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Have You Ever Considered Networking Virtually?

By CL Reed

Leaving your home or office to attend a networking event may not always be convenient or economical.

There are many ways to network other than just physically attending an event. One of the many ways to increase your networking reach is online. Below are some ways to create the most successful online networking events.

The best way to ensure a great online networking event is to BE PREPARED ahead of time!

Understanding that when you do networking online, participants are busy people who are constantly on the move, there are some important steps you need to put in place even before you begin your online interaction.

Let’s start with audio quality. Poor quality audio is a killer. It is incredibly frustrating for audiences, who are interested in your content, to struggle to hear what you have to say. There is no quicker way to get audience members to drop off of your online networking event than poor audio quality. Additionally, bad audio conveys an unprofessional presentation, which can lead to similar perceptions of your company as a whole. It is simply too important to leave to chance.

Next time you present, follow these important guidelines to ensure great audio:

  • Sound check speakers 60 minutes before the online networking event so that you have time to address any issues with audio quality
  • Never use cell phones or speaker phones.
  • Use a good-quality handset or headset.
  • Work in a small room; big rooms often have an echo.
  • If in a room with a wood or tile floor, position yourself on a large carpet to absorb echoing.
  • Turn off air conditioning, heaters or other noisy devices. You may think they can’t be heard over the line, but they can.
  • If your cell phone is in the room, turn it off so it doesn’t ring during the presentation.
  • If you are using a room in your office building, place a DO NOT DISTURB sign prominently on the door so co-workers don’t barge in unexpectedly.

O.K., you’ve checked your sound quality now make sure that you have a simple agenda (sent out prior to the event if possible). Develop a list of attendees that you can share with your other online networkers either via email or using the “view screen” function depending on which online face-to-face service you use (i.e., Skype, Google Hangout, Welcome to Webinar, etc.). Ensure their name, company, email, website and phone number are accurate. These can either be shared in the comments by attendees or yourself should individuals request the info while you are in your online networking event.

Set a timer so that you can stay within the appointed time you have setup to host your online networking event.

Remember to treat your online networking event just as if you were meeting publicly, face-to-face. Dress appropriately, wear your professional name tag, be warm and inviting, conversational but not overbearing, respect each person’s speaking turn, but most importantly enjoy the connecting.

Networking virtually online is a great opportunity to reach out to other networkers and potential long-term clients and friends globally. You are no longer limited be geography.

CL Reed is a mother, solopreneur, consummate networker, introvert, jewelry designer, woman entrepreneur uplifter and defender of the underdog. If you want more tips & tricks regarding Networking on a Mission with a Purpose and a Passion she can be reached at: asuitecollaboration@gmail.com and followed at A Suite Collaboration on Facebook or ASuiteCollab on Twitter

Rihanna Engaged

Not like jumping the broom engaged, but social media engaged (connected to her audience). She has mastered connecting on social media and has millions of followers. She utilizes social media to brand, market and engage with her followers. She is fabulous, funny, and feisty. She recently created a fashion line with Puma and founded a nonprofit “The Clara Lionel Foundation”, named after her grandmother (that fights against injustice, inequality, and poverty, provides education for families and students). She regularly and actively communicates with her fan base. Her fans also create social media accounts and webpages with large amounts of followers and events. Social media is the modern day version of the fan club.

Rihanna is a powerful connector and influencer. If you are building your business, make a smart move and think of businesses that have an audience that is similar to your audience demographics and create a partner alliance. Partner alliance marketing is when two or more companies benefit by promoting each other’s brand. Alliance partners can promote and sell each other’s products and services. Rihanna’s star power connected to any brand can make the sales soar. Of course, Puma is a recognized brand also. But, Puma and Rihanna’s business relation is advantageous, increases sales, and refers customers back and forth. Social media can make it an easy task. Partners can create social media post giving a shout out to your partner’s products and services highlighting how the product is beneficial and useful. You can also share post to your audience. Because your endorsements become a reflection of you, be careful what you align yourself.

