5 December 2010

Location based marketing finally popular in Europe

Almost from the start of the very first Location Based Networks in 2008, they stimulated retailers to launch promo's for those customers who "checked in" at their local stores, pubs and restaurants.

During the first year I noticed lots of successful actions and promo's starting up in the USA and UK, some even nationwide (e.g. promo's of Starbucks, Domino's Pizza, ...)

Pioneer Foursquare has a great business page, listing the latest promo actions nearby.

It seems that after the summer of 2010 Belgium and Holland also noticed the positive aspects of these promo's and finally jumped on the wagon. Especially near larger cities, it happens more and more that when you check in somewhere, you'll be attended to "Special Promo" actions nearby.

Only yesterday I was attended to a promo by a local bookstore in Maastricht (NL) where they hand out free bestselling books to customers who have checked in to their store at least 10 times.

If you are active in retail or horeca ... take action now and get more customers.
Location based networks are very clever marketing tools and free to use !!!

27 October 2010

The Social Network

Today, Oct. 27, the hit movie '
The Social Network' hits the screens in Belgium.
This movie about the early days of marketleader in Social Networking Facebook has been hyped for many weeks now. The movie is based on the book 'The Accidental Billionaires' by Ben Mezrich.

Why should you be interested to watch this movie ?

- Because 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg is a self made billionaire, this year marked at #35 of the Forbes Billionaires List.
- Because Bill Gates was the man who brought the PC to our living room, but Mark Zuckerberg is the man who made us communicate on Social Networks.

Tonight I'll be doing a 30 minute presentation, introducing this movie at Kinepolis Hasselt.

28 September 2010

Privacy on Social Media (Video)

Just before the summer holidays I was booked for a Social Media workshop by Procter &  Gamble in Brussels.

Around that same time there were a lot of stories in the news about online privacy and more specific about how your employer would react when he sees your "wild weekend" pictures on Facebook.

In my opinion it's pretty simple if you use your common sense. Don't post it if you don't want it seen by everyone. In the video below I give you my view on this and also tell you how to use it to your profit !

Visit our video-channel at www.youtube.be/geertconard

22 September 2010

Essential tips to find a job on LinkedIn

1. Make sure your profile is complete

LinkedIn is, after Google, probably the most used tool to search for your name. Even when they only search for your name on Google, your LinkedIn profile will probably show up on the first page of results. You can make sure people will like what they find !

Use your profile to display your skills and talents. If your profile is 100% complete it will show you as an expert in what you do. Make sure you have added some recommendations and always list your job history.

A wise man once said : You never get a second chance to make a first impression … so make sure you have the impact you want !

2. Add a headline to your name

Your headline is the first thing people will see when you show up in the search results. Make sure it is clear. Tell people who you are and what you do.
Adding a headline will already position your profile above many others.

3. Add your job history

For networking reasons it’s always a good thing to add your past jobs, because people might remember you as “Mr. Jones of Coca Cola”. By searching on your name and this past job you will show up in the search results !
Also, it could be that the HR manager who searches for new people has a good experience with one of your former companies which might get you on top of the pile for this job.

4. Recommendations

In short : The more people that recommend your services, the better the result will be. If you have less than 10 recommendations, people will not take you seriously as a professional.

In online networking the first impression is everything, make sure to ASK for recommendations whenever you have the opportunity. When a client compliments you with a successfully ended project, immediately ask for a recommendation. He will probably be very glad to do you this small favor.

If you don’t give recommendations, you also won’t receive any. Make it a habit to give recommendations without being asked for them. Lots of people will copy the gesture !

5. Be open for connections

LinkedIn advises to only connect with people you know and trust. In my opinion this rule will make it hard to connect with potential employers or other people who could open the right doors for you.

When looking for a job, you just don’t know who might be your best connection to get to the people you need to talk to. If you connect with an open mind, you will automatically detect who can help you the best.

When you are proactively connecting to people, always include a decent message that tells why you want to connect to them. (Even if it’s just to grow your network for future opportunities)

If you connect by using the default sentence that LinkedIn provides, lots of people will ignore the request and don’t even bother to think if they already know you or not.

LinkedIn has a very strong feature which you won’t find on many other networks. When you search for someone you want to get in touch with, you will always find the people in your network who can be the ‘hot link’ between you and your target. You can ask those people for an introduction which will work far better than contacting them out of the blue.

6. Always send a clear message

Professionals always have limited time, so make sure your messages are clear and to the point. Being mysterious doesn’t work in social networking, make sure the facts are on your profile.

