with Aliza Sherman
If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.
To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.
I’ve been writing for Work It, Mom (or WorkItMom.com as I refer to it) for a while now, and it occurred to me recently that I really need to devote more attention to my interactions on the site. Like any social networking site, Work It, Mom provides all the tools to connect to the people and resources you need to address an area of your life - in this case, work/life issues for busy, professional women. But if you don’t use it, it won’t work for you.
Even with cursory efforts, I’ve had some wonderful outcomes from being connected to like-minded moms on the site. One woman interviewed me on her blog. Another just requested to reprint one of my blog posts here and will give credit to this site and my blog here with a link. Both achieve one of my goals of being part of this community and writing for this site: the personal goal of publishing my thoughts and advice to share my experiences with other women in the hopes that we can support one another and the more business-oriented goal of marketing who and I and what I do.
But there is so much potential here that I’m betting few of us are tapping into. Here are a few tips on how to better leverage - but not misuse - the Work It, Mom community.
1. Log In. Don’t even think of reading the rich and valuable content on the site without being logged in. You are a member (or should be) of the site for the benefits such as the communications and social networking tools. Being logged in gives you the convenience of having your comments posted immediately to blogs, of being able to participate in forums and of having your own Inbox for direct communications with other members.
2. Network. When you find someone on the site with whom you want to connect, send a Network request. This doesn’t mean indiscriminately adding everyone you can find on the site. It means reading their profile and seeing if they are really someone you want to connect with for personal or professional reasons. So far, I’ve accepted most Network requests from other members. Only when I think there is absolutely nothing obvious in common and they haven’t included some note to trigger my interest do I let the request languish.
3. Join. Again, don’t be indiscriminate about the groups you join, and don’t just join to be seen and heard in hopes that it will help “market” you or your business. Frankly, I am very suspect of anyone who belongs to a whole slew of totally disparate groups and so many that no human could actually keep track. That smacks of spamming and scamming to me. Unless, of course, it is your job at Work It, Mom to join everything!
4. Listen. Whether you’ve received a private message in your Work It, Mom Message box or you have joined a group and want to participate, listen first (which in this case means READ). Pay attention to what is being said. Without listening, you’ll at best miss the point and at worst offend someone.
5. Respond. I’m guilty of not responding in a timely manner, and I’m really trying to make an effort to be much more diligent. When responding to anyone in Work It, Mom, especially in a group, don’t be overly commercial. If you have something to promote, make sure it is appropriate to the conversation, not just the group. The best promotions are the ones that are completely relevant to the topics at hand and sometimes even subtle such as in a sig file.
6. Add Value. To me, the opposite of “don’t be overly commercial,” is “Do add value.” By adding value, I mean that if you are an expert in something or have a relevant anecdote to share, by all means do. But share it with the intention of actually helping someone else, not as a way to promote yourself or your business, products or services. Marketing is a beautiful offshoot of being out there and adding value. People know when you are selling something. Making it blatant can really turn people off. But a generous spirit is always rewarded.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to make the most out of your time and efforts spent here on this site. And please share your success stories!
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