Use hashtags to find alliance partners and influencers.

Hashtags are a word or a phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic. When you include hashtags in your social media posts, you and others will be able to search for the hashtag and track what people are saying and how they feel in regards to the hashtag. Some examples of post with hashtags.

Blue World Travel ‏@FestivalAtSea Oct 27
It’s National Beer Day … are you #cruisedreaming yet?

Dwayne Johnson ‏@TheRock Oct 25
45,000+. Biggest event ever of its kind honoring our troops & their families on American soil. #RockTheTroops #JointBasePearlHarborHickam

Hashtags help you track your company, products, services, people, and marketing concepts. They help you to engage with your target demographics, identify what people are saying, and increase your brand awareness. Use social media to search for hashtags and you could find influencers based on your contextual needs. For example, if you’re looking for influencers to promote your wedding photos, search for hashtags related to brides and find potential alliance partners.

Identify potential alliance partner deals?

Identify products to jointly promote and sell a product, service, or even a concept. For instance, if you are a photographer who could be your alliance partner? You could align yourself with wedding dress shops, event halls, cake makers, etc. You can share each other’s website articles and post. Find influencers with audiences and amplify your message and spread your content:

  1. Create a list of potential alliances – What companies have audiences similar to your target market? Make sure you choose non-competitive alliances.
  2. Can you identify technology alliances to promote a new device or concept?
  3. Can you broaden your reach into new markets? Complimenting other company’s products and services.

How can you begin to do Rhi like alliance partner deals? Here are just some of the tools that you can use for research:

  • Geopiq Find local Instagram influencers – Listen and monitor local Instagram influencers’ communication close to you. Narrow down your research to an area or specific hashtags
  • Followerwonk – Create a list. This tool by Moz makes it easy to find relevant influencers by topic and location on Twitter. It’s a great way to build a list of potential influencers to target.
  • Social Mention – Research the competition, influencers, and topics from various social media networks for free.
  • Hootsuite – Use this tool to follow multiple networks and profiles, engage with alliances, and share content.
  • Hootsuite’s Search Streams (free tool) – Create list of influencers and see what they are talking about.
  • Instagram app -TrendSpottr – Research hashtags, topics, and influencers.

She has successfully expanded her brand. Even those who are not her fans are so shocked they have to at least take a peek at her to see what she is doing. She knows alliance marketing and demonstrates it well. Alliance marketing that includes star power is like attaching your marketing to a rocket. Who are the stars you can align yourself with? Don’t forget about local stars.

Rihanna’s Link(s):

How do you extend your reach by aligning your brand with influencers? Leave your comments on blog for this article.


Author Information

Kat Shepherd is a traveler, entrepreneur, author, and business skills trainer and for over 30 years she has worked as a business and computer professional. She provides training that can help you to stay in business, grow your business, and have a better quality of life. Mrs. Shepherd’s business www.TheUltimateProfessional.com provides training in internet marketing, business skills, and computer software. Kat is a dynamic speaker that incorporates an energetic unique style to engage her audience.

Kim “Kat” Shepherd, CEO
The Ultimate Professional, Inc.
Contact me at @kimkatshepherd on social media
Ultimate Sales Professional logo Facebook logo Twitter logo
Adjunct Professor at UCR Riverside Extension
(951) 236-6969

Networking on a Mission with a Purpose and with Passion!

4 Reasons Why You Must Network to Grow Your Business

By CL Reed

Often people view networking face to face negatively because they are introverted or they don’t truly buy into the benefits of practicing this activity.

For me, networking is something I really love and want to encourage others to participate in. So I stopped to think, why do I love it and what do I do differently that makes it a positive experience for me?

I don’t approach a networking opportunity as drudgery (note I said opportunity – I’ll get back to that in a second). I don’t view networking as simply chatting with someone at an event, exchanging business cards and then never following up, or only attending to see what I can get out of somebody.

When I attend an event, I always have a goal – to increase my circle of influence by meeting diverse people, learning something new and to see how I can be of assistance to others.