7. Don’t let your profile fall asleep

The people who are the least successful on LinkedIn are those who put up their profile and let it fall asleep.
Make sure your profile is always 100% up-to-date and take part in the conversations on the forums.

Each time you do anything on LinkedIn, your name will show up in the newsfeeds of everyone in your network. This will remind them of you time after time, triggering them to read your new content and take note of your updates.

8. Join Groups

“General networking” on platforms like LinkedIn is good, but adding niche networking to your efforts will increase your credibility as an expert in your trade. By taking part in the conversations around your field of expertise, people will notice your knowledge and skills.

Within these niche groups around a certain industry or topic there will also be a more intense kind of networking with a lot of interaction.

9. Start your own group

Once you have built a network of a few hundred people, you can start a group around your field of expertise and invite them to join. This gives you a platform to talk to your audience.

By sharing your knowledge people will return to the group and engage themselves in the conversations.

10. Be interactive

On LinkedIn there is a great feature called ‘Answers’, which gives you the opportunity to ask questions to your network. This is a very valuable feature for all entrepreneurs and jobseekers.

Keep an eye on the ‘Answers’ section and when you see a question in your field of expertise take part in the conversation and show your knowledge.

11. Connect to your other Social Media profiles

To create more action on your LinkedIn profile, you can connect it to other online presences on platforms as Twitter, Slideshare, your blog, …

By connecting your online profiles, you will drive visitors to each of those profiles, to your blog and your website. Visitors can become clients, suppliers, employers or just friends …. The more people you meet, the more opportunities will cross your way.

12. Do the magic thing

Connect people to each other whenever possible. If someone tells you about a need and you know someone who could be the solution to that need, connect them. It may not be a 100% solution to the problem, but it is always a 100% chance to solve the problem.

In most cases I don’t use LinkedIn for this, but I send an email to both people, introducing them to each other and sharing their contact details.

People sometimes ask me if I’m not afraid to harm my own reputation when connecting people together. If the match goes wrong it could potentially damage my reputation too. I think there are two ways of connecting people :

- I can connect you to one of my close contacts. A professional I know for years and I’m very certain he will deliver high quality. This match can’t go wrong.

- Maybe I don’t have any connection that can help you with problem, but I remember a guy I have met at a networking event a few weeks ago who might have the knowledge you are looking for. When I introduce this contact including this message, I remove the risk of getting burned. My contact knows that this is not a close and direct contact of mine.

You can’t buy a network, you have to build it yourself every day. On average, it takes 3 years to build a network that’s strong enough to support you. Don’t give up when you don’t see results immediately, once you have built your network and keep the contacts warm, you can keep the network for the rest of your life. LinkedIn is one of the strongest tools available to build your professional network.

20 August 2010

Breakthrough of location based networking

This week Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Places, their take on location based networking. From this week on available in the USA, other countries to follow soon.

I was probably one of the first people in Belgium who really believed in location based networking while many others laughed and said it was "just a game".
Today I see more and more businesspeople check-in to their workplaces, their favorite restaurants and bars and even promoting those by giving tips to other users.
Today I also see more and more business owners announcing 'specials' or promo's for customers who check-in on Foursquare or Gowalla. Yes, also in Belgium and also in my neighborhood !

It's good news that Facebook Places is not going to play solo in a move to conquer the market. I was happy to read that they open up the application to pioneers like Foursquare and Gowalla who can forward their check-ins to Facebook Places too.

It seems more than one good idea is born while drinking a beer in your local pub, and that's more or less what location based networking is all about. Getting together with your friends and promoting the places you visit. Location based networking is probably the strongest sample of peer promotion we have ever seen.

Business owners or large companies (e.g. Starbucks) are jumping on the wagon and see their revenue climbing because more and more people are battling to become the mayor of the location and receive something extra with their coffee.

Not all business ideas have to be rocket science ... just a plain and simple checkin tool can be genius too !

12 August 2010

KMO Marketingcongres 2010

(dutch posting)

Peter Desmyttere onder meer bekend van de Intac Internet Academy, organiseert op vrijdag 8 oktober 2010 in Edegem (Antwerpen) voor de derde keer het marketingcongres dat zich specifiek richt tot de Belgische kmo’s. De bedoeling is op één dag de marketing- en communicatiekennis van zelfstandigen en kmo’s een flinke stimulans te geven door praktische informatie te verschaffen die deze doelgroep aanspreekt.
De KMO-markt kent een eigen specificiteit en is zeer praktisch en no-nonsens georiënteerd. De meeste congressen, workshops en seminaries zijn voor deze doelgroep minder interessant omdat de presentaties niet aansluiten bij de leefwereld van de KMO's. Het KMO marketingcongres wil hieraan tegemoet komen met een programma dat onmiddellijk bruikbare kennis aanbiedt.
Het thema dit jaar is: Dichter bij de klant. Een actueel en nuttig onderwerp, want het is juist in deze concurrentiële tijden dat een goed contact met klanten een belangrijk onderscheidend voordeel kan geven.
Het programma is ook dit jaar zo opgesteld dat deelnemers buitengaan met concrete tips die ze meteen en zonder investeringen kunnen toepassen.

