distinct strategy in my marketing plan. Having a better understanding of what avenues are available to connect, what principles you need to employ to build trusting relationships and what outcomes are needed from your time spent, you can plan your week with the same amount of priority placed on networking as any other part of your business operation.

Networking, like many other things, can become a safe haven, non productive activity if it is done out of proportion to an overall plan. For me, I have looked at a few different options and settled on three that ensure I maintain balance.

1. A community organisation that is solely for giving with no expectation of return,
2. A business network that is open to all types of business, and
3. A niche business sector network for professional development and cross marketing.

What about internet based networking?

I struggled with getting involved with this avenue of networking because of my biased opinions and preconceptions. Thankfully, I was encouraged by others to give it a go and now I love it. I have found using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and this blog, has given me far more opportunity to give out to those around me. The intrinsic benefit has been a new circle of relationships and actual measurable results in new business. There are so many people far more able to teach on the subject of social networking for business than me, however, over the next few weeks I will share with you what I have done and what has worked.

The key remains, whether online or in person, successful networking depends on your ability to give to others before expecting a return. The principle “it is more blessed to give than to receive” can only be understood when it is given a go. Every time I employ this principle, it works!

For those of you, like me, who need a list of “10 Steps for Successful Business Networking”, I have added them in the Business support section of our site.

Have an outstanding week, you deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder