Your Local Free On-line Business Networking Resource - Inside919.com by Martin Brossman
If you are a business in the 919 area code, you may wonder where on-line to network.
It is free to join, allows you to form local discussion. It lets you list calendar events, have a blog so you can contribute useful articles, have a profile stating your business and it offers an RSS feed so you can keep up with it in your Blog Reader. By requiring you to live or work in the 919 area code and asking that people make at least one contribution a month, it keeps it smaller then the big guys offering a local connection. inSide919 and all the inSide Area Codes sites were started by Pat Howlett who moved from a small town to the RTP NC area and wanted to create a small town business networking feel on-line ( the first active group was www.inside919.com group, check it out ). Their is a inSide Area Code for every area code in the USA.
My networking advice for using Inside919 is totake a little time to join it, fill out the basic profile, maybe join a few groups that are of interest and connect to some people you know. Next just check in once a day, week or even once a month based on your time demands and the importance of a web presence. When you check in, look for ways to help others or contribute to a conversation that is occurring in a Forum or group. ( Also see Pat's video on your profile: Move Content around on "My Page" )
Notice that you canarrange the content on your page (My Page)by grabbing the title bar and moving it up or down. You want what is most important for people to know about your business at the top. For example, if you are a photographer it may be your photos.
Add your business name.To the upper right of your picture when you are on “My Page” you can click and change that text to the name of your business. Make sure you have your actual name and photo of you for the photo. This is because inSide919 focuses on the personal advantage a small business has and is why personal photos of people are required in the photo area.
You can add your Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook ID on your profile and make sure to include your work phone number. Check each one to see that they work after adding them.
I recommend a pictureand if you don't have one you like, pay a photographer for one good one. The good photographers can offer Photoshop touch ups if that makes you more comfortable. You can find one in InSide919.com as well.
Nextshare the site with good local businessesyou know to help them connect to others.
Do not SELLor pitch someone on “your wonderful widget” . This is about building business friends and alliances; selling will have a negative effect.
If you see someone you would like to learn more about, connect to them and maybemeet for coffee.
I like this group since Pat is a local person who truly wants to help the local business professionals and make it easy to participate. To me this can be one of the important pieces of your on-line presence and marketing plan.