Het programma voor dit jaar:

08u30 - Onthaal met koffie
09u00 - Openingswoord
09u15 - 10 tips om een nieuw product in de markt te zetten - Tom De Ruyck
10u05 - Zo wordt winkelen kopen - Wim Stuyck
10u45 - Koffiepauze
11u20 - Herontdek de kracht van een persoonlijke brief - Geert Dehouck
12u10 - Hou bezoekers gevangen op uw website en maak ze klant - Marnik D’Hoore
12u50 - Lunch
14u00 - Start van het namiddaggedeelte
14u15 - Bespaar op marketingkosten: maak van uw werknemers uw ambassadeurs - Sandra Peeters
15u05 - Beter zakendoen met buitenlandse klanten - Luc De Haes
15u45 - Koffiepauze
16u20 - Ontevreden klanten op het internet: hoe ga je er mee om? - Sofie Verhalle
17u00 - Einde van het congres en networkreceptie

Meer info en inschrijven via http://www.kmomarketingcongres.be/

9 August 2010

The News is happening right now !

I have to admit I'm an information-junkie.
I watch the news on TV, read newspapers and scan the Internet for all possible info which might be interesting for me to digest.

How relevant and up-to-date are these information sources ? In general the answer wouldn't be too positive.

Watching the news on TV gives you an overview of what happened during the day, supplemented with highlights and reruns of what happened the day before.

The morning newspaper will bring you an overview of what was on the news the evening before, supplemented with smaller regional newsfacts. It's only in large cities like London and New York that you also find Evening newspapers, summerizing the regional news of the day.
Of course during the day I'm also browsing the websites of several newspapers to catch the breaking news and have a taster of what will be in tomorrows newspaper. That's how fast traditional media can go.
Status updates on Social Networks and microblogging tools like Twitter are bringing the news to me "when it's taking place". Twitter absolutely changed the speed in which news come to our ears.

The best part of Twitter are the tools that were invented by the users, like the hashtags.
Adding a hashtag at the end of your Tweet (=message) adds a searchtag.
A keyword which people can use to find your Tweet. This tags your Tweet and adds it to a specific group of messages (e.g. #golf, #marketing), to an event (e.g. #smc09), to whatever label you want to give it.

Sometimes you would really like to attend an event, but work decides otherwise. During the event in most cases nothing can be found on the official website of the event. Photo's and video's will be added much later ... if you're lucky.
Tuning in on the Twitter hashtag of the event gives you a good taster of what's going on.
You can read the live conversations sent from the event and even have a look at the occasional Twitpics. (Photo's added to Twitter messages)
In the past year I have tuned into several events this way which brought a large chunk of the information to my desktop.

The world has changed a lot since our grandparents were in their early twenties. But in my opinion it's the speed in which everything is happening what really changed. We need these new and fast tools to keep up with the speed of our world ... that is of course, if you're an infojunkie like me !

14 July 2010

Global Networking for World Leaders

Back in 2005, while I was researching for my first book ‘A Girlfriend in Every City’, I also read a Belgian reference book called “De Elite van België” written by Jan Puype, a journalist I recently met face to face in Antwerp.

This book was a summary of all clubs and networking organizations in Belgium at the time of writing. What fascinated me was the fact that it wasn’t limited to the typical Chamber of Commerce and Rotary kind of organizations, but Puype also disclosed a lot about more upscale organizations (e.g. De Warande, Cercle de Lorraine, … ) and even the more secret organizations like Masonic Lodges.

A few weeks ago I posted this movieclip about the Bilderberg group on my Facebook profile.

The Bilderberg group is probably the most top level networking group you can imagine, bringing together world leaders, statesmen, industry leaders and important international stakeholders.
The Bilderberg group was founded by the Dutch Prince Bernard in 1954, at Hotel Bilderberg in Oosterbeek (NL). This year the group gathered in a totally shielded and highly secured Hotel resort in Sitges (Spain). I’m not 100% sure if it’s true, but it’s said that Belgian Minister of State Etienne Davignon is now chairman of this group.

Each time this elite networking group gathers, there is a storm of protest from people who think this group is trying to create a new World Order, pulling the strings to every single government worldwide.

Another group which is accused of the same activities is Skull and Bones, founded at Yale University (Connecticut USA) in 1832. Only 15 new members are carefully selected each year during what they call ‘Tap Day’.
Although this group is covered in even more secrecy than the Bilderberg group, it’s well known that lots of Presidents and statesmen are members (e.g. George Bush, John Kerry, …)

For those people who think networking is not important or just a total waste of time, it might be stimulating to think about how our world is being managed through top level networks such as the two which are mentioned in this blog … probably there are many more !

12 July 2010

The Facebook 5000 friends limit

This weekend I ran into the Facebook 5000 Friends limit. In the last couple of weeks I had been receiving warnings because my friends-count together with the Pages I liked was already over 5000 and Facebook wants you to keep below that number.

The reason for this limitation according to Facebook is that nobody has 5000 real friends in life. If you have more connections you must be a celebrity and in that case you need a fanpage where your network can just click on a Like button to enter your network.

Nowadays newbies can opt to not have a personal profile and immediately choose for a Facebook Page (Some Belgian politicians did this recently). When I became a member of Facebook a normal user-profile was the only option available.

So the best option for me today was to start a Facebook Page, next to my profile ... and open the door for the next part of my large network.
Of course I can't do this without making a few humble suggestions to Facebook

- Get rid of this 5000 friends limit. Almost all online networks allow you to have as many connections as you want, they make sure that no tools are available that would allow to spam the whole list. I have over 20000 connections in my network, gathered over multiple online and offline networking groups. I'm only allowed to to let 25% of them connect to my Facebook profile which is weird !

- Why not offer an easy and userfriendly tool to transform your Facebook Profile into a Facebook Page ? Now I have to maintain and update two different pages on Facebook which doubles my time efforts

Anyway... as from now it's no longer possible to connect to my Facebook Profile, but feel free to Like my Facebook Page :-)

28 June 2010

Social Media Day 2010 - Mashable

The Nr.1 Blog on Social Media, Mashable, is organising Social Media Day 2010

Wednesday 30 June over 500 Social Media Meetups will take place all over the world.

I will be attending the meeting in Antwerp, which seems to be the second most popular after New York !!!

This is probably one of the most interesting networking events this year !

23 June 2010

Are your children safe on Social Media ?

Last week, after a workshop in Brussels, someone from the organisation of the event approached me with the question "Are my children safe on Social Media ?"

I think it's a sign of the times that we worry a bit too much. When I was a little boy, I was always out and about, playing with friends. Later, as a teenager, I only came home to eat and sleep.

A lot could have happened out there, but like most others I survived.

Yes, I'm pretty sure child abusers are using all possible tools to communicate with children.
In the old days they would sit on park benches and try to attract children with candy. Today they might start a conversation on one of the popular social networks among children and teenagers.

The good news is you have control. In the old days there was little or no control about who your children would meet on the streets. On a network like Facebook you have the ability to remove people from your network, block people and even report people which will bring them in trouble !

I would advice that until a certain age children would use the family computer which is placed in the living room where there is a lot of 'social control'.
Last but not least, you can also install Parental Control software which makes it easier to control the internet-usage of your children.

Conclusion : There will always be abuse because Internet is just a part of society. The good news is you have more means of control compared to the old days when children were out on the streets whole day long.

31 May 2010

Introduce yourself to your grandmother

An essential part of networking is introducing yourself to others.
This is often described as the very first part of the networking process, "Know Me" (Read more about this in Penny Power's book "Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me")

Introducing yourself might sound simple and easy but often isn't that simple at all.
As professionals in our trade we are used to talk to peers, customers and suppliers in our own industry. Typical tech-talk or jargon for your industry automatically slips into most conversations.

It's very important that you train yourself to be able to introduce yourself without using tech-talk or jargon at all. To make this even more clear :
Try to imagine that you would introduce yourself to your grandmother and she really needs to understand every single word you say.

I have read some books stating you need to introduce yourself in under 30 seconds, but I think that's cutting it a bit short. A professional 2 minute introduction is still very polite and can contain all the necessary information. Two minutes is the maximum time it takes an elevator to travel from the ground floor up to the penthouse of the investor ... dixit the "Elevator Pitch".

These are the essential parts of your introduction :
- Who are you ?
- What's your professional activity ?
- What exactly is the problem that you can solve ?
- What is the value that you can bring to your clients ?

If you are introducing yourself at a networking event, you might want to add a few extras to include the 'now' :
- What are you working on right now ?
- What are you looking for right now ?
- How can people help you right now ?

