Nobody believes me when I tell them that I am shy. If you were to engage with me over email or talk to me over the phone, you’d think I was this social butterfly. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Big crowds make me uncomfortable. Just the thought of walking up to a cluster of people talking to each other and “interrupting” them makes my heart pound loud enough that I think the whole room can hear it.
And yet, my best and highest return on marketing effort comes from the relationships that I’ve created and built online.
Link Out Helps You Build an Entourage – Not Just a Network
It’s my secret shyness that had me eagerly rip into the pages of my review copy of Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting Connections by Leslie Grossman. Because when it comes down to the nitty gritty, I’ve realized that reaching out to someone I don’t know on social media is a lot like walking up to someone I don’t know at a networking event.
I’m looking for better, stronger strategies of engaging with people in a friendly and authentic way that isn’t off-putting. And from the looks of it, Link Out is a great resource for that.
The first thing I noticed about the book was an important distinction that takes your network connections to the next level. Instead of building a network, Grossman urges the reader to build an entourage. The main difference between a network and an entourage is the depth and quality of the relationships.
Here is a table that I pulled from Grossman’s blog that describes the difference between “network’ (left column) and “entourage” (right column):
Here’s how Grossman explains it :
“Having an entourage puts each of us on the receiving end. An entourage offers us advice, new connections, recommendations and referrals for clients and customers, too. As I’ve shared previously throughout this book, the link out process works only when you consider it a two-way street.”
A Step-by-Step Process in 10 Chapters
A lot of business owners have social media accounts. Their struggle starts the moment they are forced to actually USE their accounts.
What do you write?
How do you connect with people you don’t know?
How do you leverage those connections once you make them?
Grossman has put together a process that is very focused on helping you achieve your business goals. This is a big plus for this book because it doesn’t leave you hanging and wondering what to do next. Just follow the process.
There are ten chapters in the book and each chapter takes you through the process of building this entourage of contacts and connections.
The first chapter introduces you to the concept of the entourage. The second chapter is where the rubber hits the road. Grossman takes you through the process of developing a social media marketing plan of sorts that includes a vision statement, personal vision quiz, success stories, marketing plan and give to get philosophy.
In chapters three through five, you are well into the process of recruiting your entourage; who to talk to, what to say, etiquette tips and many more specific strategies that will get you on your way.
The last chapters are all about putting the foundation that you’ve put together to work in building your business.
What I really liked about this book is its laser focus on business building. If you’re one of these people who has been randomly winging your social media, you are really going to enjoy what Linked Out has to offer.
Link Out is for Small Business Owners at All Levels
If you’re a newbie and have created social media accounts, but have been reluctant to post much or connect out, you will certainly benefit from this book. It’s a gentle and easy way to pull together your personal and business goals and use social media tools to achieve them.
On the other hand, if you’re experienced at social media but have hit a plateau in reaching out to new connections to grow your business, you just might discover some hidden low hanging fruit inside of Grossman’s process.
Oh, and one more thing, Grossman doesn’t just give out linking advice for social media. There are great business communication etiquette tips in there that are old school, such as:
“Say thank you three times, smile, keep your entourage in the loop on connections they’ve introduced you too.”
Grossman is the Relationship Expert for Today’s Small Business
Leslie Grossman is a leadership and business/career development expert and Chief Connections Officer of Cojourneo. She is the creator and Co-Founder of Women’s Leadership Exchange and founder of her own integrated marketing agency. She isn’t just a social media expert. Leslie Grossman is a business relationship expert. What sets her and her book, Link Out, apart from others is the focus on building profitable and focused business relationships.
Link Out is more than a book about building your referral network. It’s a book about how to relate in todays online connected marketplace and use those connections to build your business.
If you’ve been looking for practical ways to jump start your online referrals, Link Out is the book for you.