Larry BraunerMy new free open business networking site, containing both offline-online and educational components, has opened using the Ning social and business networking platform. This networking site serves entrepreneurs and small businesses worldwide.

Business NetworkingA unique aspect of this business site is that they’ll help connect offline networking groups, facilitating communication among group members and attracting new group members online.

You do not need a business to join.

Business Networking Site

This is the new business networking site with its .Co domain name. Click on the links to join:

Small Business Networking - http://www.SmallBusinessNetwork.Co

Group owners will be site ambassadors and promote their groups and hopefully conduct business with complete transparency and integrity.

You too can help spread the word about these new business networking sites, if you like. ;-)

Most Popular Social and Business Networking Sites

Also, I’m now frequently updating my blog post on the Most Popular Social and Business Networking Sites that has already been accessed more than 8,000 times since July 2009. If you have any suggestions for that article, please comment there.

If you own a social or business networking site and would like to sponsor that blog post, you can contact me directly.

I recommend that you subscribe to Online Social Networking and “Like” me on Facebook, so that we can stay connected. Comments are welcome, as well. :-)

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Larry BraunerI just launched my second promote your self/cause social and business networking event on Facebook which will run until Monday, August 2. My January Facebook fan page event went viral and drew hundreds of participants. Many of them made valuable new connections.

How the Event Works

Facebook
This social and business networking Facebook event is fairly simple. Here’s how I envision the event working:

  1. Registration - You go to the Facebook event page where you RSVP that you’re attending.
  2. Go to the Event - Then you go to my Facebook business page where the event is taking place. Note that the event is not taking place on the event page wall.
  3. Join My Facebook Business Page - If you’re already a member of my Facebook page, fine. If not, click “Like” to join.
  4. Post on My Facebook Business Page Wall - Write something informative about yourself, and if you like, attach a relevant link. You may post one time every day, but try not to write the same thing each day that you post. Don’t post religious, adult or highly controversial content.
  5. Check Out the Posts of Others - Find posts that resonate with you. Make sure you scroll down and click on “older posts” to view any posts that have rolled off the page.
  6. Leave a Good Comment - Usually, sharing a positive opinion and asking a question help to get a conversation going. If a conversation is already in progress, you can join that conversation. Always be kind and courteous, even when you disagree.
  7. Follow Up - When you receive a comment, always reply or follow up in some other way like sending a private message, requesting to be friends or doing something you said you’d do. Effective follow-up is an essential part of both social and business networking, online or offline, and it’s where most wanna-be networking mavens fall short.
  8. Promote the Event - Your help promoting our event will help make it more successful. The best ways to promote it are: sharing this blog post wherever you can and using the “+ Select Friends Button” on the event page to invite your Facebook friends. On Twitter, please use hashtag #11dayparty or click here for a pre-formatted tweet.
  9. Concerns or Complaints - Contact me privately with any concerns or complaints using one of the methods in my connect page.
  10. Stay Connected - If you aren’t subscribed to this blog, you can subscribe by email or via RSS feed.

Promote Yourself Here in a Comment

You may also promote your self/cause in a comment on this article and get a good dofollow link back to your website or blog site. However, I do have a few guidelines for you to follow:

  • Rules #4 and #6 from the list above apply here, as well.
  • Use your real name in the name box.
  • Place your link in the link box, not in the body of your comment.
  • Use at least one of the following words in your comment: business, networking, Facebook, event and page. It will help with SEO. Try to be natural and not force it.
  • I reserve the right to edit or remove any comments, as always.

Now that all the formalities are out of the way, it’s time for the social and business networking on Facebook to begin. Let’s have fun and get to know each other. :-D

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Larry BraunerI entered the Perkett PR social media marketing competition while attending the Social Convergence and the Enterprise symposium.

I ended up finishing 2nd in the competition and creating lots of buzz. Thanks to everyone who helped, and a special thank you to Perkett PR for the contest.

Facebook Fan Page Event

I started an event somewhat similar to the last Facebook fan page event to keep the excitement going.

Please join me at my Thank-You and Tell-Us-About-Yourself Party taking place on my Facebook page. You can meet new people and promote yourself or your cause. It will be a blast.

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Larry BraunerI spoke on December 9 with Rohn Robbins, Vail, Colorado attorney and the host of Community Focus on The Zephyr, True Local Radio, KZYR 97.7FM.

During the hour-long radio show, Rohn and I  discussed social media, online social networking and the most popular social networking sites from social, cultural, political, security and privacy perspectives.

While I continue to analyze the sites posted on my Facebook page during our website promotion event and social media party, pour yourself a drink and listen to the podcast online or download it to your iPod or MP3 player for offline listening.

You can find additional interviews and press coverage on my Media Buzz page.