Last but not least :
Always network as a person. If you network as a company you will loose your entire network whenever you leave that company !

2 May 2010

Integrate and automate your status updates

Since Social Media is time consuming, we need to search for ways to integrate and automate most of the daily processes we use for communicating with our network.

Recently I was interviewed by a journalist for Bizz Magazine, the leading business magazine in Belgium for startups and small businesses. The result of this interview you can find in this article (in dutch) : http://www.friends-with-benefits.eu/images/press/BIZZ105.pdf

I want to share a few essentials in this blogpost :

For each connection you make between networks, try to use the most simple way to connect. For example, LinkedIn and Twitter have integrated direct routes to each other's networks.
In Twitter you can use the hashtag #in to include a status-update on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn you only have to cross the box next to the blue Twitter 'T' to include a status-update on Twitter.

The most popular broadcast tools for status updates are Ping.fm, TweetDeck and HelloTXT

As a 'heavy' user of Ping.fm I still think the best feature is the ability to update all my networks with a simple email message ... a lot cheaper than updating through a webinterface when I'm abroad !

All three mentioned applications offer more or less the same features, only Tweetdeck delivers an application that can be installed on your pc and also gives you a dashboard view on your most popular networks.

When constructing the routes for your status messages to be send from one network to the next, always watch out not to create loops or multiple posting errors !
Each message should only appear ONCE on each network or otherwise this will annoy your visiters and followers !
Integrating and automating your status messages is also a part of the workshop 'Social Media for Business'.

8 April 2010

The mobile revolution

Some techies will claim the real mobile revolution already happened years ago, but I can't help noticing how new mobile applications are popping up every day now.
Since my primary interest is Social Media, I couldn't miss the Social Media applications recently launched by the most popular online social networks.

The latest Blackberries are sold with the Facebook application already installed. If you missed it, it can be found here.

LinkedIn recently launched a full set of applications for Blackberry, iPhone and Palm operated cellphones. Other phones can still use the mobile site http://m.linkedin.com

The real mobile networks like Foursquare of course run 100% on their applications. Foursquare has developed apps for Blackberry, iPhone and Android. (They also have a mobile website in case you don't have a smartphone)

Xing even recognizes mobile devices and sends you directly to the mobile portal.

Ecademy doesn't have a mobile application ready yet, but they are working on an iPhone app to be launched soon.

Feel free to add links to other Social Network applications in the comments below !

29 March 2010

(Dutch) Persbericht : Businessclub M4M lanceert nieuwe netwerkformule

Businessclub M4M lanceert nieuwe netwerkformule

Nieuwe formule : M4M Business Advisory Boards

De meeste ondernemers gaan netwerken met enkele doelen voor ogen. Ze willen hun netwerk vergroten, zichzelf profileren, credibiliteit verwerven en indien mogelijk ook hun business stimuleren. Mits het spenderen van de nodige tijd en moeite zal je regelmatig doorverwijzingen krijgen vanuit je netwerk.

Voor het grootste gedeelte van de ondernemers is dit waar het om gaat bij het netwerken en dit verhaal is eigenlijk ook perfect gecoverd in het reeds bestaande aanbod van Managers 4 Managers. Als lid kan je immers elke maand terecht op een business meeting met een interessante gastspreker en het zeer succesvolle “Greet & Meet” concept.

We vroegen ons dan ook af op welke manier M4M nog meer kon bieden aan zijn leden ?

Een half jaar geleden werd Social Media expert Geert Conard (
www.geertconard.com) aan boord gehaald om het bestaande netwerkconcept te verfijnen en daarnaast een nieuwe netwerkformule te ontwikkelen.

Deze nieuwe formule ‘M4M Business Advisory Boards’ of kortweg ‘M4M BABs’ is voorgesteld aan de leden tijdens de meeting van de Antwerpse club op 25/03, in het bijzijn van de gouverneur van Antwerpen, Mevr. Cathy Berx.

Grote ondernemingen hebben het grote voordeel dat wanneer er zich een probleem voordoet, men snel een vergadering samenroept met alle directeurs of afdelingsverantwoordelijken en het probleem op tafel gooit.
In een mum van tijd geeft iedereen zijn inbreng en op die manier worden problemen snel aangepakt of worden nieuwe ideeën afgetoetst.
Een zelfstandige of een zaakvoerder van een klein bedrijf heeft geen ‘board of directors’ en meestal is er eveneens geen budget voorhanden om beroep te doen op dure consultants.
Bij elk probleem of voor elke belangrijke beslissing sta je er alleen voor … Hier wil M4M nu ook een oplossing voor bieden in de vorm van een uniek business networking concept.

