Networking Online — Strategically

By: Cindy W Morrison

You’re at a cocktail party and there’s someone you want to meet. So you set you sights on that person, work your way across the room and you finally meet face-to-face. You don’t want to seem too anxious, so you play it cool.

Football? Sure, you saw that game. Weather? Yep, rain makes your flowers grow but it doesn’t really work well when you’re trying to get to work and your umbrella turns inside out. You look for your “in” — and you go for it.

Sure enough, the next day you get a note from that “big wig” you met at the party — and he liked what you had to say. Yes, he tracked you down. Not only are you now on his radar, but he also wants to know more about your business. Or even better, he wants to do business with YOU.

That’s the ideal networking situation, right?

But what if I told you the cocktail party was a virtual room and you never actually met? You might think I’m crazy, right? If I didn’t have proof that it exists, I might think I was crazy, too.

Networking strategically through social media not only works, but it can expand your potential past your town, your state and your comfort zone.

Here’s an example. I read on Forbes.com that was one of the top websites for women. So I marked that on my “I want to meet” list. Silly? You bet, but since I’d signed up for Twitter, I had decided not to let it take over my time unless it was worth it. Time is money and I didn’t want to waste it.

So one night during the Golden Globes, I struck up a conversation with @StartupPrincess. She tweeted that she liked Sandra Bullock’s dress. That’s funny because I did too! And so it began. I was at my in-laws house and no one was interested in the Golden Globes except me and my Twitter friends. So, @StartupPrincess and I became friends. We chatted off and on during the night. What we liked. What we didn’t like. No talk about what either of us did for a living.

But obviously something struck a chord with @StartupPrincess because she checked out my profile on Twitter (attached to my Tweets) and suddenly I had an email on Monday from the site, asking me if I’d like to be one of their FairGodmothers — their answer to a contributor.

Would I? I could barely answer the email fast enough! Of course I would love to be a part of. That was my first real “get” on Twitter.

If that was my first real “catch”, the next one was a whale. I had long admired Tory Johnson from Good Morning America: her no-nonsense approach to getting a job is second to none. I’d worked for ABC stations for the last 20 years, but Tory and I had never met.

However, she was on my “wish” list. She was someone I wanted to meet — not just because of her contacts but because of the wealth of knowledge I felt she could pass along to me.

I have no idea what Tweet got us communicating, but I’m pretty sure it was something concerning women and business since that’s what Tory’s all about. I either forwarded what she said to my peeps (called a reTweet) or I answered something that she’d posted. Either way, she responded.

I remembered being so impressed. Yes, I’d spent 20 years in TV, but I was thrilled a network gal noticed me. So we began to chat via Twitter. She’d post something I liked, so I’d reTweet it. I posted something she liked, so she’d share it with her followers. But it didn’t stop there. Our Tweets turned into real emails of communication.

That’s what some folks don’t get about social media. Does a Tweet or a Facebook post make a relationship? I hope not. But it is like that cocktail party and takes away the anxiety of a ‘cold call’.

You get a chance to meet briefly and if there’s something there, you can take it to the next level. Could it be as simple as looking at your Twitter profile to figure out if there’s someway to mutually benefit each other? Absolutely. But my connection with Tory turned out to be so much more.

Tory is not only about helping women get jobs but now she’s also all about helping entrepreneurs and women business owners make sure their paychecks equal their potential. Boy, did that resonate with me! I had a book out and was touring the country speaking, but my income didn’t reflect the amount of work and energy that I put into my business.

That’s what Tory and I began to talk about in emails, which lead me to speak at her first Spark and Hustle convention in Atlanta last summer.

I met Tory for the first time on the opening day. She was reserved, kind and full of encouragement. The whole time, I tried to remember her slogan – How to make your paycheck (finally) equal your potential.

I spoke to the convention attendees about rebounding with gusto, which I was familiar with, but during the rest of the conference, I sat there taking notes on increasing revenue streams, collaborating with women to make money and looking at The Bog Picture. It was a game changer for me.

I left that conference last July empowered and ready to change my financial bottom line… which I DID! And I began to think about how I could get that information to so many of my fellow entrepreneurs in Oklahoma.

That’s why I was so excited when Tory announced a national tour of her Spark and Hustle conference. So, I began to “bug” her about bringing that incredible conference to my peeps at home. Tory never mocked me or told me my area was too small, she just listened and I prayed.

A few weeks later, Tory announced that Tulsa would be among the venues for Spark and Hustle’s National Tour. I was as giddy as a school girl. Not only that, but she was willing to work with me in a way that would benefit my financial bottom line. WOW!

What started out as a simple Tweet had turned into a business deal with someone I admired. What more could you ask for? Tory has become a business partner, a mentor and best of all, a Girlfriend.

Email me at Cindy@CindyWMorrison.com and I’ll send you five steps to making a real business connection on social media. I’m a living example that this works AND can make you connections that increase your income.

About the author:  Cindy W Morrison is an Emmy Winning TV Journalist, Speaker/Author/Consultant.  To learn more about Cindy visit her website:  www.cindywmorrison.com