Posted tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Social Media 101

January 4, 2010

Social web environments such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have enabled business leaders to leverage the “social” part of social media and broaden their reach and influence. Certainly, there are still laggard executives out there continuing to fight the integration of these tools, blowing them off as time-wasting websites that attract teenagers and distract employees. With this attitude, it’s difficult for decision-makers to quantify the amount of opportunity passing them by in their digital absence… but it is happening and the amount could be substantial. I wanted to dig into the social networking scene and identify a successful local example where traditional meets digital networking in our business community.
Which brings me to a gentleman I’ve know for over a year now. I met Edmonton realtor Stephen Lau of Century21 (EdmontonHomePros.ca) through a digital referral by Greg Douglas of Douglas Environmental Solutions. He suggested that I join a local networking group called The Edmonton “LinkedIn” Business & Social Network, started by Lau in April 2008. To join the group, you must have a profile on the world’s premier business social network, LinkedIn.com.
The nearly 300 members are trusted business professionals who value building relationships both at the offline events and digitally within the online group on Meetup.com, the site Lau uses to manage events and member communications, much of which overflows onto LinkedIn. “The intention,” explains Lau, “is helping people first and growing trust from that. It’s about being genuine, altruistic and going out of your way to help people. Pure takers won’t get very far in the group.” This is something I’ve personally experienced as a member of this unique networking group: I can honestly say people focus on community, referrals and support of each other’s businesses.
Having said that, Lau states that his group would not have grown to the extent it has without the social networking aspect. Further, he suggests—and I agree—that there needs to be a healthy balance between traditional and online social networking in order to achieve success. “People like to do business on a hand-shake,” he says. “You need to meet face-to-face.” Lau calls this balance of effort “integrating social media into real-world networking to expand your centre of influence.” He stresses that social networking allows you to stay connected, build rapport and deepen relationships in-between events. In one such case, because of keeping in touch online via LinkedIn, Lau was referred to a new real estate client who listed a $1.88M home with him, a decent business transaction once the home sells.
Stories of business results and increased opportunities are not limited to Lau. Doors have opened for others in the group, including me. If not for Lau, my team and I might not have met Michael Kryton of Axe Productions who referred fusedlogic to Aggression MMA. This connection resulted in a contract to provide live-streaming video services for its pay-per-view mixed martial arts event “First Blood” at the Northlands Expo Centre. Deepening relationships through the use of social networking has proven that it can also deepen the pocketbook.
Those who should join The Edmonton “Linked-In” Business & Social Network are business professionals interested in finding clients, helping with referrals, and meeting likeminded networkers. As mentioned, a LinkedIn profile is a pre-requisite.
Lau and the other members demonstrate that what separates this group from others is how they fortify trust via regular use of social media tools like LinkedIn and Meetup.com, converting their social networking efforts into increased revenue. This isn’t a group of teenagers or irresponsible employees but savvy business people with open-minds, turning a little digital know-how into measurable results. It’s worth joining. √