Stel je voor dat je elke maand kan samen zitten voor een lunchmeeting met 8 ondernemers uit 8 verschillende sectoren, waarbij elke ondernemer vast deel uitmaakt van de adviesraad van de anderen.
Elke maand opnieuw leren deze 8 mensen elkaar beter en beter kennen en werken ze samen aan de groei van elkaars ondernemingen.
Elk probleem kan onmiddellijk worden aangepakt en elk idee kan op tafel gegooid worden zonder bang te moeten zijn voor misbruik. Elke deelnemer moet immers bij het instappen een contract ondertekenen.
Eén van de belangrijkste punten in dat contract is 100% geheimhouding van alles wat er gezegd wordt tijdens deze meetings.
De BABs groepen zullen worden geleid door ervaren moderators van het M4M team.

Voor de deelnemers aan deze meetings is er een enorm grote return. Deze return kan je zonder probleem vergelijken met de directe input van 8 consultants of bijna 200 adviesuren op jaarbasis. Reken zelf maar uit wat daarvan de waarde is !
Om deel te nemen aan deze nieuwe netwerkformule moet je in elk geval ook lid zijn van M4M, dus sla je 2 vliegen in één klap : op de gewone M4M meetings bouw je aan je netwerk en aan je verkoopscijfers, op de BAB meetings werk je samen met je “board of directors” heel intensief aan elkaars business.
Uiteraard is dit concept niet interessant voor iedereen … maar als je denkt dat dit voor jou interessant kan zijn dan kan je terecht bij de M4M bestuursleden voor meer informatie !

Meer informatie :

Voor meer informatie over M4M kan u steeds terecht op

M4M International
Kort Ossegoor 7
B-2390 Malle

Jan De Vos /
jan.de.vos@managers4managers.eu / +32 475 455837
Tamara Mariën /
tamara.marien@managers4managers.eu / +32 477 545589
Geert Conard /
geert.conard@managers4managers.eu / +32 496 127710
Tineke Vanhove /
tineke.vanhove@managers4managers.eu / +32 478 762526

M4M – Managers for Managers :

MANAGERS 4 MANAGERS is een initiatief voor en door zaakvoerders dat een platform creëert om de ondernemers, bedrijfsleiders, managers, starters en beslissingnemers op een informele manier bij elkaar te brengen per regio. U kunt door u aan te sluiten bij een regionale club alle (inter)nationale leden bereiken. Elkaar beter leren kennen, uw relatienetwerk uitbreiden en het bundelen van knowhow, zijn maar enkele van de sterkhouders van dit concept.
Op dit ogenblik zijn er in België regelmatige meetings van M4M in Antwerpen, Beveren, Brussel en Hasselt. Er zijn daarnaast ook reeds groepen actief in Nederland en Luxemburg.
Voorzitter en initiatiefnemer van deze businessclub is Dhr. Jan De Vos, die wordt bijgestaan door lokale teams per locatie waar M4M meetings worden georganisseerd.
Naast de netwerkmeetings worden ook andere diensten aan geboden aan de leden (M4M Profit / M4M Trading)

Social Media expert Geert Conard :

Deze netwerkformule werd samengesteld uit de beste eigenschappen van meerdere ‘Premium’ formules die er momenteel wereldwijd op de markt zijn. (= Netwerkformules die worden aangeboden als extra lidmaatschap bovenop het gewone algemene lidmaatschap van een organisatie)
Als ervaren netwerker en expert op vlak van Social Media heeft Geert Conard meerdere van deze formules persoonlijk uitgetest en/of geanalyseerd.
Geert Conard werd vooral bekend als de man die een bloedhekel had aan netwerken en dan uitgroeide tot één van de bekendste netwerkers in Europa. In het voorjaar van 2004 begon hij met social business networking via websites als LinkedIn, Xing en Ecademy. Exact één jaar later was hij reeds één van de TOP Netwerkers in België. Deze waanzinnige transformatie wijzigde niet alleen de manier waarop hij zijn professionele activiteiten ontplooide, maar veranderde effectief zijn leven 100%. In zijn eerste boek "A Girlfriend in Every City" (11/2005) deelde hij zijn verhaal, maar ook zijn methodes en inzichten voor het netwerken met mensen, zowel online als 'face to face' op netwerkevents. In November 2009 lanceerde Geert zijn tweede boek 'Friends with Benefits', waarin hij dieper ingaat op netwerken in de sterk gewijzigde economie waarin we vandaag leven en werken.Geert is ondertussen internationaal actief als spreker, trainer en consultant en hij runt een eigen ICT bedrijf, IT Consult Services. Geert maakt zich sterk dat hij vandaag maar liefst 95% van zijn nieuwe business krijgt aangereikt vanuit zijn netwerk. De resterende 5% is het resultaat van mond-aan-mond reclame van zijn bestaande klanten. Zijn presentaties en workshops over Social Media en Social Networking zitten steeds nokvol met handige en bruikbare netwerktips. Deze tips zijn eenvoudig en direct toepasbaar om je eigen netwerkervaring te verbeteren.
Op 27/04 organiseert M4M ook samen met Geert een Social Media event waarbij een netwerklunch zal worden gecombineerd met een Social Media Training. Inschrijven hiervoor is nog steeds mogelijk.

