Tag Archives: Chris Brogan

Networking is about paying it forward

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Social Media guru Chris Brogan has a weekly magazine that dishes out great advice on a range of things. This week he talks about paying it forward, building networks that focus on cultivating relationships.

He says, “the word “cultivate” means to develop. That means that YOU have to work to make the relationship better. It doesn’t mean “meet people so you can ask them to help you do something.”

I have written before about the value of networks,  face to face interaction. There is no instant gratification here and those who glad-hand their way through a networking event and follow up with a hard sales push will lose more business than they will gain.

The first barrier to break down is trust. If you are doing most of the talking in a networking environment, the chance of building  any sort relationship is remote. Listen. Ask questions. Focus on who you are listening to and not  the next mark. Trust takes time to build but the wait is worth it.

Here are some tips from Brogan. And check out Owner Magazine.

Brogan's site OwnerBUILD A HELPFUL NETWORK

1.) Be open to connecting with anyone. You never know.
2.) When introducing others, ask first privately if you can make the introduction (lots of times, people introduce me to others that I can’t much help, for instance).
3.) Upon meeting someone new, think of ways you can help them. I promise this is MUCH more useful than thinking of ways they can help you.
4.) Set calendar reminders or ANY other method to keep in touch with people on a semi regular basis. Cold networks don’t help.
5.) Connect great people in your network together. It’s always greater than the sum of the separate parts.

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Becoming An Influential Blogger!

By Jeff Bowman

I’m back at the blogging desk.  I took a break over Christmas to reflect on my previous year’s sum of mind dump in the blogosphere and to try to figure out if I had any impact at all on anyone who may have read one of my musings on business.

It’s not that I think my posts lacked in detail and significant information, just that the responses were limited and the number of people signing onto the blog was less than astronomical. Most importantly, I didn’t get ranked by eCairn in the top 150 Most Influential Bloggers. Geez.

Many of us are destined to spend our lives in the ‘houseleagues” of whatever it is we choose to do.  Still, many of us may be in the top of our class locally – big fish, small pond.  We dream of the big leagues, the equivalent to being at the top of our game, the best in our professional field, The NHLs, the NBAs, heck even the CFLs of the blogging and business world would be a dream come true.

But alas, as I look over the list of the most influential bloggers of 2010, The A Players, the cream of the information world, I realize that I am not likely to reach the summit.  Those with the platinum keyboard, whose blogs are anticipated daily by throngs of information craving souls much like myself, have ruled the roost for a lifetime, which in the blogosphere is really only a couple of years.

So, I wonder what will it take to knock a Kingpin off their throne, or in my case to be ranked in the top million blogs?

I confirmed that the blog pioneers are still very much current and more popular than ever.

In the eCairn list of Most Influential Bloggers of 2008, it is no surprise to find Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Steve Rubal, Jeremiah Owyang and Brian Solis well placed in the top 8.  Fast Forward to Sept 29th, 2010 and the top 5 in order, are (can you guess?) Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis, Social Media Explorer and Seth Godin. Listen,  they deserve to be there every year, they are fantastic and prolific bloggers. They have reputations that they have been building for years.

So, I’m dreaming of the big show, working up through the minor leagues and hoping to have an impact, no matter how minute, on someone’s small business.

I will continue to swing away, and offer comments and advice on the marketing, sales and business of today.  I can always hope there is a scout in the stands.  Hey, Ted Williams got discovered on YouTube! Well, not that Ted Williams.

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Filed under blogging, Communications, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, social media

Pay it forward everyday

By Stephen Rhodes

Been AWOL awhile adjusting to the time demands of my volunteer role as President of The Brampton Board of Trade (BBOT). www.bramptonbot.com

Of all the things we (BBOT)  do as an organization to support businesses – advocating with governments on their behalf, organizing networking events to bring members together, providing speakers and workshops to provide a learning and an enriching environment – I have come to the conclusion that the thing we need to do most is connect our members to our members. We are first and foremost an enabler.

This point was driven home to me recently after reading  a Chris Brogan blog Feed the Network. In the posts he says “Put this on your daily “to-do” list: Who Can I Send Business Today?”

I was already heading down this road as I look to give new meaning to the role of The Board of Trade, (Chamber of Commerce if you are reading this from away). What it kick-started for me was the need to do that in my own business.

I am a long time supporter of networking, as a business builder. Connecting with people in person, online, using social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is Business 101, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.

It’s not instant gratification. Paying it Forward is a long-term business strategy so don’t expect that people you meet will respond to a hard sales pitch. They respond to trust. Read Brogan’s book Trust Agents. No, I am not getting a commission, I just think this guy has his finger of the pulse of modern communication.


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In Social Media we trust

By Jeff Bowman

As a marketer, I  try to keep up with new trends and exciting innovations in the area of driving consumer desire and brand recognition.

Social media, (Twitter, blogging, Facebook etc), was touted as the next big thing several years ago, but the evolution is  difficult to keep pace with.

Chris Brogan raises a paradox that is very interesting to me.  “We trust strangers online more than ever before, and we’re suspicious of most buzz.” What makes us more apt to distrust some buzz while placing our trust in other spins?

For me, there are immediate clues about the value and integrity of a message.  As in any form of networking, some relationship needs to exist before a certain level of trust can be extended. Is the site where I read an article a reputable site with a long history and a good following? If so, I tend to trust it, although there are always stories like Balloon Boy that totally scam major news outlets.  I have a twitter account, and follow some prominent, and some not so prominent groups and individuals.  If they seem genuine, have a large number of tweets and other followers, they have earned some trust from me.  If on the other hand they have few tweets and follow hundreds of people I question their motive. How many times do people actually re-check their followers to see how many are still active after a couple of months?

Probably the most important factors for me is to network with people or groups who are involved in more than one level of social media.  Are they on Facebook because someone told them they should be or do they back it up with Plaxo, LinkedIn, Twitter etc all linked together to form a real network.

I always keep in mind that opinions expressed by the few today can grow to mammoth proportions using the power of social media.  Auto recalls have existed since I first started driving in the 70’s.  Today a simple recall can cost a company millions of dollars once a single person scrawls their complaint somewhere on the web. How long will it be before Facebook complaint is accepted as fact in a court? (maybe it has, and I’m still behind the curve)

In the book Friends With Benefits – A Social Media Marketing Handbook, I found some advice that I keep in the back of my mind whenever I read anything on the web. “Bloggers aren’t journalists” and their requirements for content are less rigid, and often emotionally based.  Despite this, they can generate a juggernaut of public opinion if it sounds sincere. Weigh this against a public relations expert from a large multi-national corporation taking a defensive stance.

Who will you trust more?

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Filed under Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, Networking, social media, twitter

Hey, are you listening out there?

By Stephen Rhodes

My partner Jeff Bowman, a sales specialist with lots of experience, often talks about the value of listening.  Listen to your clients needs and respond. To do that you have to be listening. That is ears up.

Have you ever had a sales person keep talking after you have said yes  or have someone try to sell you duct cleaning after you have told them you have no ducts.

Our world is full of these one way monologues. None listeners. Traditional marketing invented the game. They talk, you listen. Need not reply.

Social Media is gaining currency because it invites dialogue. Two-way conversation. To have a conversation, you have to listen.

A guy I listen to a lot in the realm of Social Media is Chris Brogan. For people, still hesitant about social media, and paralyzed by the death spiral of technology, Chris has a simple message. Listen. Share. Participate. Create Content.

His blog post How Much Time Should I Spend on Social Media talks about listening and in a link from that post Grow Bigger Ears in 10 Minutes he explains how to do that online.

Are you listening?

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