Larry Brauner Let me restate my first law of social networking from my previous post.

Law Number 1: Nobody cares what you say until they know that you care.

Once sombody knows that you care they will listen. However, they will listen with one — and only one — question in mind and that is, “What’s in it for me?”

That’s how people listen. You might say that their favorite radio station is WII-FM, “What’s in it for me?”

If you’re marketing a product or service, just about the worst thing you can do is discuss it’s features. Your listener’s reaction will generally be, “So what?” And that’s not good.

You are much better off talking about benefits than features. Discussing benefits answers in advance the “so what” question.

You will be best off if you can get to know what’s important to each person and discuss only the benefits that are relevant to that person. You will connect with his or her desires in a meaningful way, and your success is likely.

Therefore, when you meet a new person you should focus on learning what’s important to that person. Not only will he feel that you care, he will also relate to you those things that matter most to him — and now my friend you’re on the right track!

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Larry Brauner

This is the absolute most imporatant law of networking online AND offline. Try to violate it, and your efforts will lead to frustration.

Nobody cares what you say until they know that you care.

Many marketers join social networking sites, add lots of friends and blast them with offers. Recipients click on delete quicker than you or I can say “spiced ham”, and the senders are left scratching their heads. If only they knew the importance of building relationships.

It’s all about relationships — the core of everything good in life. We’ll discuss relationships in subsequent posts, but for now let me suggest this one thing. Put your online social networking time to good use. Get to know people!

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Larry Brauner

Rules of Thumb

In recent years the status of the thumb has been elevated.

Which finger do you primarily use with a wireless or cellular phone. Your thumb!

The thumb has been elevated physically. Perhaps we can elevate it intellectually.

Those who know me well are not surprised when I come up with another rule of thumb. And now that you know it, here is…

The virtual world parallels the offline world.

Notice, I used the word offline and not the word real. That’s because both are real. When you are trying to figure out how to handle a situation in the virtual world, unless there’s a compelling reason to do otherwise, do as you would do in the offline world.

We shall apply this rule over and over in our discussions of social networking sites.

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Larry Brauner

Search engines love content. Pages that update their content often tend to be more popular with the search engines and more frequently visited than those that do not.

Social Networking Sites are filled with rich ever-changing content. That attracts search engines, which in turn attracts marketers. More and more marketers are turning to social networking both to connect with users and to get free traffic. Traffic comes from within the community and, thanks to the search engines, from without as well.

Search engines are another factor that’s driving the social networking industry.

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Larry BraunerPeople have been communicating for thousands of years. There are two basic forms of communication, synchronous and asynchronous.

During synchronous communication all parties interact without any time lapse. Face-to-face speaking, telephone conversations and Instant Messaging are all synchronous. The word “Instant” just about sums it up.

During asynchronous communication parties interact at intervals, either because of convenience or out of necessity. Mail, messengers, fax mail, voice mail and e-mail are all asynchronous.

The accessibility and speed of fax mail, voice messaging and e-mail have revolutionized and popularized asynchronous communication. People appreciate the reply-when-you-want convenience of it as well as its ability to transcend time zones and facilitate global communication.

In major corporations e-mail has become the primary method of contact. Memos are passe and telephone calls are considered somewhat intrusive. But don’t expect phone calls and staff meetings to ever disappear, because, as I indicated in a previous post, people crave the High Touch intimacy that meetings afford them.

However, out in the world-at-large e-mail has taken a big hit recently. Spam filtering by Internet service providers and concerns about privacy have led the populace to seek something more reliable and secure. Enter social networking sites! These sites are capable of providing us with the functionality that e-mail did in the past plus a big additional benefit, file sharing.

The asynchronous nature of social networking sites, and the ability of these sites to replace e-mail, have contributed greatly to the popularity of this form of interaction.

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Larry BraunerWe live in the Digital Age.

Photos, music, video, even telephone conversations are represented as strings of binary digits, transmitted electronically, and saved on mass storage devices such as compact disks, iPods and hard disks.

Our technical capablity permits, even inspires us, to share multi-media digital files with our friends, family and colleagues that contain valuable information, memorable experiences and enjoyable entertainment.

What social networking sites essentially do is help us conveniently share and display our favorite files. They do this very well, and this has certainly fueled industry growth.

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Larry BraunerBack in 1988, I read an excellent book by John Naisbitt called Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives.

In his book Naisbitt coined the expression “High Tech/High Touch” predicting that as sterile technology increasingly impacted our lives, we would crave greater and greater intimacy to offset it.

How right he was!

Cell phones, e-mail, instant messaging, online social networking and blogging. We can’t seen to communication quite enough — we crave more and more — and there’s no end in sight.

Looking to explain the very rapid growth of the social networking industry, “High Tech/High Touch” is certainly a key factor. I will look at other factors shortly, and I will refer back to “High Tech/High Touch” from time to time in future posts.

I welcome your comments and feedback.

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Larry BraunerThanks to my friends Tom Long and Tim Draayer and to my hosting company Go Daddy for the support and advice that led to the creation of this, my first WordPress blog.

Tom Long and I have known each other since 2001. We marketed Excel Communications together for three years.

And thanks in advance to all of you who will come to share this endeavor with me.

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Larry BraunerThis is an exciting day for me, the launch of my very first WordPress blog, a project that grew out of my work with  Social Networking Project.

Here we shall discuss social networking sites and skills – largely from a marketing perspective.

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