Thursday, October 22, 2009

Online Business Networking Los Angeles

Great by Cliff Allen Business Networking Online who I had blogged about previously in Marketing, Startups and Networking in Los Angeles.  In this post, Cliff provides some feedback on what works when you move towards doing business networking online.  I'm trying to get the concept of visible networking going, so his feedback is really valuable.  Cliff's feedback:

Your idea of "Visible Networking" can help people take the "glad to meet you" networking to the next level -- "glad to know you" relationships. Then, face-to-face meetings and activities become much more valuable. I see Visible Networking as a series of conversations around blog posts, and encouraging a group of people to actively participate. It's like a dinner discussion where a topic is discussed, then the group moves to the next topic.

Yes, blogs has been touted as a place to have conversations, but Tony is doing Visible Networking by starting the conversation in a blog post, then continuing the conversation in the comments. And, since he's using a public blog anyone can join the conversation.

Cliff create a great image for the group.  It's as if we were getting together to have this conversation at a dinner, but instead we do it online.  I'm going to be working with people like Cliff and Steve Gilison (see Product Management for Startups in Los Angeles) and Tom Humbarger (see Social Media to Build Reputation and Reach Prospects) to create this online business networking group for Los Angeles.

Cliff also sparked an idea that along with using in a separate conversations sparked the idea that we should be using Southern California Tech Central as a means of helping to aggregate the conversation.  We can use could choose a hashtag (e.g., #obnla … Online Business Networking Los Angeles) and then bring together posts that include that hashtag.  This would be easy enough to do.  I'm not sure if it will add value at this point.

Ambal Balakrishnan who I've been talking to about interviews and content marketing as it relates to B2B marketing as well as discussing aggregation in B2B Marketing suggested that I should answer the following about this business networking group:

  • What topics will your "conversations" be about? i.e, focus?
  • What will the objectives of these "conversations" be? i.e, goals?
  • Most importantly - How will you and fellow bloggers keep these "conversations" going - without fatigue

The answers to these questions will be collectively determined, but my guess is that the conversations will be around web, software, social media, online marketing, startups, business development, etc.  For example, I think that looking at Startup Metrics and the implications around that would be a really interesting conversation.  Right now the conversation is about visible networking.

What are the objectives / goals:

  • Learning
  • Getting to know each other
  • Helping each other with issues we face
  • Referring business, people, etc. as appropriate

In terms of how we will keep these conversations going without fatigue, that's a great question.  We've had amazing success with the LA CTO Forum but more so in-person than online.  For an online business networking group, I believe if we do things that revolve around monthly themes and help push each other, we can get to critical mass and keep things moving.  But this is certainly a bit of an experiment.

I would very much welcome input on how we can make this effective.

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