Please share your thoughts about the world of social media and social networking sites, using the handy comment space provided below for your convenience. ;-)

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Larry BraunerOur website promotion event and social media party was an enormous success. Hundreds actively participated, introducing their web sites, engaging in dialog and making new connections.

Fortunately, the time frame for the networking phase of the event is open-ended, so drop by my Facebook page any time to meet some new people and check out what they’re up to. I’ll be busy working on the page for a few more days, reviewing web sites I haven’t yet visited.

Self PromotionOur four-day event was in part an experiment, as Tom Woolf pointed out. A key takeaway for me is that many people are promoting their products, services, companies interests and causes but not sufficiently promoting them- selves.

Keeping a low profile may occasionally be appropriate. However, in general, self-promotion is integral to social media marketing and public relations.

These are eight reasons why self-promotion and injecting yourself into your content are very important:

  1. You transcend your interests.  No interest or group of interests, no matter how passionate you are about them, can fully define you as a person. Admittedly, this point is too existential, so…
  2. Your subject matter might lose relevance. For example, your product can be discontinued or your company can go out of business. Your content will become irrelevant with no residual benefit from the effort you put into creating and promoting it. However…
  3. You’re always relevant as a person. You have inherent value, and you’re completely portable from one venue to another.
  4. You and I are unique. People aren’t interchangeable, but products, services and organizations tend to be.
  5. You and I are memorable. People will come to remember us and our faces once they see us a few times.
  6. People prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust. It has always been that way, even before Al Gore allegedly invented the Internet. You and I can relate to people and build solid social capital.
  7. Synergy. Our diverse interests and content work to build a bigger and more insightful picture of us.
  8. Social media is uhh, social. You and I are social. Our jewelry and weight loss products merely facilitate social interaction. People relate to people, and their relationships are ongoing.

More about promoting yourself and personal branding in upcoming articles.

At this time, you can probably suggest additional reasons for keeping it social, and I expect that you will. ;-)

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Larry BraunerTo start off a year of greater collaboration and celebrate my 58th birthday, I’m hosting a unique four-day blog and web site promotion event and social media party on my Facebook fan page.

What’s truly unique about this event is that I plan to check out every link posted on my page and comment, share the link, and submit it to social bookmarking sites, as I deem appropriate.

Over a hundred people have registered so far, and many more are expected to sign up for this free event.

Everybody may participate. It’s not necessary to have a blog or other website.

If you’d like to donate a door prize such as an info product or a coaching session, please connect with me as quickly as possible.

Here are answers to 19 or 20 infrequently asked questions:

  1. How do I register for this event? Visit the event page and click on Attending. If you’re not a Facebook member, join Facebook first.
  2. When does this event take place? From January 11-14 according to the date wherever you are. EXTENDED UNTIL JANUARY 15, NOON EST. NO DEADLINE FOR NETWORKING AND COMMENTING ON POSTS.
  3. Do I have to be awake and online for 96 hours? Not unless you want to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.
  4. Can I click on Maybe? You can, but why would you? The party is four days long. Either you’re going to stop by or you’re not.
  5. In what ways can I participate? You can post a link to your blog or website on my Facebook page along with a brief non-hypey introduction. You can network (see below) with other people and check out their links. You can even be a fly on the wall (no pun intended) and just chill.
  6. What if I don’t have a blog or other website? Post a link to your Facebook page or profile, to your Twitter profile, LinkedIn profile, etc.
  7. What am I not permitted to promote? No porn or hate content. No predominantly religious content. (I was careful not to include them all in the same sentence.)
  8. How many links may I post during the event? One with an exception…
  9. What if you don’t get to me? If I don’t get to acknowledge your post within seven days, you may post a new link or re-post the old one.
  10. Can I network with other participants? You are encouraged to network, but please do so in a professional manner to avoid being cast into the snake and scorpion infested dungeon.
  11. When will you be hosting another event like this one? I don’t know. It depends on how this one goes. If I must hire bouncers, that won’t be a good sign.
  12. What happens if I don’t attend this one? You’ll have to live with a guilty conscience for all eternity.
  13. Will dessert be served? Yes. Chocolate cyber cake and virtual vanilla ice cream. Yum!
  14. This bullet point intentionally left blank.
  15. Do I need to bring a birthday present? No, but you can help promote this event.
  16. How can I help promote this event? You can link to this article, share it on FB, tweet it (using this handy link), Stumble it, Digg it, or print copies and mail them to all your friends, family and colleagues.
  17. Is this some kind of April Fools joke? Only if you’re reading this on April 1st.
  18. What if I think 58 is old? Keep your opinion to yourself.
  19. What if I don’t think any of this is very funny? Get a life.
  20. What if you haven’t answered my question? You can ask your question below in a comment. I’ll answer it, if it makes sense to me.

Note that I reserve the right to modify the rules and conditions of this event arbitrarily and capriciously with or without prior or subsequent notice.

