Larry BraunerThe successful LinkedIn IPO last week seems to indicate that investors expect business networking and content curation giant LinkedIn to grow within its niche despite increasing Facebook domination of the social web.

By maintaining a business focus, LinkedIn’s growth could persist unhampered by that of its social networking counterpart. For this reason, many articles have been written of late presenting strategies and techniques to maximize LinkedIn effectiveness, including my own 10 Tips for LinkedIn Social Networking.

LinkedIn Strategy and Technique

LinkedInThe following 18 articles explore a wide range of viewpoints, and they will hopefully help you to formulate and implement your LinkedIn plan:

  1. The LinkedIn IPO: Why it matters to your day-to-day
  2. Web Success in the LinkedIn Era
  3. How LinkedIn Changed The Way I Do Business
  4. LinkedIn Beginner Tips
  5. Social Networking: LinkedIn vs. Facebook
  6. 7 Steps To Help You Build Your Personal Brand On LinkedIn
  7. 10 Ways to Maximize LinkedIn for Personal Branding
  8. LinkedIn Strategies for Personal Branding
  9. How to get Recommendations on LinkedIn
  10. How to Drive Traffic from LinkedIn
  11. HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Advanced Social Media Search
  12. How to Make the Most from LinkedIn Company Pages
  13. LinkedIn Business Profiles: Add Admins to Your Company’s Profile
  14. Is your sensitive company info being leaked on LinkedIn?
  15. Cultivating Meaningful LinkedIn Connections
  16. Building Solid Business Relationships Using LinkedIn
  17. LinkedIn Marketing
  18. 10 Top LinkedIn Open Networkers and Connectors to Follow in 2011

I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn. My email address is in my LinkedIn profile, should you need it.

Please subscribe and “like” my Facebook page, too. :-)

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Larry BraunerMy top social media sites aren’t particularly the social sites that receive the greatest number of visitors. They’re social media sites I find the most pleasurable to use and that fit in some way into my search and social strategy.

My top 10 social media sites nicely complement all of my blogging and search engine optimization efforts. Your list of top social media sites will likely differ from mine, since it’s highly improbable that you and I will share identical search and social strategies.

For the record, here are the Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Websites, the Top 15 Most Popular Web 2.0 Websites, and the Top 15 Most Popular Social Bookmarking Websites according to eBizMBA, from which you can pick and choose.

My Top Social Media Sites

Social Media SitesThe following are my top 10 social media sites at present, and while Facebook is my favorite social media site by far, the rest of the social media sites are listed only very approximately in order of my personal preference.

  1. Facebook - I spend more time on Facebook than on all other social media sites combined. I use my Facebook profile for networking and my Facebook page, as well as those of my place of business and my clients, for marketing and for community building. I also participate in quite a few of the new Facebook groups.
  2. Ning - I use Ning for marketing and for community building. My favorite Ning social networking websites are the Small Business Network and My Linking Power Forum. I plan to launch more Ning sites in the future.
  3. LinkedIn - I use LinkedIn strictly for business networking and have more than 4,000 direct connections. You may add me to your network using the email address in my LinkedIn profile.
  4. Twitter - I manage a number of Twitter business accounts using my Tweet Adder software. My main account is @larrybrauner. I share lots of links on Twitter and monitor each account for mentions and replies.
  5. StumbleUpon - Of all the social media sites listed, StumbleUpon is the one that generates the most web traffic. I’ve already shared more than 700 web pages through my StumbleUpon account. Share as many good web pages as you can and categorize them well.
  6. Business Exchange - I use my account at Business Exchange to share business content and to rub elbows with the information elite. Occasionally, I receive large bursts of traffic from this bookmarking site.
  7. Amplify - I share content as often as I can on Amplify, partly for the Amplify community and partly for the dofollow links this micro-blogging site provides.
  8. Posterous - Ditto for my micro-blog on Posterous.
  9. Delicious - Content on Delicious is often picked up and linked-to by other sites. Use tags correctly, with hyphens or underscores between the words in your keyword phrases for best results. I believe that it also helps content to get indexed quickly by the search engines.
  10. Digg - I use Digg for pretty much the same benefits as Delicious.

Now it’s your turn. Which social media sites do you like and why? :-)

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Larry BraunerThere are the old Facebook groups, and there are also the new Facebook groups that will very soon supersede the old.

I wrote several articles last summer about the old Facebook groups:

Since the content of old Facebook groups is not syndicated to news feeds, members only become aware of new content through an intrusive group broadcast or by randomly visiting the group.  Unfortunately, I became increasingly disenchanted with old Facebook groups because of too little engagement and interactivity.

New Facebook Groups Wreak Havoc

FacebookAlong came new Facebook groups, and I quickly seized the opportunity to try them out. Before long, I wrote about my experience with the new groups in New Facebook Groups Wreak Havoc:

“By default, a member is notified every time another member posts. If the new Facebook group is large, members will be bombarded with unwanted email notifications and chat window popups. The engagement problem is solved, but a new notification problem is created.

“Users who are bothered by the quantity of email notifications can change their notification setting to “only posts I am subscribed to” and reduce or eliminate the notification problem — once they figure out how to do so.

“However, there’s a bigger problem not yet mentioned: One can be added by Facebook friends to new Facebook groups without pre-approval. Therefore, before one knows what’s happening, and before one can leave the group or change one’s notification setting, emails start flowing into his or her inbox, seemingly out of nowhere.”

With the new Facebook groups, the pendulum had swung in the opposite direction. The potential for unwanted notifications and spam alarmed me. Facebook had created a virtual monster.

New Facebook Groups Superseding the Old

Perhaps the havoc has subsided or there was less of it than I imagined, for Facebook has decided to phase out the old Facebook groups and to phase in the new. They’ve done a little tweaking to the groups but not much. All I can advise, therefore, is to use the new Facebook groups with caution. I hope Facebook’s initiative will be successful.

