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Networking is a long-standing practice in the world of social and professional success.Who you know has always been key to opening opportunities and connections to help further and grow your business. Social Networking has a very clear and simple role in helping monetize your social media presence.

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This third quadrant, or step, of the Social Success Cycle is about finding and associating with authoritative and influential individuals and brands on the social web.

Earn media mentions from:

  • Blogs, podcasts, radio shows, [access to] print publications
  • Particular brands
  • Develop strategic partnerships to make big leaps forward for your business

Differing slightly from the previous 2 steps in the success cycle, networking is more about the Public Relations side of your business: How do you connect your brand or business with a third party?

Answering this question is about leading your business to strong connections and partnerships. We consider networking as  a high impact activity that should be worked into social media marketing.

To kick start your networking pursuits, consider these tools to help you out.

Hootsuite

  • Also used for Social Influencing.
  • Breaks your business up into smaller streams and is more consumable.
  • Develop a Short List:
  • Those who can give you media mentions with whom you can build strategic partnerships.
  • “Stick close to” and follow these peeps online.
  • Find the content they create, do them favors, amplify their content.

Klout

  • Good way to find information.
  • Is a social storing mechanism.
  • Provides information of how influential someone is in any particular space.

Buzzsumo

  • Good for finding and discovering things about a person.
  • Ranks the content on the web according to how many social shares the person or topic has received.
  • Finds the content created by these influential people.

SOCIAL NETWORKING METRICS

Unlike Social Listening and Influencing, Social networking is a little bit more tricky to measure. It’s difficult to quantify earned mentions or strategic partnerships developed, but by addressing two main fields, you can pull valuable information.

  • # of inbound links
  • The # of peeps linking from their website to your website.
  • #/description of earned media mentions
  • What was it?
  • Where was it?
  • Why is it important to you?
  • #/description of strategic partnerships

As for tools to use, you can utilize inbound links and strategic reporting.

Inbound Links:

  • SEM Rush – recommend paid version
  • Ahrefs – paid tool
  • Open Site Explorer – free version is okay

Reporting

  • Reporting media mentions and strategic partnerships will be more explaining than measuring.

BACK TO BASICS: What is Media?

Media is anything that aggregates the attention of a definable market segment into a specific location at a predictable time. We are ALL media. Even a rough and tough company like Harley-Davidson is media.  They’ve aggregated the attention of a specific market segment and can direct that attention anywhere they want.

Today, media is fragmented today.  It’s no longer consolidated into the hands of a few, granting the small players more pull and reach than before. To get the best pull with your social media, it’s important to be looking for Long Tail Media outreach, comparing reach vs. relevance. WHAT

BUT WHAT DOES LONG TAIL MEDIA WANT?

In long tail media, there is much less competition because the reach is low. However, the media is super-focused, highly specialized, and has a much higher relevance level.

Small niche players want great content from reliable sources. For example, a small publisher property that doesn’t have journalists or content creators working around the clock, like large networks, will bump into the same problem:

What is the next thing we are putting out?

–  need more high-quality content from reliable sources.

–  need content ready to hand to their audience.

We need to start speaking their language by networking small niche properties to help achieve a focused and highly relevant network of partnerships. Great content educates, inspires, or entertains the audience regardless of how large or previously well-regarded the business is.

NETWORKING BY TOPIC MAP

Remember the concept of Social Media Bouncing from our latest installment of the Social Success Cycle? Well if you don’t, you’re in luck because we want to address this concept again. At its core, the idea is to provide opportunities for other topics and sites to link right back to you.

This can also be called a social media topic map. By creating satellite topics that link back to your business, you create many more opportunities to appear as both an authority and a solution. Take Rosetta Stone as an example. Rosetta is not just going to be talking about language learning.  They sell language learning software; however, they can chat about travel, culture, music, food, etc., to break out and talk about other topics on social media.

THE “SHORT LIST”

By using twitter or other media, the Short List is a process to organize the peeps with whom you are networking.

If you give them access to your audience, they will often return the favor but redirecting more traffic in your direction. The Short List is a great way to warm up the network. The more influential partnership is, the more it moves the meter for you. But you have to find the right people to chare your content so that your hard work doesn’t go to waste!

Here are some tools to find the right people:

GroupHigh

  • Though expensive, it’s a great blogger outreach program
  • Organizes bloggers to find the most influential in your niche.

Klout

  • Social scoring platform.
  • Provides scores as to how influential a peep is in a topic.

Inkybee

  • Less expensive.
  • Good for finding niche players.

Followerwonk

  • Free version.
  • Searches peeps by keyword in Twitter for high activity by topic.

Kr (Kred)

  • Social scoring platform.
  • Provides scores as to how influential a peep is in a topic.

Once you choose a tool to utilize, you can work The Short List Process

  1. Use Hootsuite, which organizes Twitter into streams.
  2. Find peeps with whom you want to network.
  3. End up with a stream of just those people you want to closely follow. But keep your list clean! Remove and add names to ensure this list remains your active Short List community.

REVERSE MEDIA OUTREACH

All media is working this way – not just Long Tail. Media reaches out and finds YOU as a possible source.   Knows you are a reliable source and have content to share.

How to Turn Media outreach on its head:

  • Create content
  • On a regular schedule.
  • Return to Influencing stage for content info.
  • Results in more media mentions, more links, and media reaching out to you.
  • If you are a Content Creator, you will get contacted more often by traditional and long tail media.
  • Accept interviews
  • The more you give, the more you’ll be asked to do interviews.
  • You’ll never be asked if it appears you don’t give interviews.
  • Give blurbs to bloggers or jump on podcasts.
  • Embrace SEO
  • Media searches by topics needed in order to produce stories.
  • Quotes searched.
  • Learn SEO basics so you’re found.
  • Understand social scoring
  • Sites: Kred, Klout, PureIndex to find most influential people by topic.

Just think, social networking is not only about you reaching out to local bloggers, niche property or local newspapers.  They’re looking for you.  Position yourself as an engaged authority and you will be found.

STAYING COMPLIANT

A quick note on keeping you well positioned in the social media world. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) notes how we use earned and paid media mentions to promote what we’re doing. For larger brands, if you’ve been given a reward, incentivized, or given a free product sample, this must be mentioned on a blog, video, podcast

Example:

  • Post: “Sponsored by [organization]. All opinions are my own.”
  • Post: “Disclosure: video sponsored by [X]; all opinions are my own.

So if you do lots of media outreach, paying media to review things, or giving out samples, stay current on FTC’s endorsement guidelines!

So, get out there, get networking, and stay connected!

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