Met vriendelijke groet,
CNO M4M Business Advisory boards

19 March 2010

Foursquare : The next big thing is location !

The newest hype in Social Media world are location-based web-applications such as Foursquare.
Foursquare is a v
ery simple mobile Internet tool to build your network and tell each other WHERE you are. The question is no longer "what are you doing ?", but "Where are you doing it ?"

The big thing in this evolution is of course peer promotion. This new platform has all the keys in hand to become the leading network for marketing and business purposes. Users can add tips to trigger other users to visit locations or businesses.

As my friend Marieke (@hensel) points out : It's just a matter of time before companies will offer free drinks or coupons to people who digitally check-in to their store.

Today Twitter is already recognized as one of the most important business networks. It were the users who invented most of the innovative features and uses of this network. I hope users will also be clever enough to develop the right uses for Foursquare ... there is a lot of potential in this new network ... but it's up to us to unlock it !

18 February 2010

Outlook integration with Social Media

Since many years Microsoft Outlook is one of the most important tools in my professional life.
Already a while ago Microsoft announced their plans to integrate connections with Social Media platforms, straight into the contacts and e-mail features of Outlook.
As a Proactive and Professional Networker, this was of course something I was very excited about. Normally I'm not much of a beta-tester, but this time I just couldn't resist and downloaded the Outlook Social Connector, the plugin for Outlook that opens the gates toward the Social Media platforms.

Today there is only one add-in available for this plugin, connecting Outlook to the Nr. 1 Business platform :
Soon other add-in's will be available too. Microsoft already announced connections to MySpace, Facebook and Windows Live.

The setup and configuration was not the easiest I've ever done. I installed the plugin onto Office 2007 Professional (Downloading a beta of Office 2010 was even too wild for me ...)
My biggest problem was the fact the add-in for LinkedIn wouldn't accept my login and password. After debugging this problem I found out that the client won't accept passwords containing a 'space'. I changed my password and got it up and running.

Result : It does exactly what it says on the box. When I receive an email from someone who's already in my LinkedIn network, I get extra information at the bottom of the page.
Even without the Linkedin connection it's already worth installing because the plugin gives you a history feature to track back all communication.
In the contacts section of Outlook you get an extra file with your LinkedIn contacts.

My conclusion : Bring on those new clients for Facebook and MySpace ... this is good stuff !!!

15 February 2010

Wealth Dynamics Profiles (Video)

Roger Hamilton, chairman of one of the largest Premium Networking organisations (XL Results Foundation) is talking about Wealth Dynamics Profiles.
These profiles show you exactly who you are and how you should be working with others around you.

Up until 2005 I was running my business activities in a typical "supporter" style, always having the feeling of running into walls. After attending a webinar from Roger I could understand that I had to change my behaviour. In Wealth Dynamics I have the Star profile, which is still very close to the Supporter, but with a different focus. After adjusting my behaviour to my profile things became much easier.

If you know what you're good at and you can focus on doing that, you will always be successful. If you will surround yourself with people who are good in other things, the sum of your capabilities and skills will make your team stronger.

11 February 2010

(un)Fair competition

In this blog I'm talking about the Social Media industry as an example, but I'm pretty sure the same goes for many other industries such as training, ICT, marketing, ...

Lately I see every 'dog with a hat on' organizing Social Media Workshops. Recently I got an invitation for one of those and I looked up the trainer on several online networks.
The largest network I could find where his 140 friends on Facebook ...

I also noticed some other Trainers and Public Speakers who are now on the market as Social Media Experts, but a few months ago they were speaking about Taxes and a few months before that they were speaking about marketing strategies. Whatever's hot is their game.

Lots of people attend these workshops and are often disapointed on the quality of the content.
Most of today's trainers don't walk their talk. I love to learn new things myself but the only way you can really pick something up is in the case that the trainer really knows his stuff ... from doing it himself.

