My talk at it@Cork the other day was a jamming together of two topics that don’t really fit well, despite the Sunday Business Post having a section for it: Media and Marketing. Working with the media and getting in the media and Online Marketing aren’t exactly much of the same thing. Anyways a way I themed them together is about being connected.
Media relations is all about connecting to the right people to get your story out and the quality of the existing connection if you know the people already. Sometimes you don’t know them but they know you which can also help. An aspect of online marketing these days is also connecting. Connecting people in a company to people who live and breathe the online lifestyle and then connecting the company to their wallets, if you want to be coarse about it.
Right now because of the Internet, being the most intelligent or the most educated won’t make you the best in business, in marketing, in PR, in many many things. The ability of people now and for a good while to come is how connected they are. Pop culture says it all. Madonna is not the greatest female singing artist in quality or depth but she’s one of the most connected and someone who can reconnect again and again to people by monitoring zeitgeists. That’s why she sells so many records. There are far more talented people who go undiscovered day in day out but they’re not connected/not connected enough.
Were I an employer I’d make sure potential staff are on Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn and see how many connections they have. Those with loads of connections, I’d be more interested in. Each connection is the metaphorical foot in the door of a business and of an organisation. This is why some investment banks are getting it and getting allowing staff on Facebook: They’re connecting with old college friends and buddies, a foot in the door in other firms. A way of attracting people into their firm perhaps or just to share knowledge.
Yesterday I was asked to talk to 4th year multimedia students and some masters students and one of the questions I asked was how many had blogs. Of the 16ish or so people in the room, one eventually said he had a photoblog. One blogger, in a multimedia class. He was also on Twitter. Hey Adam! Only half the class were on Facebook. Fuck me.
My main theme for them too was to get connecting. Via blogs, via social networks, via Twitter. Get out there and build connections. Immerse themselves in the river of digital bits flowing past themselves on all these sites. They don’t have to be edgecases, seeing and being at the point where people congregate and try out every single new web thingymajig but they should get stuck in to the basics, like social networks and blogs. For anyone wanting to work in Web media then they should be on Twitter, connecting to a large enough percentage of the web scene. Go where the crowds are.
Now back to the it@cork event. My argument/plea was for people to get themselves on LinkedIn and get connecting with people on it. Nobody in the room was connected to everyone else in the room. I mentioned Metcalfe’s law. The value of a network goes up as more devices get added:
using the example of fax machines: a single fax machine is useless, but the value of every fax machine increases with the total number of fax machines in the network, because the total number of people with whom each user may send and receive documents increases.
The more people you connect to, the better for you, but the more that they too connect to others, the better for you and them too. The better for all. The old-skoolers in business in Ireland think keeping your cards and your contacts close is good for your business. Yeah, if you’re a monopolist and have a crap product. Open your rolodex. Connect everyone on it together.
So fire up LinkedIn. Imagine if everyone in that room at the it@cork event were connected? Imagine if you connected to everyone at every event you attended? People seem to think adding others is wasteful. It’s cheaper to add someone now, learn a bit about them and dump them off your network then missing out on all the opportunities their connection might offer between now and when you realise their value through other means plus you might be of value to them, it’s not all take. Easy to add, easy to cull.
I’m going to start a series of pieces on LinkedIn next week, from the basics, to making the links more valuable, to using groups and answers, to running ads. In the meantime, why not look at your LinkedIn profile again and dust it off if you don’t use it a lot. Or create one if you don’t have one. It’s a very good business tool and a handy way of keeping in touch with old contacts. My LinkedIn details are on the right sidebar of this site.
And a video if all those words were too much.