I truly enjoy connecting with people from all walks of life, and my network extends across the globe. It has helped me create a long standing business in my community, develop lasting relationships and create a pool of referral resources.

When I network, I try to learn from others’ life experiences by asking questions and listening. As they share their story I learn from what they have done right or wrong and I try to learn how I can avoid their missteps. One of the rules I live by is: don’t reinvent the wheel – just improve it. By asking questions, listening intently and taking mental notes, I and those I refer, may avoid unnecessary and costly mistakes. I also mentally file what lane they are in so that I can later refer others to them and their services, should a need arise.

For me there are four points to keep in mind when you’re connecting…

1. Go to Give…Not to Get

If you want to network effectively, you need to show genuine care.

If you can relate to someone for who they are, rather than a prospect, and connect with them as a person, not just for what they do in their business, then you’re much more likely to be memorable to them, and have a successful interaction and long term mutually beneficial relationship.

People are already suspect of you and will naturally be on guard. They will expect you to ask who they are, what they do, where they work and what their position is. The best way to genuinely connect with someone is to approach them with your best smile and compliment them. A smile puts people at ease and is a universal language.

2. Listen Without Interruption

When I meet someone and listen intently, I sometimes ask them how I can be of help. Sometimes, just listening is THE help. They’re often surprised as some people never offer help – and they have to stop for a minute and think what would really benefit them. They might want to talk through a challenge they’re facing in their business or personal life, or I might be able to connect them with someone who could assist them. This now gives me an opportunity to connect with them in the near future to offer assistance, a referral or just a follow up.

It’s a great way of building goodwill, a good reputation and it’s a nice feeling to help others. I enjoy helping people, and I know that if I need support from my network, I can call them and they’ll respond, because they know I have done, or would do the same.

3. Don’t Talk Distractedly, Hold People Hostage or Let Them Hold You Hostage

Truly connect with people by keeping a person’s gaze (blinking on occasion). Do not look around the room or down in your glass – trying to figure out who your next ‘target’ is. Entertain a brief but engaging and informative conversation and then continue making your way around the event so that you can make several meaningful contacts. Also, don’t let others hem you in a corner or physically grab your arm and hold you hostage to their conversation (and bad breath), just because they are lonely, nervous and long winded. Firmly, but graciously excuse yourself by indicating that you would like to connect with a few more people before the end of the evening (blah, blah, blah).

I am a natural connector. I enjoy introducing people to each other and helping them to figure out how they can mutually benefit from a new connection. Questions you can ask yourself are: what two people can you connect in your network? As I talk, connect and network with people I am always thinking at the back of my mind who might be useful to the person I’m speaking to.

4. Consistency

You can’t expect to be successful at networking if you only turn up to a formal monthly event once or rarely to others. To form long term relationships, consistency and variety are key. The benefit of going regularly is you get to know people on a personal level, you build relationships and friendships, and it feels less like networking and more like catching up with friends. Don’t just attend any and all networking events. Visit a few general informal gatherings and plenty of industry specific ones. You don’t like eating the same thing for dinner every day right, then why restrict your networking to just one group or gathering. Try groups on like you try on clothes. Try them on and see if they fit, catch the vibe and see if you jive. After all, we are talking about bringing individuals together from all walks of life. If you don’t feel that you are learning, growing, connecting or being heard, then that is not the set networking group for you.

People like to do business with those they know, like and trust! Take the time to get to KNOW people and this will help you in building your network before you need it.

Remember when I said “networking opportunities”? Well, I believe you don’t have to just attend a formal networking event to “network”. No matter where I am and what I’m doing, I take time to connect with people. I start with a friendly hello. I look for something on their persons to compliment. I chat up people in the grocery store, gas station, in line somewhere…anywhere, almost anytime is a great opportunity to “network”. Remember, it’s not about what you can get from the interaction – it’s what you can give to the other party. Try it!