Don’t hesitate to subscribe, leave a comment, or join my Facebook Fan page. ;-)

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Larry Brauner

A shorter article than the past one.

Privacy and spam concerns continue to induce Facebook and Ning to make changes that hurt marketers. Facebook, for example, will end network affiliations, while Ning has already disabled the sharing of any content across participating sites.

Good-Bye Facebook Networks

Facebook members now use school, city of company network affiliations to control access to their personal content.

Since network affiliation is less relevant than it had been at the network’s conception, and since  the display of network affiliation can jeopardize members’ privacy and security, Facebook is replacing affiliation-based permissions with a friendship-based alternative.

This solution better protects Facebook members. :-)

However, it also takes away an important targeting mechanism from honest business users wishing to find people in the regions where they operate. :-(

Thanks Ning for Duplicate Messages

If you and I are friends at several Ning sites, I probably send you duplicate messages. Since I can no longer share content across sites, I send the same information from several sites, and you receive that information multiple times. I try to minimize duplication but haven’t yet eliminated it.

Ning has made it less convenient for spammers. :-)

However, if a spammer is motivated enough, you’ll now receive their spam several times instead of once. :-(

Good-News Bad-News

The good news is that social networking sites will continue their efforts to safeguard the privacy and security of members and to create an enjoyable networking experience… great when we have on our networking hats.

The bad news is that more safeguards can mean more limited access to members, and when we have on our marketing hats… not so great!

What are your thoughts on this hot topic?

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Larry Brauner

As a top Twitter business user, I was sent an advance copy of the Twitter Power System for my review. Here are my observations.

The Twitter Power System is a very comprehensive set of videos, e-books, resources and tools.

New users learn how to set up an account and all the basics they need to get going. Experienced users learn how to craft powerful tweets, how to create viral tweets — and everything in-between.

Twitter Power System Content

Thirteen videos in the Twitter Power System learning center provide a total of three hours and 32 minutes of instruction:

  1. Account Setup - for new and even experienced Twitter users
  2. Twitter Basics - a how-to guide with the essentials for newbies
  3. Account Automation - using SocialToo and Tweet Later, two automation tools I love, and some important caveats
  4. Targeting Your Followers - how to target and use techniques such as sampling and testing
  5. Managing Your Followers - using FriendOrFollow, My Tweeple and Twitter Karma to manage followers.
  6. Tracking Your Twitter Links - how to use Cligs to shorten and track your Twitter links
  7. “Crafting” Your Tweets - the four elements of a tweet and how they all work together
  8. Finding Information to Share - using Google Alerts and other tools to discover useful information you can share
  9. Post on Autopilot - create your own content automation tool using Google Alerts, Cligs and Twitter Feed
  10. How to Use Twhirl - a desktop client such as Twhirl can offer greater convenience and capabilities than accessing Twitter directly from the Twitter.com domain.
  11. How to Use TweetDeck - ditto for TweetDeck.
  12. The Bigger Picture - a Twitter review that ties everything together
  13. Retweet System - creating viral tweets that can be retweeted easily with only two mouse clicks

E-workbooks such as the Getting Started Quickly Guide, Harness The Power of Twitter and the Twitter Power Tools Guide contain a total of 205 pages that serve to complement and reinforce the video presentations.

They discuss many useful strategies and the third-party tools that facilitate the implementation of those strategies.

There’s also a 54-minute podcast, Twitter Unwrapped, to download and enjoy on your computer or iPod. This interview with James Rivers, the founder of the Twitter Power System provides an excellent audio overview of the system.

Twitter Power System Thumbs-Up

I myself have written Twitter articles and spent much time studying and compiling Twitter resources for my article, Tons of Great Twitter Resources. Knowing much about the Twitter content available online, I can enthusiastically recommend the Twitter Power System to you.

I’d like to see greater detail in the varying approaches to meeting different business needs. I’d also like to see case studies. Nevertheless, the Twitter Power System is the best training venue I’ve seen so far.

I’m very impressed by the content and the quality of the videos, and I’ve already picked up ideas from them that are helping me to refine and improve my Twitter methodology.

You can follow me @larrybrauner.

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Larry BraunerI advised in The 80/20 Rule and Social Media not to spread yourself too thin trying to juggle too many social media sites at one time.

In this article I want to caution against another pitfall, falling in love with one social media site and putting all your eggs in one basket.

I’m not exactly sure why but I sense that many MySpace, Facebook and Twitter enthusiasts are married to their social networking favorite and reluctant to branch out.

