Professional Networking On (& Off) the Web
Time and Tracking Another common question from web networkers is “How do I know where I or my business are showing up on the web, and when something good or bad is being said about us?” The no-cost answer is to install the simple feature of Google Alerts. For more comprehensive reports there are paid services like Andy Beal’s reputation monitor called Trackur.
If you’re reading this and calculating the amount of time it might take to manage a number of on-line networking profiles, blogs and groups, consider the power and value of three little letters that you may have overlooked on many web pages– RSS– which stands for Real Simple Syndication. RSS has origins in the concept of big news agencies “syndicating” their information so others could pull it and use it. RSS gives all users the power of producing news or changing information that others can pull in, just like they would a national on-line newspaper. When you see RSS on the screen, it means that with something called a blog reader or a news aggregator you get to select the information that you want to keep up with, such as national news or news from your local social media site, and business networking sites like Linkedin, all in one location. With this method you are able at a quick glance to keep up with current news, new blog postings, or new connections your business allies are making on Linkedin at a quick glance. Then, if you want more details, you can “pull” more information as needed from your blog reader. Instead of being buried in email updates from sites, mixed in with news letters that you no longer follow, you can choose what you track and the degree you wish to follow it by only getting what’s new or changed.
You may think, how can I afford the time to use Social Media? If you realize that for many businesses this is where your current and future customers are, you can not afford to not spend time with it. Pick something and start small. You may choose to begin with Linkedin, on of the Inside Area Code sites (like inSide919.com), Facebook, or Twitter. Set aside a little time each day or week to “relate on-line”.
The new social media gives businesses the opportunity to be closer to their customers than ever before. Business networking brings us the ability to build alliances both locally and globally. The key is to not forget the value of the in-person connections which complement and enhance on-line relationships. Quality relationships still take time to develop—on and off the web.