In my first Found|READ post, How to Work the Room, I gave you tips on how to amp up your social graces for the business party circuit, because — a much as we might hate to admit it — a founder’s startup success depends almost as much on networking as it does on engineering skills. And since there is no such a thing as Social-Business Protocol, Found|READ has asked me to establish one.
This is Chapter 3: killer tips for how to network better in cyberspace a skill which may be more meaningful now than how you ‘work it’ in the real world. And here is one thing I know for sure: it’s about to become #11 on the list of Business Skills Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You. So get out your pen…
1) Alligator Arms. Don’t pull punches, so post what you know. UCMS had credit secrets that we’d speak but didn’t print for fear of losing bank customers. Duck9 sacks up and step to real content.
2) Make Your Blog A Vacation. That last thing readers need is more work. My friend James Hong (whom Found|READ wrote about here) started a website called HotOrNot.com so that guys working in cubicles would be able to check out girls after lunch. Ideally, your blog should transfer people to worlds they don’t normally go to, just like James’ does, even if it is only temporary. (HotOrNot.com is great cuz when I take the gf to Napa, I see maybe one decent chicka at the pool at Villagio.)
3) Celebrity-ify Your Blog. Every industry has “what the cool kids are
doing” press and pubs. Even conferences pull attendees using celebs. So keynote-ify your blog with celebs. This means writing a post about celebs this one, The 10 Commandments of Fake Steve Jobs, it means using celebs as guest hosts or guest editors. Nothing gets a traffic spike faster than a Natalie Del Conte interviewing a founder in Mountain View. That F|R post would’ve been even better if it had been written by Fake Steve Jobs himself!
4) Link Bait and Switch To Value. At duck9, we lure in students into
seminars with sex appeal and free pizza. (Wouldn’t get steamed up over my little yellow friend, at right?). Then we hit them with FICO credit education. Dennis Meunier, then VP of Marketing and later President of my first company, UCMS, wrote an entire chapter on using sex appeal in ‘Internet Marketing Secrets.’ The best relationships start with sex appeal and then get better!
5) Lever the Push Pull. Inside the Actors Studio is so good, it can make me watch an interview with an actor I hate. They even smarfed a geico ad (btw, Geico offers great insurance rates for duck9 students with FICOs over 750). Guy Kawasaki rocks the push pull when he interviews people on his blog, and check out this Found|WATCH video interview with Kawasaki for another exmaple of this.
6) Encourage Complaining. Comments.com wasn’t as popular as Complaints.com. Bloggers reload and reload to check comments. Get a bump up when you drive and stimulate complaining. Another technique I learned at Stanford VLAB from Scott Rafer. He says ‘give awards.’ (He also says Un-Sexy is Good Business, and you know how I feel about that! But Scott is a serial success and I consider him a mentor, so I’ll let this one go.) Scott’s point about awards is this: people who get awards reciprocate with link love. People left off, complain about it.
6.5) BTW… Compliments.com is even lower on the traffic totem pole than Comments.com So these are are 3 of the 4 forms of feedback. But I’ve saved the best for last: protest.com, which has been replaced by grassroots.org. Shock jocks have known the value of the ‘backlash’ for decades. Apply this to your blog and your comments (=traffic) will take on a life of its own.
6.5.2) Encouraging questions in the comments field of your blog is tough too. Just ask AskJeeves.
7) de-Anonymize Yourself. Take your mask and set it down. Reveal and confess as you work your Cyber Room. “I’m Larry Chiang, currently a 1.5-hit wonder.” Mask-less honest writing is cool.
8) Don’t Forget the Phone. Steven Schiffman, a peripheral mentor I met at NSA (national speaker association), teaches cold calling. Reach out and let your fingers plug your blog. It’s the oldest trick in the book for a reason.
9) Buy An Entourage. Invite people to the Cyber Room with adwords inbound links. VC Fred Wilson might go very far with his adwords inbound links, but you can outfox him. I’m talking about spiffs, rips and tips — #7 from my earlier post, 9 Things Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You.
10) Encourage The Conversation In A Real Room. Online is best when it drives real world interaction.
11) Let Them Eat Your Cake. I mean, let them rip, riff, cut-paste, and otherwise steal your content. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. (It goes both ways, see below.) So never be afraid to allow imitators and regurgitators to swipe your sound bytes. Remember, Quentin Tarantino only steals from the best.
12) Cut and Paste Genius. Chicago business legend Mark McCormack wrote one of my favorite books, the New York Times best-seller What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School. McCormack reinvented sports marketing. I wanna reinvent bank marketing, so this is where I take my own advice to cut-paste 9 Things At Stanford B-School Won’t Teach You into a tome of my own. I’d even cut-paste his obituary, except I plan to marry wife 2.0 first and skip marriage 3.0.
13) Get a Sponsor. Or a visual theme. Sponsors add legitimacy similar to when Sarah Meyers of PopSnap got TechCrunch as a sponsor. Themes help too. I love Dave McClure’s Pirates theme . BTW, I stole from him, too. Check me out with my product marketing for duckies!
14) Be the Home of the Free… eBook. As Found|READ put it previously, it’s effen good business to give sh*t away. A book, a party pass or a fleece in a contest. My free eBook is at 101Secrets.com. And remember, you can also leverage your RSS feed subs, by using them to invite your peeps to your future blog room parties.
How to Work the Room, Chapter 2, was contributed by Rich Moran and entitled: How to Work the Room 2.0: The Holiday Room. I encourage you to read it. Rich isn’t as crazy as me, but he’s funny too.)