In case of Social Media and Online Networking I do know most experts worldwide. It's not a very large crowd because there are only 4 or 5 in each country. Half of them are on the market as Public Speakers or Trainers and really know their stuff. As a few examples I'll drop the names of Octavio Pitaluga (Brazil), Thomas Power (UK), Louis Gray (Silicon Valley, USA) and Roger Hamilton (Singapore).

I have read a few good blogs with lists of questions to ask a potential Social Media Expert.
I really liked these questions and agree that any of those people I know would have no trouble at all answering them. Most of the trainers now jumping on the Social Media train "because it's hot" would probably have a huge problem finding the right answers.

The best part of Social Media is of course that you have all the tools to check people out yourself. Just tap in the name of the expert or trainer in any of your favorite Social Media websites and watch the results. Don't forget Google because you might even find some comments of attendees to earlier workshops. Nevertheless, I think there is a huge value in these workshops because we need to get the managers and entrepreneurs online now to keep up to level with the new generation of starting entrepreneurs.

27 January 2010

Which type of network fits you like a glove ?

In earlier posts I already wrote about the various differences between networks, based on their average users. In this post I'm looking at the basic offering of various types of networks.
In general I can see three types of networking going on at various meetings, events and online platforms. In these three types of networks I can spot significant differences in the offering to their members, trying to satisfy specific needs.

1. "Old school" Networking

These networks offer the essential basics for a starting entrepreneur, but also established managers like the simple style of networking in these organisations.
You have the opportunity to grow your network at various events, but you'll also find a lot of top-down advice, training and learning opportunities. Most of these networks also offer mentoring programs, where experienced managers will help startups through their first years in business.
These organisations will give you a fast answer to any business question. As a member you will have a feeling of belonging to a strong and large group, which is defending your rights as an entrepreneur.

Typical examples : Chamber of Commerce, Unizo, ...
Costs :
- Membership fee (Often related to the size of your business)
- Entrance costs for most events

2. Social Business networking

These are the average networking clubs of today. Lots of networking events will give you the opportunity to grow your network. Leads and referrals will come to you, based on trust and reputation. Indirect business and recommendations will be the automatic result of online and offline networking. These networks will give you a feeling of belonging to a large club of entrepreneurs, handing each other some business.

Typical examples : Ecademy, Xing, M4M, ...
Costs :
- Moderate membership fee
- Entrance cost for most events, unless already included in the membership fee

3. Premium Networking

Unlike the typical social business events, the focus in this style of events is on advising each other or helping each other with typical business problems. You will build deep relationships with the other members of your group. Meetings usually have a concept based on a Mastermind group and offer secrecy. Most Premium networks will also have tresholds for entering the network, often based on industry, geography and expectations.
These networks will give you the feeling of having your own 'board of directors', helping you to grow your business.

Typical examples : Blackstar, BNI, ...
Costs :
- High membership fee
- Entrance fee for most events, unless already included in the membership fee

Since the offering is clearly different for all three types of networking, the combination of all three is probably the best choice for a full networking experience, satisfying the needs for your business. I'm a member of several networks and clubs in all three types and I don't think I could miss any of these three types ...
(Picture: M4M Networking event)

5 January 2010

Networking into the New Year and a new economy

My very best wishes for a successful and recession-free 2010 !!!

As we enter a new decade, social networking gets more important every day. If you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner it will be close to impossible to survive after the recession without a solid and trusted network.

In general there are three large groups of entrepreneurs :
Starters (18-25) - The middle generation (25-50) and the Senior Managers (50+)

Senior Managers have built up a solid network during the many years of their career. They can rely on their trusted connections for support and referrals whenever needed.

The middle group (25-50) are the people with the least experience in social networking. This is the generation which was raised with "sales, sales, sales" as the main message. Often they think networking is just another marketing technique which needs lots of effort and isn't really profitable.

The group that we often forget to think about are the starters (18-25). Today, when students graduate they already have a network on Facebook or MySpace of 1000 connections on average.

Entrepreneurs always laugh with this fact because those connections are just other students and people they hang out with in weekends. Right.

What we forget is that this entire network ALSO graduates and enters the professional business world at the same time. When students finish school and enter their first job, their entire Facebook/MySpace network instantly transfers into a professional business network.

Young people today start their professional life with a 'warm' and trusted network of approx. 1000 contacts ... and they keep on growing their network in the next years.

My fear is the simple fact that the middle generation is not ready for this "competition".
The middle generation has to embrace social networking and learn how to apply the tools.

My contribution to this will be a new training course 'Social Media for Business', brand new and available as from now ;-)