Why NOT to Marry Your Social Media Site

Here are six ways you can benefit from a strategy that incorporates multiple social media sites:

  1. There’s a risk that your favorite site will decline in popularity, or that for a variety of reasons, some of your favorite people at that site may lose interest in logging in. If you connect at several sites or obtain personal contact information to network offline, your important relationships will be more secure.
  2. All social media sites allow you to share information and files, but each has its own unique structure and set of features. If you use several sites, these sites can complement each other’s functionality.
  3. No two social sites attract the identical people. Using several sites allows you to reach out to a greater number of people.
  4. Different sites attract different types of people. Using several sites allows you to reach out to a more diverse group of people and helps you to better target your social media.
  5. Using more forms of social media or more sites can favorably impact your web presence and your SEO efforts.
  6. The social networking masses tend over time to migrate from one site to another. If you’re lucky enough to have a head start on a site where they land, you might conceivably succeed at leveraging that head start to your advantage.

At the time I decided that a Twitter presence was valuable, I was happy not to be starting from scratch. So too with Facebook, when I started my new Facebook Page, I already had more than 500 Facebook friends.

To make it easy for you and I to connect, I set up a Connect page that includes all the social networking sites where I’m either very active or very established. Connecting on my favorite social sites will help us to communicate and will also help you to build your social media presence.

Important Heads Up Regarding Facebook

Facebook was in the forefront of online social networking news last week. Major changes were announced that make Facebook business pages more similar to Facebook personal profiles, and they make Facebook feeds more similar to Twitter timelines.

These changes are bound to further accelerate Facebook’s tremendous growth. Join me on the Facebook journey:

  • Read Facing up to the competition for a brief overview that references a variety of social media news blogs covering the Facebook story.
  • You can also download the Facebook Pages Product Guide directly from Facebook.
  • Visit my Facebook Page and add yourself as a fan. I will be able to publish information to your Facebook news feed, and you will be able to help me spread the word.
  • Join me on Let’s Follow Each Other, a social networking and training community to help build your presence and your relationships on Twitter and Facebook.

Linking More Easily to Facebook

A shortcoming of Facebook is its awkward linking structure. A Facebook link might perhaps appeal to a U.S. Library of Congress file clerk or to a CIA operative, but that’s about it.

You can create a simpler and more memorable link using the Facebook web address application. If you’re a Twitter user, SocialToo might be a suitable alternative. Either choice will help enormously.

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Larry Brauner

This is my final blog post for 2008. I have enjoyed our interaction this past year.

Thank you. I learned a lot.

I look forward to more give and take in 2009.

Thinking Outside the Box

In 10 Not Simple Success Strategies for 2009 I stated, “What worked in the past may no longer work in the present economy. You may have to make some tough personal or business choices going forward.”

Thinking Outside the BoxTo succeed in 2009 we need to be flexible and to think outside the box. According to Wikipedia, thinking outside the box is “to think differently, unconventionally, from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking“.

I hope to help you think outside the box and navigate through some of the challenges and choices that lie ahead.

If you don’t yet subscribe to this blog, I ask you to subscribe now. Let’s stay “on the same page” as I continue to publish thought-provoking and hopefully outside-the-box articles on a broad range of topics.

Networking Outside the Box

If you are not yet a member of Critical Thinking Outside the Box, my no-spam online social network, please join now. This social networking site is a place where you and I can share ideas and network with each other.

Set up your profile there and add me as a friend. That way you can contact me whenever you wish.

By starting discussions and participating in existing discussions on the forum, you’ll brand yourself as a leader. If you’d like to become a featured leader on the site and have me promote you there, send me a message and we’ll discuss the details.

Marketing Outside the Box

Online social networking and social media marketing are still very much in their infancy. We’ll see plenty of growth and change in 2009 and beyond. To market outside the box you’ll need to keep abreast of online and social marketing changes, and you’ll need to keep learning new skills.

Affiliate University Marketing TrainingOne excellent training and support program that I highly recommend to learn and implement new marketing ideas is Affiliate University.

Founder Bill Hibbler is a successful Internet marketer and an excellent instructor. Bill along with Dr. Joe Vitale is co-author of Meet and Grow Rich: How to Easily Create and Operate Your Own “Mastermind” Group for Health, Wealth, and More.

The Affiliate University training program has ten modules, and more will be added in the future.

Additionally, I’m starting a marketing clinic to complement the Affiliate University curriculum and help you through the rough spots as you put what you learn to use.

Achieving Outside the Box

Setting and following through on goals require ongoing support from peers. Mastermind groups provide that support and have long been known to increase focus and speed movement towards achieving objectives.

Affiliate University will start you on the path to forming a mastermind group. After teaching you the basic concepts and mechanics of mastermind groups, their forum will help you connect with prospective members for your group. I will help too.

If you believe that you can benefit from one-on-one mentoring, I offer special consulting rates for my “inner circle”. See the bio and endorsements on my about page for information about my qualifications.

As usual, feel free to comment on this blog post or ask questions… And let’s have a great year!

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