CL Reed is a mother, solopreneur, consummate networker, introvert, jewelry designer, woman entrepreneur uplifter and defender of the underdog and if you want more tips & tricks regarding Networking on a Mission with a Purpose and a Passion she can be reached at: asuitecollaboration@gmail.com and followed at A Suite Collaboration on Facebook or ASuiteCollab on Twitter

Beyoncé: Five Fabulous Social Media Strategies Used by Queen B

1. Give your audience what they want

Beyoncé posts pictures of herself, family, and gives her audience a glimpse of her work. Her fans engage by liking, commenting, and sharing her content. What do your customers want to see on your social media channels? What compels them to engage? Identify you and your competitors’ top performing social media posts and produce more of the same. Monitor how well those post are doing and adjust as necessary. Your goal is to obtain likes, shares and comments. Your audience will SEE more of your posts as they engage with your posts. So you must create content that is engaging fans will like, share, and comment.

2.Give your audience what they need

Simply put Beyoncé’s fans want her. They want to see her in action and follow her success. Make sure that you create a social media calendar to align with your business goals. Refer to your business plan and marketing plan, then create a social media plan. For instance, if you can use February to promote all things love. You can also showcase one of your products and services during February by education, fun fact, success stories, tips, and ads. Don’t forget, this should not be overdone. Entertaining and engaging posts will get more attention. In fact, if you advertise too much, people will silence your post. Promote the campaigns using advertising posts and educational posts in pictures and video since fans are more likely to see them in their feed. What is your core message? Make sure your social media channels don’t become never ending commercials and balance your core message with engaging content.

3. Control your message

Content creation takes time and should be thought through. Beyoncé uses video and photos on all of her accounts to communicate her various messages. She doesn’t communicate daily but effectively and she controls her message. Tell your company’s story using text images, and video, background images, slide shows, and specific choice of words – Control your message. If there is something going on, become your own PR team. Whether positive or negative control the message. Video is king and is one of the best tools in social media. Think about “BET”, “MTV” and in general cable how people are consumed with the stories told. Storytelling is not new. Think about it, even the old caves had drawings on them – The first social media post.

4. Choose the best social media for your brand

Beyoncé uses images to communicate via Instagram primarily and also has an active Facebook account. She has over 82 million followers on Instagram and almost 65 million Facebook likes. She rarely communicates via her Twitter account – this is not where her audience spends time and the character limitation does not work for her. Below are some questions to help you determine what social media channels to use?

  • Where do your fans spend time on social media? In general, Facebook has the most activity, followed by Google+, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
  • Which social media networks does your audience use?
  • What social media networks does your industry, competition, and alliance partners use?
  • Which social network is your target market highly dependent on?

5. Create buzz around your people, company, products, and services

Educate your target audience on your business culture, people, company, products, and services. Think about ways you can create suspense, exclusivity, make product teasers, and intrigue. Check out social media channels of your competition, and movies, and stars to get ideas. Identify Facebook and LinkedIn groups related to your product. Solicit opinions, create discussions, gather opinions and provide useful information. Create anticipation about upcoming events, production releases, news etc. Videos and images can showcase and create anticipation on your new products and services. Create a hashtag associated with your upcoming offering.

  • What are the hashtags used in your industry?
  • What is your hashtag?
  • Use your hashtag on all of your marketing material.
Author Information

Kat Shepherd is a traveler, entrepreneur, author, and business skills trainer and for over 30 years she has worked as a business and computer professional. She provides training that can help you to stay in business, grow your business, and have a better quality of life. Mrs. Shepherd’s business www.TheUltimateProfessional.com provides training in internet marketing, business skills, and computer software. Kat is a dynamic speaker that incorporates an energetic unique style to engage her audience.


Author Information

Kat Shepherd is a traveler, entrepreneur, author, and business skills trainer and for over 30 years she has worked as a business and computer professional. She provides training that can help you to stay in business, grow your business, and have a better quality of life. Mrs. Shepherd’s business www.TheUltimateProfessional.com provides training in internet marketing, business skills, and computer software. Kat is a dynamic speaker that incorporates an energetic unique style to engage her audience.

