My Grandfather used to have a wire bound notebook he carried around with him. He was member of the Masonic Lodge, so he had that network of people and the extension of everyone THEY knew to help him get whatever he needed done…his car worked on, his heating and AC, livestock for the farm.
My Father had a Rolodex on his corner of his desk at the office where he worked. It used to attract my attention as a child. It worked pretty well as a Ferris wheel with my imagination. He wasn’t amused when the cards were displaced.
Over the years in my career track, my cards ended up in a nice leather holder with transparent sleeves…then an electronic database. In all of these scenarios, names, cards and entries were grouped together according to their relationship, their expertise and the services they provided…and how connected they were to help get things done.
As a Account Executive in the 90’s on the streets selling media for one of the powerhouse radio stations in town, my job was to identify prospects and opportunities, reach out to them and connect…find common ground, find their pain and show them a solution.
Later in my Agency days, we had a more refined lead system that came from our advertising and promotion efforts combined with industry directories and SIC codes. Even then, this involved countless hours of calling, getting through the gatekeeper, leaving voicemails, dropping by unannounced at times and networking in organizations like American Subcontractors Association of the Carolinas to rub elbows and leave an impression with my elevator speech that I’d rehearsed a thousand times.
I still have a stack of business cards, and I even hand them out – because it’s still the standard for the face-to-face connection.
But…ya’ see (in my best Barney Fife voice), there’s this thing called the “internets” and Social Media…
The Bottom Line is:
- People don’t believe or buy the hyped messages of manufacturers and brands like they used to.
- Marketing power has shifted to people sharing with other people their experiences and insights…that includes networking too.
- Remnants of the old are still present, and the goals are the same; the channels for distribution and connection are different. People still buy from others they like or are similar to.
- If your livelihood depends on connecting with other people then it is a must nowadays for you and your company to have a solid presence in Social Media. More importantly – a presence on LinkedIn.
Whether your focus is Business-to-Business or Consumer, local, regional, or across the globe, you’re looking for a job, a new employee or an investor, LinkedIn is your Rolodex on Steroids.
A QUICK LOOK AT LINKEDIN
- LinkedIn’s members have reached 147million
- The standard user of LinkedIn is male (57.9%) and aged between 25 and 54 years (67.7%)
- North America and Europe represent 65.7% of users with about 96.6 million
- Over 44% of LinkedIn’s users work in companies with more than 10,000 employees, in Asia the figure rises up to 57.3%
- The industries with the highest concentration worldwide are HighTech (14.3%), Finance (12.4%) and Manufacturing (10.1%), Service (2.3%), Legal (1.9%) and Agriculture (0.5%)
- The job functions with the highest concentration worldwide are Entrepreneurship (10.8%), Sales (9.5%), Operations (8.3%), Purchasing (0.7%), Product Management (0.7%) and Military and Protective Services (0.6%)
- 39% of the members is a Manager, Director, Owner, Chief Officer or Vice President
On April 17th, I’ll be hanging with the fine folks at the ASAC to take a closer look at some important ways to utilize this social tool to tap into the decision makers and connect to the people you want to meet and influence.