Check out Facebook Groups – a complete Guide. If used effectively, the new Facebook groups can be a great tool for networking and collaboration. I plan to use the new form of groups primarily for business networking.

My New Facebook Groups

I invite you to join me in any of my new Facebook groups that interest you. Simply join a group and wait for your membership to be approved. These are my seven new Facebook groups:

  1. Larry Brauner (My Personal Group)
  2. Fabulous Baby Boomers
  3. Social Media Enthusiasts
  4. Enterprising Business Leaders
  5. Rockland County, New York
  6. Watch Enthusiasts
  7. Stumblers (StumbleUpon Group)

Want to invite readers to join your new Facebook groups? The floor is now yours. Go ahead and leave a comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerI recently revealed my top 10 Tips for LinkedIn Social Networking and 16 Tips for Ning Social Networking.

I’ve also written Top 16 Reasons I Like Facebook More Than Twitter and 10 Simple Ideas for Setting Up a New Twitter Business Account.

However, let’s not kid ourselves. You and I both know that there’s much more to business networking than engaging on business networking sites. Effective business networking calls for a wide range of skills and resources.

Business Networking Strategies

Business NetworkingI asked just last week, How Much Real Networking on Social Networking Sites?

Frankly, I believe that there’s too little real business networking either online or off.

For this reason, I present you with a long — although far from complete — list of business networking strategies, hoping that you’ll find an idea or two that you can implement to your advantage.

Here are 22 business networking strategies:

  1. Always Be Networking - Every person you meet has the potential to introduce you to others in his or her network. Try to meet people every day.
  2. Networking is not Prospecting - Don’t treat all people as prospects. Your job is to develop some degree of relationship with each person you meet. This aspect of networking is explained in depth in Tommy Spaulding’s It’s Not Just Who You Know, which characterizes five levels of relating and explains the hows and whys of each.
  3. Network with Networkers - Business networking enables you to meet people whom you don’t already know. The networking concept is very well explained in Jim Randel’s The Skinny on Networking. Many of the people you’ll meet won’t have the inclination to share their networks with you. Don’t sweat it. Simply move on.
  4. Cast a Wide Net - Try not to prejudge people. All people have merit, and you never know who’ll provide you with a valuable referral. Targeting is a useful marketing concept, but in business and social networking, it’s possible to carry the targeting concept too far.
  5. Determine What You Want - If you don’t know what you want, how will you be able to tell others what you want? Not only that, you’ll be like a Sunday driver going from here to there without an intended destination. Become clear about where you want to go but be prepared to adjust your business networking course as you go along.
  6. Know Whom You Want to Meet - You need to know whom you want to meet, so that the members of your business or social network can help you meet such people.
  7. Fish Where the Fish Are - Join business networking sites and attend business networking events where you can connect with potential prospects and plenty of serious networkers.
  8. Focus on Giving, not Taking - I recommend that you read Bob Burg and John David Mann’s The Go-Giver. The importance of giving and receiving, not taking, extends far beyond business networking. You can become a powerful resource for your network! This blog is one of my ways of giving and being a resource.
  9. Be a Perfectionist - With key contacts, you can’t afford to be even a little sloppy. Polish your personal appearance, refine your business networking profiles and craft your communications, so that you’ll always make a great impression. We can’t be perfect, but we must at least do our very best.
  10. Strive for Consistency - Don’t rely on short intermittent bursts of activity in business networking or in other areas of your life. It’s hard to cram for tests, but it’s even harder to cram for relationships.
  11. Diversify - Don’t put all your business networking eggs in too few baskets. Be on the lookout for new and creative ways to meet people.
  12. Go the Extra Distance - When you think you’ve done all you can, see if you can do a bit more.
  13. Use Your Time Effectively - You can’t hope do everything, so employ the 80/20 rule and prioritize your business networking initiatives.
  14. Stay Organized - Keep a record of your business contacts’ names and personal information, as well as a log of your interactions with them. Find an approach that’s feasible for you.
  15. Pick Up the Phone - Get more personal. Use the phone, Skype and face-to-face meetings to make a close connection with your contacts and business networking partners.
  16. Build Your Network Online and Off - Don’t network exclusively either online or offline. Read Ivan Misner, David Alexander and Brian Hillard’s Networking Like a Pro. Besides being a master networker, Ivan Misner is Founder and Chairman at BNI, a business networking organization that spans the globe. It’s critical to recognize the need for business networking both online and off.
  17. Do not Abuse or Spam a Your Contacts - Aggressive behavior online or off will kill your chances of building a network and earn you a bad reputation.
  18. Don’t Waste Time with Overly Skeptical People - Preach only to the choir. If someone doesn’t get it, don’t try make him or her get it. Talk to somebody else.
  19. Learn from the Experts - There are many excellent networking books, such as the ones I mention here. Books, seminars and the people we meet have much to teach us about business networking, our vocational fields — and life.
  20. Build Your Network before You Need It - Harvey Mackay’s Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty is an oldie but a goodie. It takes a long time to grow a business or social network. If you wait until you need a business network before you start building it, you’ll regret your decision to delay.
  21. Be Authentic - Real people want to network and conduct business with those who are completely genuine and transparent.
  22. Follow Through - Follow up quickly and appropriately on business networking referrals. When people give you referrals, your actions reflect on them. Respect that and your referrals will grow.

Most people have business networks of manageable size. If you have an especially large network, you can hire a virtual assistant or an  outbound call center outsourcing to help you contact your network. Good outbound call centers have a wide breadth of relationship management experience and expertise that they can share.

Now it’s your turn. As I said earlier, this list is “far from complete.” What are some of your favorite business networking tips?

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