Kim “Kat” Shepherd, CEO
The Ultimate Professional, Inc.
Contact me at @kimkatshepherd on social media
Ultimate Sales Professional logo Facebook logo Twitter logo
Adjunct Professor at UCR Riverside Extension
(951) 236-6969

5 Ways Kevin Hart Uses Facebook Live to Brand His Business

Kevin Hart, Ride Along Red Carpet Premiere, Sydney Australia; photo by Eva Rinaldi

By Kim Kat Shepherd
Owner, The Ultimate Professional Business Training
Instructor at University of Riverside California Extension

Kevin Hart is an internet marketing sensation. He uses Facebook Live to connect with and grow his fan base. His social media channels are exploding with millions of viewers. Facebook live is the hottest video live-streaming platform. Kevin engages with his audience and over the years has created a massive following using social media. He has mastered internet marketing. Hart absolutely understands branding and viral marketing and demonstrates this with every social media post and video.

What are Facebook Live videos and how can they help you?

Facebook Live videos are real-time videos that appear as posts on your News Feed. When viewers watch the live video, they can comment and interact by tapping Facebook reactions (reactions represent “like”, “love”, “ha-ha”, “wow”, “sad”, and “angry”) to express feelings throughout the live broadcast. Users can also subscribe and will be notified the next time you broadcast your video.

Facebook Live tips to help you connect with your target audience

  1. Timing is critical – Of course, Kevin is a star and he can capture the attention of his fans easier than most. Kevin Hart, sends out many of his posts in the afternoons, evenings, and on Sundays. There is no magic time for all audiences. Check your Facebook Insights to see when your audience is on and broadcast during those times. I am sure Kevin Hart is tired but he still finds time to connect and uses Facebook Live video often. He varies his deliveries and connects throughout the day and even takes you on his travels. Facebook Live improved the features and it is wonderful. https://www.facebook.com/hartkevin/videos/10153619400097045/
  2. Personalize your communications – Engage your viewers and address them by name, read their comments aloud and answer questions. Say hello to viewers and use their names as they enter your Facebook Live sessions. Encourage them to leave comments and ask for suggestions during broadcasts. Notice how Kevin engages with his viewers. He also gives time for viewers to connect. He calls his fans his “family” and “loved ones”. He takes his fans with him on a party bus to his movie premieres. https://www.facebook.com/hartkevin/videos/10153686023747045/
  3. Lights…Camera…Action – Make sure your lighting is good. Practice before by moving around the room. Avoid having light directly behind you, the image will be washed out. Notice how the lighting affects Kevin’s image as he moves around the room. https://www.facebook.com/hartkevin/videos/10153720851902045/
  4. Make sure your connection is good – You need a good connection to broadcast video so make sure you have a solid Wi-Fi or data connection. Be the connection also. Again, love him or hate him he connects with his audience by inspiring, telling funny stories, and being human. https://www.facebook.com/hartkevin/videos/10153716365522045/
  5. Promote Your Brand – He calls his Facebook Live feed K-Hart TV. He tells his story while letting his fans know what he is working on. He takes his fans on his journey. He lets you know about his ups and downs. https://www.facebook.com/hartkevin/videos/10153630800632045/

Some Tips on Humor and Internet Marketing

  • Have you ever told a joke and no one laughs or it was inappropriate? So be careful. Here are some tips for using humor in internet marketing and video marketing.
  • Include pop culture references
  • Use a laugh track like the pros in videos
  • Create your own cartoon strip
  • Animate your content using products like GoAnimate
  • Include humorous statements in your content
  • Sponsor a contest and ask your audience to send you specific humorous content
  • Make sure your brand is not overshadowed by the humor
  • Choose funny people or outsource the project
  • Make sure that you tell a story
  • Know your audience personas and tailor humor to your crowd
  • Balance humor avoid offending your audience
  • Keep it short, simple, and clear
  • Use your phone and YouTube to create low cost videos
  • Find aspiring actors at local colleges for low cost or free
  • Combine humor and helpful tips
  • Address problems by describing how your product can help
  • Create parodies
  • Humor can be risky
  • Don’t Insult
  • It is not a good idea to mock your audience
  • Appear smart use witty humor
  • Sometimes ridiculous humor connects with audience
  • Quirky humor sprinkled with enthusiasm makes us laugh a little inside
  • Self-Depreciation goes a long way
  • Use humor to educate your customers – The best teachers are funny
  • Just get to it

