Nice to connect with you, now BUY FROM ME!

By: Mark Sinclair

Date: 20 May 2009

There’s been a lot of discussion about “business networking” versus “personal networking” in social media for quite some time. This is something that a lot of people feel strongly about - particularly where a community has developed with one ethos and then someone joins and starts communicating with quite different intentions.

So how do you know where to draw the line? When does your networking stop being social, and start being a sales pitch? Is it really that clear-cut? Does it need to be? What's best for your business?

In Dan Schawbel’s latest book he explores the idea of personal branding and explains how businesses can truly succeed when they realise the importance of using social media to market their business. Sometimes, as simple a change as using a real person in a profile picture (rather than the brand's logo) or using a real name (rather than a business name) can make all the difference to the response you will get online. As social media is increasingly being used by businesses, the need for real connections and a ‘human touch’ is meaning that ignoring the social element of social networking is hurting companies’ online presence.

Schawbel’s take on personal branding is quite simple really: if you give people a reason to be interested, show a bit of personality and engage in a real, genuine relationship online, people will tend to meet you half way – and business opportunities will start to come to you.

Penny Power who founded online business network Ecademy.com well over 10 years ago reinforces Schawbel's recommendations in her many interviews on yourBusinessChannel. In the interview below, Power urges that you need to be a "magnet" within the community, and that making your intentions clear will be critical to your success.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iXki2_695Y]

Putting more time into asking questions and attracting like-minded contacts will mean that the connections you make will be truly valuable further down the track. Companies who encourage their employees to build online networks intelligently can see some radical improvements to the opportunities which come their way.

To read a more about Schawbel’s latest book, take a look at an interview with David Meerman Scott here.

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