Kat Shepherd’s Bio

Kat Shepherd is a traveler, entrepreneur, author, and business skills trainer and for over 30 years she has worked as a business and computer professional. She provides training that can help you to stay in business, grow your business, and have a better quality of life. Mrs. Shepherd’s business www.TheUltimateProfessional.com provides training in social media marketing, business skills, and computer software. Kat is a dynamic and powerful speaker that incorporates an energetic unique style to engage her audience. Call 951.236.6969 to book your training seminar today. Check out the current free webinar at www.TheUltimateProfessional.com/internet-marketing-webinar.

7 Tips on Starting a Business from Scratch

1. Believe in yourself
a. Remember your past WINS!
b. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP!!!
c. Write/Say Affirmations (In Present sense “I AM…”)

2. Write and update a business plan
a. Start off with a 1 Pager (if necessary)
b. Revisit and modify often
c. Let the smaller things change/evolve as business does
d. DON’T get distracted from vision (stay in your lane)

3. Surround yourself with great people
a. Attend Expos (you knew it was coming, lol)
b. Read business/self-development books
c. Attend Seminars, join Chambers, Toastmasters and Professional Organizations

4. Have a mentor
a. Be coachable
b. Be accountable
c. Pick someone who has travel the path you’re going

5. Stay focused and consistent
a. AVOID DREAM KILLERS (It’s your vision/dream)
b. Revisit your business plan
c. Don’t change core business model for fast results (A slow dime beats a fast nickel)

6. Stick to your core competencies
a. Remember your strengths/build on them (hire GREAT talent for other tasks)
b. Learn to say “No we don’t do that, that’s not my vision”
c. Collaborate with others

7. Take a long term view of building your business
a. Get riches quick schemes, makes the presenter (them) RICH and you poorer. Use common sense

6 Elements of Wealth

  1. Business
  2. Real Estate
  3. Precious Metals
  4. Annuities
  5. Equity
  6. Foreign Currency

[VIDEO] THOUGHT PROVOKING THURSDAY: Trades & Skills

Not long ago, there were many trade and technical colleges specifically designed for the Black Community so that at the turn of the century, they could transition from Domestic or railroad Pullman Porter work to that of someone with better hiring opportunities in the age of industry. Unfortunately today, many youth are unskilled or prepared for the workforce or to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The work ethic instilled in us by some of parents and mentors was not then passed down to the generation behind us. Many reasons stand out but two in particular are that we have not simply taken youth under our wing and shown them what needs to be done. Another reason is that we have become a disposable society and would rather throw things away then repair them.

What skill or trade do you have that you need to share with the Black Youth in your community?

Meet The 6 year Old Barber

Posted by We Are Teens on Sunday, March 13, 2016

[VIDEO] WISDOM WEDNESDAY: 5 Areas Of Cash Flow

What are the 5 areas of cash flow that you should be well versed in? According to KPFK/KCAA radio personality and Publisher/Producer of the Southern California Black Business Expo on Tour 2015-2016, Jerry L. Green – the 5 areas that should be focused on are C.L.E.A.R.

REVENUE CATEGORIES

[VIDEO] Get In Your Community’s Business

COMMUNITY EVENTS2

This Is Where You Let Everyone Get In Your Business

Southern California Black Business Expo (SCBBE) offers all businesses and community services in the Black Community a complimentary opportunity to list their business information, community events and available services in the SCBBE directory. This directory was designed to notify, inform, educate and bring the community together to help re-circulate the Black dollars into the Black Community.